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Reid, Dean, other key Dems blast Rep. Boehner for blaming Iraq ills on generals

Mike Sheehan
Published: Wednesday November 1, 2006

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has blasted House Majority Leader John Boehner for asserting that troubles in Iraq are the fault of military leadership, according to a press release by Reid's office.

On today's edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Boehner and host Wolf Blitzer had the following exchange:

Boehner: ...[L]et's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

Blitzer: But he's in charge of the military.

Boehner: But the fact is the generals on the ground are in charge and he works closely with them and the president.

"John Boehner ought to be ashamed," says Reid, according to the release. "He's blaming our troops for failures in Iraq. If he wants to cast blame, he can start by looking in the mirror because he and his Congressional Republican colleagues have rubberstamped the Bush Administration's failed policy for nearly four years."

The Boehner brouhaha comes a day after Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) defiantly refused to apologize for what he called "a bungled joke" that seemed to knock the education level of soldiers in Iraq, as reported earlier at RAW STORY. Kerry capitulated today, apologizing to troops if any offense was taken. The Bush administration has attempted to capitalize on Kerry's gaffe, with cutting statements from both President Bush and (soon) Vice President Cheney. Democrats are shrugging off the episode, eager to return the focus back to the war itself.

"Our troops in Iraq have performed bravely," continues Reid in the statement. "It's political leaders like Congressman Boehner and Donald Rumsfeld who have failed.

"I expect President Bush and Congressional Republicans, who demanded John Kerry apologize, hold their own party’s majority leader to a much higher standard. There's no spinning his disparaging comments. He made them. He needs to apologize."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean also released a statement today about Boehner. "After the Bush Administration's numerous failures in Iraq, to blame our brave troops is just wrong. John Boehner should apologize immediately," said the statement, in part. "Once again, Republican leadership is pointing fingers rather than taking responsibility for their failures."

A statement also came from the office of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) which said that "John Boehner's comments defending Donald Rumsfeld and, by implication, laying the blame for our failures in Iraq on the military just shows how out of touch he is with the American people and the situation on the ground in Iraq."

"The responsibility for the gross miscalculations and incompetence in the war in Iraq lies with the Secretary of Defense and ultimately with the Commander in Chief," the statement continued. "Our troops have performed brilliantly, with honor and courage. Any suggestion otherwise is outrageous."

Boehner was the object of heavy criticism from Democrats recently when he said on ABC News that "Donald Rumsfeld is the best thing that's happened to the Pentagon in 25 years," after earlier saying on CNN that "[Rumsfeld] knows where the bodies are buried at the Pentagon."

Boehner also remarked yesterday, during FOX News's coverage of President Bush's remarks related to Kerry, that "If Kerry doesn't apologize, we're going to beat him to death until he does."