Lieberman's unusual take on "the facts"

The Connecticut senator continues to push the embarrassment envelope at every opportunity.

By Steve Benen

Published April 8, 2008 6:09PM (EDT)

Matt Yglesias noted this afternoon that Joe Lieberman is "probably beyond shark-jumping at this point." That's no doubt true, but the Connecticut senator continues to push the embarrassment envelope at every available opportunity. Tuesday morning, for example, Lieberman, after praising Gen. David Petraeus and ambassador Ryan Crocker, seemed utterly dumbfounded by the fact that some senators are displeased by conditions in Iraq.

There's a lot to digest here, but this was the quote that stood out for me: "Hey, let's be honest about this: The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has. So we've got to give credit for that."

This is just so wrong, it's hard to know where to start. The obvious problem, of course, is that the senator is contradicting reality. Political reconciliation in Iraq hasn't occurred. Perhaps Lieberman missed this report from the weekend: "A new assessment of U.S. policy in Iraq by the same experts who advised the original Iraq Study Group concludes that political progress is 'so slow, halting and superficial' and political fragmentation 'so pronounced' that the United States is no closer to being able to leave Iraq than it was a year ago."

But it's also worth noting that the comparison between Iraq and the United States is itself foolish. As Yglesias put it, "America has a heated political debate, but liberals and conservatives aren't shooting mortars at each other and we don't have pitched battles in the streets. To compare the situation in Iraq to the persistence of strong partisan disagreement in the United States is idiotic."

Quite right. For a U.S. senator to compare Iraqi officials to Americans, and insist that Iraqis are somehow more impressive, is kind of offensive, in addition to being wrong.

Steve Benen

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