CBS's Scott Pelley To President Bush: Do You Owe the Iraqi People an Apology?

"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"

This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.

On last evening’s program, President Bush defended his plan to send additional troops to Iraq to secure Baghdad, and acknowledged mistakes he had made in conducting the war. But he was challenged by Mr. Pelley who cited polls showing dissatisfaction among the military and voters:

Pelley (Voiceover): "But even among Americans in uniform, there is growing frustration. A poll three weeks ago in the respected "Military Times" newspapers showed for the first time more troops disapprove than approve of the way he’s handling Iraq. I mentioned to Mr. Bush that thousands of those troops have been sent to the war two, three, even four times already. Would he impose a time limit?

Pelley to President Bush: "When is enough enough for these families?"

After the President answered, Pelley followed up with a comparison to Vietnam:

"In Vietnam, as you know, you served 365 and you were done."

Later in the piece, Pelley once again brought up the subject of polls and inquired as to whether they are "crushing" Mr. Bush’s spirits:

"You know a lot of people have asked me to ask you whether all of this just crushing. It has to be. You read the polls; you know what people are saying. The war has not gone the way you had hoped it would, and they wonder whether it’s just crushing on your spirit."

It is true that the polls on the issue of Iraq are not good for President Bush, but did CBS suggest in 1995 that the Democrats should give up since at that time they weren’t popular? No, they attacked Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. And as to the question of whether President Bush owes the Iraqi people an apology, Pelley doesn’t seem to consider the other side. And that is there are many who would argue that it is the Iraqis who owe Americans an apology because of the inability of their government to secure Baghdad.