Thursday, July 17, 2008

9 Strikes and you're normally out (ok it's 3 but..)

Recently, John McCain made the comment that "I know how to win wars" and that "the 'surge' has worked."

I think Senator McCain needs to remember a few things:

1. No WMD
2. Mission Accomplished
3. A few remaining 'dead-enders'
4. No need for more troops (2003)
5. "last throws"
6. 'Weeks not months' - Donald Rumsfeld on how long it would take to secure Iraq
7. The Iraq war will pay for itself
8. We only need six more months (said in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007)
9. Iraq is the central front on the 'war on terror'

The point is this, I could probably go on, but the 'surge' was a change in tactics to no longer brutalizing the Iraqi people. McCain never aspoused the cavallier attitude regarding the plight of civilians that most neo-cons do and did - (with comments like 'everything's fair, mollycoddle the terrorists, Abu Ghraib was a 'fraternity prank'), but he backed an administration which did, and he backed Tommy Franks and others who did - and backed those who called any dissent 'aiding and abbetting the enemy." To the extent the 'surge' worked to calm sectarian violence - which it has - it's the FIRST THING HE'S GOTTEN RIGHT. I wouldn't, for one, break my arm patting myself on the back for a success after 3.5 years of abject failure. If this is how McCain, "knows how to win wars' then I'd rather have someone who wouldn't waste 3.5 years getting the right people, wait 3.5 years to listen to the experts.

Put another way, McCain comments are akin to someone, after striking out three times in a row, if he gets a single, jumping up and shouting, "See, I'm a great hitter!!"

Past that, the 'surge' worked because it was used to erect concrete barriers and instill a police state in Baghdad, which is good in that it has saved lives, but little political progress has followed - and such a state is not sustainable. Perhaps Senator McCain should take the time to consider why Gen. Patreaus was successful against Al Qaeda in Iraq, meaning, he was not arogant (Gen. Patreaus), he did not bluster about American infalibility and greatness, he sat down with his potential adversaries, identified commong goals, and built relationships. It is a lesson anyone who would call talking to Iran "appeasement" seems highly unlikely to accept - just as the current resident of the White House was unable to accept until change was thrust upon him.


  1. Your last paragraph is well-argued, and I believe that you are correct about this scenario.

    I'm reminded of Winston Churchill, who was dispatched to the Middle East following World War I, with the orders (from the prime minister and king) that he help Britain find a cheap source of oil, should there be another war.

    What was his reaction after helping to "create" the modern country of Iraq? He stated that it is impossible to take it over in a sustainable manner as one would a European country--utterly impossible. His statements on it are a matter of record and quite available indeed. Yet President Bush fancies himself a modern Winston Churchill. He doesn't understand the first thing about Churchill. Pathetic....

  2. What's even more pathetic is that Mr. McCain, a/k/a Bush III, doesn't get it either.

    George Bush started a war out of, (I believe) some macho need to avenge his father's failure to topple Sadaam. Unfortunately, the Republicans and many Democrats let him get alway with it for way too long.

    What we need now, regardless of the president who is in the White House in January, is a congress who will have the intestinal fortitude to tell the president: stop the war. Give us a reasonable timetable for bringing our troops home so that the Iraquis will have some incentive to handle things on their own. At this point, we're only coddling the Iraquis, not terrorists.

  3. T.O.E., I agree. Congress is the big lever on this issue, regardless of who happens to be the next president (but particularly if Senator McCain wins the forthcoming presidential election).