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McCain is short-sighted on Iraq

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  GOP Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain spoke to the cadets at the Virginia Military Institute recently.   I found his speech to be lengthy, but shortsighted in its scope and overly concerned with the tactical details of the Occupation. 

  Senator McCain’s excessive concentration on the domestic political ramifications of the Surge, the temporary 20,000-man increment to the Occupation forces, has caused him to miss the overall strategic importance of our Iraq policy.

 

  Along with a lack of strategic focus, Senator McCain’s remarks reveal several errors of judgment.

  Senator McCain is wrong on two points:

  a.     his contention that progress is being made and;

  b.    his assessment the Congressional Democrats are unaware of the consequences of Iraq Policy.

  Senator McCain insisted that his recent trip to Iraq had revealed "memorable" and "measurable" progress.  

  I don't know how the Senator was indoctrinated into the military, but when I was in boot camp in the early 70s they told us that our mission was to fight. 

  The only plausible rubric for military progress is whether or not we are defeating the enemy.

 That we are defeating the enemy in Iraq is clearly not the case. 

 The McCain "brand" demands that he be gung-ho, so he can't say what is true: we are losing the war in Iraq. 

 The second point that McCain is mistaken on is that the Dems don't understand the consequences of withdrawal. 

 The tortured debates in the Democratic Congressional Caucus and in the Party as a whole demonstrate that McCain's remark is simply untrue. 

 Senator McCain also made the following comment, “ I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission." 

 The Senator can't even get his facts straight. 

  The Dems voted AYE ON FUNDING. 

 The GOP voted NAY ON FUNDING.

 Congressional stipulations and direction of spending is the core of the power of the purse. 

 The power of the purse is the most important substantive component of the Constitution’s checks and balances. 

 Congress is derelict in its duty when it fails to write requirements for action into its appropriations bills.

 McCain may not like parts of the bill, but he CANNOT TRUTHFULLY SAY THE GOP VOTED TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS FOR THE OPERATIONS IN IRAQ.

 McCain clearly is as devious a spin meister as ever bestrode the corridors of the Capitol.

 However, unlike Senator McCain, the President and the GOP leadership, the Democrats recognize that there is no free lunch.

 In 2004, six ICO countries offered to send a peacekeeping force consisting of Shiia and Sunni troops. None of the peacekeepers would have been immediate neighbors of Iraq, therefore eliminating any regional perception of bias or hidden agenda.

 While we cannot be sure that conditions or proposals that were offered in 04 still are available, the plan referred to above gives the shape of a practical and successful plan for the end of the Occupation and Coalition withdrawal.

By negotiating with the Iraqi government, neighboring governments and other interested governments, the next President should be able to secure the forces and resources needed to end the Occupation, withdraw Coalition forces and provide sufficient security for the Iraqi people while their government establishes its control.

 Obviously, the mess that the Bush Administration has made of things and the markedly increased levels of instability and danger in Iraq since 04 will make these arrangement costlier to the US, more dangerous for the peace-keepers and longer than they would have been in 04. 

 If the withdrawal is carried out with foreign assistance as outlined above, these will be the ONLY CONSEQUENCES OF WITHDRAWAL.

 The GOP contention that a withdrawal will lead to horrorific consequences are invalid as they presuppose withdrawal conditions that no one supports.

 The GOP has been unwilling to discuss or even to acknowledge the consequences of continued Occupation.

  The continued Occupation of Iraq has serious adverse strategic consequences to American security including:

 a.     the destruction of local obstacles to Iran;

 b.    the on-going slaughter of civilians and the consequent discrediting of democratic government, and;

c.     perhaps most seriously the legitimatization of terrorists as mujahadeen opposing the neo-Imperialist Occupation of an important Arab country. 

 It is easy to see that the adverse strategic consequences of continuing the Occupation far exceed the consequences of withdrawal. 

 Senator McCain's blinkered focus on the current tactical situation and on improving his political standing have blinded him to the vast strategic ramifications of our Iraq policy.

 

Robert Chapman is greatly interested in developing political awareness among as many people as possible.

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