A quick follow-up to my earlier post on Howard Kurtz’s “Ad Check”: A couple readers have e-mailed me to observe that the closing clause of Obama’s statement makes clear that Obama was indeed saying that our troops were “just air-raiding villages and killing civilians”. Here’s Obama’s full statement, with the closing clause italicized:
“We’ve got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan], and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”
I certainly agree that the closing clause confirms what the rest of the passage already makes clear.
I now see, further, that Howard Kurtz may have been contending that Obama was merely saying that he wanted to make sure that our troops wouldn’t air-raid villages and kill civilians, not that they were in fact doing so. Insofar as that is Kurtz’s contention, then I agree that the closing clause refutes it: Obama was stating that what he alleged to be the U.S. military’s ongoing activity of “just air-raiding villages and killing civilians … is causing enormous pressure over there.”
Update: Just saw Victor Davis Hanson’s related post.