Senator Jim Webb in full politician mode on Fox News Sunday, first tries to explain why the National Intelligence Estimate doesn't disagree with his idea that diplomacy with Iran will be key to resolving Iraq:
[Chris] WALLACE: ... because it would seem — I know it does to a lot of people — that Iran is thoroughly enjoying the fact that we're tied down and that our blood and treasure is being spent in Iraq.
You talked about the National Intelligence Estimate, the NIE, the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. national intelligence agencies. They disagreed with you. They came out with a report on Friday and said Iraq's neighbors are not likely to be a major driver of the prospects for stability.
WEBB: That's not really a disagreement.
WALLACE: Well, but they said it's primarily an internal...
WEBB: They also were saying...
WALLACE: Well, if I may, they said it's an internal problem and that these outside forces, the neighbors, cannot be the major driver.
WEBB: No, what they were saying was that even though these countries may be meddling inside Iraq, that they were not the major players inside Iraq in terms of the military solution.
And what the administration is doing right now is playing up Iranian participation in order to try to drive the stakes up to the extent that we don't deal with Iran.
Now, yes, Iran's definitely, from everything that I can see, playing in some way inside Iraq. And tactically, as a former Marine, in the places where Iran is definitely playing, they should be dealt with.
China was playing inside Vietnam when I was in Vietnam. So was the Soviet Union. There wasn't a weapon that was used against me that wasn't made in Eastern Europe or China.
At the same time, that doesn't mean that we should have been isolating China and not dealing with them. In fact, the reverse was true. The Chinese situation is a direct parallel to the situation we have with Iran right now.
Which idea didn't last long, as the next question was:
WALLACE: Okay. You, as you point out, fought in Vietnam where you won the Navy Cross. And back in 1985, you had this to say. Let's put it up on the screen.
"If I had one lesson that stands out in my mind, it is that you cannot fight a war and debate it at the same time." Senator, why not? What's the problem, especially for our troops, when we're trying to fight a war and debating it at the same time here at home?
WEBB: Well, the difficulty that we have right now — there are so many people trying to make a direct parallel between Vietnam and Iraq, on both sides of the issue, by the way.
You have the people who are opposed to the Iraq war saying this is just another Vietnam. You have the people who supported the Vietnam war, many of them — I supported the Vietnam war. I still support what we attempted to do in Vietnam — trying to draw direct parallels, and there are no direct parallels.
Unless he says so (we guess); The Chinese situation is a direct parallel to the situation we have with Iran right now.