Gibbons won't criticize Reid statement on Iraq war

SPARKS -- Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, a veteran of two wars, said Friday that no country can win a war without public support, but he declined to criticize Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid's statement that the war in Iraq is lost.

"I don't have anything critical to say. Everybody has an opinion," said Gibbons, a former five-term congressman who served as a combat pilot in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

"My opinion is that having been to Iraq when I was in Congress, having watched and talked to many of the men and women who are returning from Iraq, I would say their comments are that they can win the war, that it hasn't been lost," he said.

Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada, triggered an angry response from many Republicans with his assessment of the war.

"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and -- you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows -- (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday," Reid said Thursday.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion," Gibbons said, "I have my opinion, and my opinion is, to me, just as important.

"Senator Reid's opinion is important."

Gibbons acknowledged public support is important to the U.S. troops in Iraq.

He also said the troops themselves seem to be more optimistic about their situation than is portrayed in the media.

"No country can win a war without the support of the public," the governor said.