Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Excerpts from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's Interview on WOAI-AM, San Antonio; Chairman Responds to Yesterday's Iraq Comments by Howard Dean

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following are excerpts from a radio interview by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman on WOAI-AM, San Antonio. Chairman Mehlman responded to yesterday's comments on the same station by DNC Chairman Howard Dean.
Host: "Now I'm sure that you're aware by now because it's been everywhere, that we had an interview yesterday with Howard Dean, the, your counterpart over there at the Democratic National Committee, and he said some things that are lightning rod stuff. Some would call them even more than that. Without getting too graphic about the details and what he did, but what he said was basically this is the new Vietnam where we had 25,000 lives lost in a lost cause. He called Iraq a lost war. We can't win there. What is your response immediately hearing those comments?"
Ken Mehlman: "It's fairly extraordinary. I can't remember any time in history where the leader of a national party, one of our 2 national parties, predicted that America would lose a war we were engaged in. I think it sends the wrong message to our troops, the wrong message to the enemy, the wrong message to the Iraqi people just 10 days before the election."
"...You think about it, this isn't anything new. Just this past weekend on Sunday, John Kerry talked about American troops engaged in terroristic and other activity, terrorizing kids and children. He talked about we've already seen Nancy Pelosi embrace a retreat and defeat strategy...you have the Democratic nominee in '04, Democratic national chairman, lead Democrat in the House, have all now come out embrace a retreat and defeat strategy while our country is at war."
Host: "Well I actually asked him about that. I mean, I think that Murtha is the one that started it. Nancy Pelosi is now agreeing with it, that we should have these troops, and they're using the word redeployed within 6 months. Howard Dean won't go there. He says he wants it to happen within 2 years. So, if anything, the Democrats seem to be undecided about, you know, about agreeing on a time frame here. And do you think that it's wrong from its get-go to have any sort of a time frame at all or should there be?"
Ken Mehlman: "...here's why a time frame is a mistake.... If you tell the enemy when you're going to stop fighting, then the enemy knows when it needs to hold out (UI). If you want the Iraqi people to risk their lives, run for office (UI) vote in this election (UI) 10 days and do the things they're doing, if they know that after a given period, they're going to be abandoned to Zarqawi, they're much less likely to do it. You want the enemy to understand that there is no alternative but to air their grievances at the political process, then obviously, again, giving them a time frame is a mistake. Imagine if we had said to Hitler in 1942 that in 2 years we're going to pull out of Europe. Hitler would not have been, would not have ended his war. Hitler would not have surrendered. Germany would not have surrendered."
"It is always a mistake when you're fighting an implacable foe tell them the point at which you're going to stop fighting."
Ken Mehlman: "But think about it. Why would (UI) national party say America can't win a war while its troops are engaged in that war?"...
Host: "Well I think what's interesting also to add here, Ken, is that John Kerry also came out after the President's speech the other day and what he said was we don't want to redeploy; we don't want to get the troops; we just want to have a time frame for victory. So, again, in the Democratic party itself, there are varying answers. I want to throw this at you because Howard Dean brought this up yesterday, that 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out. And I asked him what is the source of that? Who exactly did the survey? Who did the poll and who exactly did they ask? And he didn't have an answer. Have you seen this poll that shows that 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out?"
Ken Mehlman: "No, not at all. I've seen polling that shows something very different, in fact, and that is that Iraqis increasingly understand and believe that they need (UI) their country is heading in the right, not the wrong, direction. They're optimistic about the future in a way they haven't been. ... Fundamentally it comes down to this. Do you believe this (UI) in the war on terror is victory versus defeat has a huge consequence for American security? Answer is unquestionably yes."
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