04/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

General Hayden Revises History In Iraq

We gave this particular moment some special attention on our Sunday Morning Liveblog today, but it deserves some special attention and scrutiny. We're speaking of the moment where Tim Russert asks General Michael Hayden is the recent violence in Basra is going to have an impact on the political reconciliation that was promised when the "Surge" was launched. Hayden's answer was to ignore all the various promises the American people were made in the run up to war and beyond - of quick battles, occupancies that would last mere months, cakewalks, missions accomplished, last throes, and imminent drawdowns - and insist that the current state of play is something that we were always told was going to happen. Naturally, despite his tendency toward having plenty of "gotcha!" style clips on hand to trip up his quarry, Russert couldn't even manage a thin breath of puchback on Hayden's obvious inveigling.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think this military activity in Basra is a setback for political reconciliation in Iraq?

GEN. HAYDEN: You, you know, Tim, this was something that we all knew we had to go through. This was inevitable. This had to be resolved. You just can't have the second major city in the country--economically, the most important city in the country--beyond the control of the government. And so, although, you know, there, there's a certain sense of--what's the right word, Tim?--disappointment in, in that--the fact that violence is increasing, we knew we couldn't get to where we had to be for the Iraqi state, for a modern democratic Iraqi state, without going through this.

Yeah. I have no idea who this "we" is that Hayden is talking about, but if they search their vocabulary for the right work to describe Iraq and can only come up with "disappointment," then they can't have been paying much attention.