Appearing on the Monday edition of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather slammed the war in Iraq as a "strategic catastrophe of historic proportions." Talking via phone with host Joe Scarborough, the veteran journalist freely advocated the Moveon.org position, calling for a "a strategic withdrawal from Iraq."
Rather, who was appearing to promote his new special on the HDNet cable channel, seemed to be angling for a moment similar to Walter Cronkite’s denouncement of the Vietnam War. The former "Evening News" host justified a retreat by saying, "There is nothing wrong with a, a strategic withdrawal from Iraq that takes the position, ‘Look, hell, we did the best we could there. We’ve lost more than 3,000 dead. We need a strategic withdrawal.’" The man who prides himself on folksy aphorisms and advocating "courage" claimed such a withdrawal would be "a different thing than a retreat."
The MRC has documented Dan Rather's long history of liberal bias. A collection of "greatest hits" can be found here.
A transcript of the exchange, which occurred at 7:47am on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," follows:
Dan Rather: "I went to the graduation exercises at West Point as part of doing this program for tomorrow night. And, you know, what sticks in my mind, Joe, is the drumbeat. You know, badarump, badarump, badarump. As I heard that drumbeat and looked out and saw these you know, 21 and 22-year-olds who have dedicated their lives to protecting the country, putting their lives on the line to do so. Saying, you know, with every drumbeat it reminds me that a lot of these young man and woman that I'm watching are going to die.
Now, I’ve always I subscribed and I still subscribe to the idea, that we, we better be ready to fight. Because sometime somewhere, sometime we're going to have to. But once we make the decision to fight, there's no excuse, absolutely zero, nada excuse, for not backing the troops completely. And backing the troops doesn't necessarily mean, and I don’t think it does mean at all, backing a lousy policy, a very poor strategy, and succumbing to what every politicians call, for what they say is, quote, 'patriotism.' The patriotism, don't question the decision.
But, strategically in Iraq, the historical question is, has Iraq been, is it now a strategic catastrophe of historic proportions? The answer day after day seems to shout that it is. It doesn't mean that we've lost the, quote, 'war on terror.' This war, is as President Bush has rightly described it several times, is a twilight war that’s going to last a long time. And there is nothing wrong with a, a strategic withdrawal from Iraq that takes the position, ‘Look, hell, we did the best we could there. We’ve lost more than 3,000 dead. We need a strategic withdrawal.’ That's a different thing than a retreat."