Barnicle's Low Blow: Does 'Top Level' Consider 19 Killed Since ISG Report Issued?

Guest hosting this afternoon's Hardball, Mike Barnicle claimed to decry the politics surrounding the Iraq Study Group's report.  But when it comes to political cheap shots, does it get much lower than this comment by Barnicle himself?

"Since the report was issued, I think 19 Americans have been killed in Iraq.  Does anybody really think about that at the top level here today in terms of the report? Is it all just the politics of it?"

View video here.

To his credit, John Harwood of the WSJ and CNBC didn't buy into Barnicle's cynical take: "No, no.  I think people do think of that. . . I think [President Bush] gets it."

Michael Isikoff of Newsweek was clearly underwhelmed by the report and its authors:

"When you take a step back, it is quite extraordinary that you have a commission that wasn't named by the White House or even its members selected by the Congress . . . sort of essentially re-writing American foreign policy and handing this report over to the President and Congress saying 'here, do this.' . . Who elected these guys to do this?  . . . There is a large element of hubris to the writing of the report itself . . . to imagine that any report or any plan written in Washington can seriously, effectively, affect facts on the ground."

Yet Barnicle implies that any delay in implementing the recommendations handed down from on high is nothing less than cynical political indifference to the death of American troops.

Finkelstein recently returned from Iraq.  Contact him at

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