General James Jones recently returned from a Congressional-mandated trip to Iraq and reported that political reconciliation “is absolutely the key to measurable and rapid progress” and needed to happen before any significant reduction in violence could happen. On Meet The Press today, John McCain incorrectly claimed that General Jones did not conclude in his recent Iraq report that political reconciliation needed to happen before a drawdown in violence can be achieved:
MCCAIN: Tim, I’ve known Jim Jones for 30 years. That’s not what he’s saying.
In reality, this was exactly what Jones said, both in his report and on Meet The Press a week ago. Below are two clips from Meet The Press, first with McCain today disputing what Jones said, and second with Jones agreeing with Russert’s categorization of his report the week before:
Partial transcript of Jones and Russert on Meet The Press on September 9th:
MR. RUSSERT: … The president has been saying we need to have security on the ground before we can have political reconciliation. And youâ€™re saying, your commission, â€œNo, no, no. You need to have political reconciliation. You need to have the Shiites and the Sunnis to put their guns down, put their arms down and come together as a country before we could ever possibly secure the nation.â€ Fair?
GEN. JONES: Fair. Our, our report started out with that assertion, and it closed with that assertion, that that is, that is the most important thing. Obviously bothâ€”you want both. But if, if we were to pick one or the other, which one is more critical, we think the reconciliation is absolutely the key to measurable and rapid progress. I think once you have that the, the, whatâ€™s likely to happen in Iraq is very encouraging.