The White House has provided us with the list of 36 nations the President was referring to last night in his speech when he said, "We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy. "
The key phrase there is "troops on the ground."
If you take a look at the list we were provided, by a National Security Council official, the first heading is "Countries with troops on ground in Iraq." Only 26 countries appear in that category. The remaining 10 countries are assigned to either United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq or to NATO Training NTM-I.
So by the President's own accounting, the math is wrong. As Spencer Ackerman points out, there are other problems with the numbers. Canada is listed, for example, among the 36, but it pulled out its one and only person in Iraq months ago. The numbers, in short, are a sham.
Now, whether it's 36 countries or 106, shouldn't distract from the larger shams, such as the implication that there remains international support for the U.S. mission in Iraq or the suggestion that anyone other than the U.S. is doing virtually all of the heavy lifting there.
But after the famous 16 words on Niger in his State of the Union speech, after 4 1/2 years of duck and cover on Iraq, after all of the lies, deceptions, and falsehoods, it plumbs news depths of dishonesty to include such a bogus number as "36 nations" in a speech that begins with the following lines: "In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people. We are now at such a moment."
The President once again revealed his character. Were that it was of the same quality as that of the people he leads.