Tuesday, January 29, 2008



McCain: "War is over." Lindsey: "Where are those adorable little rugs?"

McCain is basing his electoral strategy on a bold-faced lie that the Bush Regime, his entire campaign and a compliant media are all happy to perpetrate, quite mindlessly-- the we're winning the war in Iraq. We're not, despite Bush's clueless assertion to the contrary in his SotU speech last night. Willard of course, knows McCain's assertions are patently false-- but they're the only thing the Republican base wants to hear and it would be suicide for Romney to go beyond his general claims that McCain is a liar and explain how.

Respected historian Andrew Bacevich, however, has no such constraints. Surge To Nowhere would have been a far better answer to Bush last night than Kathleen Sebelius' very lame and tepid response. He urges his readers not to buy into McCain's hype; Iraq is a disaster.
In President Bush's pithy formulation, the United States is now "kicking ass" in Iraq. The gallant Gen. David Petraeus, having been given the right tools, has performed miracles, redeeming a situation that once appeared hopeless. Sen. John McCain has gone so far as to declare that "we are winning in Iraq." While few others express themselves quite so categorically, McCain's remark captures the essence of the emerging story line: Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.

From the hallowed halls of the American Enterprise Institute waft facile assurances that all will come out well. AEI's Reuel Marc Gerecht assures us that the moment to acknowledge "democracy's success in Iraq" has arrived. To his colleague Michael Ledeen, the explanation for the turnaround couldn't be clearer: "We were the stronger horse, and the Iraqis recognized it." In an essay entitled "Mission Accomplished" that is being touted by the AEI crowd, Bartle Bull, the foreign editor of the British magazine Prospect, instructs us that "Iraq's biggest questions have been resolved." Violence there "has ceased being political." As a result, whatever mayhem still lingers is "no longer nearly as important as it was." Meanwhile, Frederick W. Kagan, an AEI resident scholar and the arch-advocate of the surge, announces that the "credibility of the prophets of doom" has reached "a low ebb."

Presumably Kagan and his comrades would have us believe that recent events vindicate the prophets who in 2002-03 were promoting preventive war as a key instrument of U.S. policy. By shifting the conversation to tactics, they seek to divert attention from flagrant failures of basic strategy. Yet what exactly has the surge wrought? In substantive terms, the answer is: not much.

...The United States has acquired a ramshackle, ungovernable and unresponsive dependency that is incapable of securing its own borders or managing its own affairs. More than three years after then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice handed President Bush a note announcing that "Iraq is sovereign," that sovereignty remains a fiction.

It awes me that so many of our fellow citizens-- albeit only Republicans-- are still so desperate to hear what they want to hear instead of what is reality, that they are about to nominate a clueless and out-of-touch old man to carry their party's banner-- and that the mainstream media is cheering them along every step of the way. Did I just say "only Republicans?" This morning's Hill corrects me.
Clinton and Obama’s divergent views on the troop surge in Iraq, however, were plainly visible.

When Bush proclaimed, “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among terrorists there is no doubt,” Clinton sprang to her feet in applause but Obama remained firmly seated. The president’s line divided most of the Democratic audience, with nearly half standing to applaud and the other half sitting in stony silence.
No one threw tomatoes.

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