GOP Minority Leader Says US Casualties in Iraq Are a "Small Price" to Pay

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), whose bizarre comments on Iraq have stirred controversy before, went off the deep end yesterday with remarks that undermine any shred of credibility he claims to have on the war. First, he connected Iraq and 9/11.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a conference call from Iraq, told reporters Wednesday that it is fair to draw a link from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to the current fight in Iraq because of the continued presence of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists in the country.
"If you look at where 9/11 came from, it clearly was from al Qaeda, [and] when you look at the violence in Iraq, it's from al Qaeda [and] radical jihadists," Boehner said.
In reality, al Qaeda represents as little as 2% of the Sunni insurgency, and is responsible for 8%, if not less, of attacks in Iraq. As a 20-year intelligence veteran who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq concluded, the terrorist network "is a microscopic terrorist organization." It seems like the kind of thing the House Minority Leader might want to know before making bogus claims. Five years into a war, what does it say when the top Republican in the House doesn't even understand the enemy?

But Boehner's absurdities were just getting started. After the conference call, the Minority Leader dismissed the significance of U.S. sacrifices in Iraq as "a small price" to pay.

It's the kind of exchange that should be a fairly big deal. If a Democratic leader dismissed U.S. sacrifices in Iraq as "small," one suspects it would be the lead news story on every network for a week. Indeed, it would be proof, the right would say, that Dems don't value the service of those in uniform.

Here's the transcript of the exchange:
BLITZER: How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure? The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?
BOEHNER: I think General Petraeus outlined it pretty clearly. We're making success. We need to firm up those successes. We need to continue our effort here because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we're making today will be a small price if we're able to stop al Qaeda here, if we're able to stabilize the Middle East, it's not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.