Tempest, meet teapot; pot, meet kettle

John McCain and right-wing bloggers attack Harry Reid for uttering critical words about military leaders.

Published June 14, 2007 3:56PM (EDT)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, last taken to task by the right for suggesting that the war in Iraq is already "lost," apparently said on a conference call with bloggers this week that he considers outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Peter Pace "incompetent." Reid is also said to have had "disparaging" words to say about Gen. David Petraeus.

The response from the right? Exactly what you'd expect. At Hugh Hewitt's blog, Dean Barnett calls Reid's comments a "desperate and misguided attempt" to improve his own approval ratings. Power Line's Scott Johnson finds in Reid's words proof that there's "no depth too low to stoop for partisan victory, no price too great to be paid for defeat of the United States."

And Sen. John McCain, fighting for third in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, is out with a statement in which he says that it's "incredibly disappointing that Harry Reid would make such disparaging remarks about both the highest ranking officer in the U.S military and the commander of our troops in Iraq. Gens. Pace and Petraeus are two leaders who have spent their entire lives in service to their country, and Sen. Reid needs to clarify his criticisms, which can only be described as highly inappropriate and regrettable."

Maybe Reid can do that right after McCain clarifies what he said earlier this year about the last man to command U.S. troops in Iraq. Opposing Gen. George Casey's confirmation as the Army's chief of staff, McCain cited the general's "unrealistically rosy" assessments and "failed leadership" and told him: "I question seriously the judgment that was employed in your execution of your responsibilities in Iraq. And we have paid a very, very heavy price in American blood and treasure because of what is now agreed to by literally everyone as a failed policy."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Harry Reid Iraq War John Mccain R-ariz.