Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Ms. Brooks: McWrong On Iraq

Columnist Rosa Brooks considered something that has puzzled me as well in her latest column. Why, when he has been wrong on the Iraq War since the very beginning, is John McCain polling so well with American voters on the issue? It's clear that Americans now think the war was a mistake, one that we were lied into, and that the administration's prosecution of the war from its inception was one blunder after another. Yet Sen. McCain, who has been and still is President Bush's biggest supporter when it comes to all things Iraq, is considered The Man when it comes to ending the war. Good grief! The Man still hasn't figured out that Al Qaeda is not Iran's idea of a BFF.

McCain seems more than a little confused about who's who in the Middle East, which is maybe why he's so dead-set against the idea of talks with anyone not already a U.S. ally. It's always embarrassing, from a diplomatic perspective, to have no idea who you're talking to.

But back to Iraq. McCain has rarely questioned the overall Bush administration Iraq strategy, and he recently reaffirmed his commitment to maintaining U.S. combat troops there until Iraq becomes "a peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state." "We will have victory," he promised. But he's never explained how a strategy that's failed so far is going to magically start succeeding in 2009.

Of course, maybe his success -- for the time being -- with the American public has convinced McCain that if you just repeat something long enough and confidently enough, people will start believing it. McCain keeps boasting of his own national security expertise and insisting that Barack Obama, his chief Democratic rival, is naive and "does not understand ... the fundamental elements of national security and warfare" -- even though Obama, unlike the "experienced" McCain, managed to get it right on Iraq from the very beginning.

Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee, and it now looks like it will be Barack Obama, had better start pounding on McCain's miscues on Iraq that began back in November, 2001 with the assertion that Saddam Hussein had WMD that he intended to unleash on the West. If Sen. Obama needs a laundry list of Sen. McCain's delusional approach on the Iraq War, he could do worse than copy the one Ms. Brooks detailed in this column.

But he'd better hurry: the election is less than six months away.

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