Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Mea-Culpa, Mea-Culpa

Yesterday I wrote an article lambasting Senator Norm Coleman for what Kevin Diaz characterized as calling on General Petraeus to provide specific timelines for a draw-down of U.S. Troops in Iraq.

I was wrong.

I fell for it. What Diaz did was effectively a hit-piece on Coleman, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Knowing how pro-victory sentiments run high amongst the ranks of Conservatives likely to vote Republican, Diaz chose to put words in Norm Coleman's mouth. Specifically, when he wrote:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, a consistent backer of the war in Iraq, on Tuesday pressed Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander, for a long-term plan that would include timelines for U.S. troop withdrawals.

"Americans want to see a light at the end of the tunnel," said the Minnesota Republican, who is walking a tightrope to the 2008 election. "We need to see some plan out there."

It was the first time he has publicly called on military leaders to attach specific dates to long-anticipated plans for drawing down troops.

I should have fact-checked that statement. But I didn't do so until today.

My anger at Coleman was fueled especially by the following:

A joint effort

Coleman also was joined by anti-war stalwart Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in asking Petraeus if a chart showing a "timeline" for stepped-down force commitments could be accompanied by specific dates, beyond the scheduled end of the troop surge by next summer.

"I cannot offer you that," said Petraeus, explaining that his chart represented U.S. force reductions goals as the military mission shifts from "leading" to "strategic overwatch" of combat operations in Iraq.

Anytime that I see or even have a thought of Republican senators working in concert wtih the fat, murdering, "Senator for Life" from Massachusetts, my temperature tends to rise a few degrees.

I should have fact-checked that statement. But I didn't do so until today.

The dirty little secret that Kevin Diaz neglects to mention is that Coleman never directly asked Petraeus to provide specific dates for withdrawal.

Kevin Diaz tries to implicate Coleman as "tag-teaming" with Ted Kennedy, but such was not the case.

I did call Senator Coleman's office today, and got the straight story from them.

I apologize to all True North and Ice Palace readers, as well as to Senator Coleman, for misrepresenting his stance; and make a pledge to engage in a more thorough vetting process before putting finger to keyboard in any future piece that I write for True North.

Especially when my source is the Star Tribune.