Monday, February 11, 2008

The Bush/McCain Surge

As McCain inches closer to a lock on the GOP nomination, he also continues to embrace the Surge strategy, taking credit for supporting the administration from day one. No longer touting just the cheap rugs in the market squares, where he was able to shop last spring unperturbed but for the flack vest and battalion of security forces and air cover, McCain would have us cast a vote for him in November for having the foresight to back Bush and the surge, in all of it's glory. FDL:

If McCain wants to take ownership of the surge, he should also be held responsible for all the consequences of the broader strategic choice the surge represented. Whatever the surge may accomplish in Iraq -- and it still looks like a highly risky gamble to have armed over 60,000 disaffected Sunni militants -- it's clear the surge has come at the expense of deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In pleading the case for more NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Administration is now undermining NATO, our most important security alliance. Gates publically insulted our NATO allies, essentially calling some of them cowards for avoiding combat in Southern Afghanistan. Last week, the Administration divided its time between lecturing our allies on their security and importuning them to save us from the fact we don't have enough troops left to send ourselves.

The Iraq surge's costs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere will continue to play out through the election. But the media, focused more on Petraeus' Iraq statistics, rarely describes the surge decision as a strategic choice between very different policy alternatives with important consequences outside Iraq.

The American people, however, are proving to be smarter than the media. Despite the claims of success, large majorities still want us out. They understand there is a cost to America's security from Bush/McCain's open ended commitment to Iraq, and now they're making the connection between the massive costs of our occupation and the neglect of America's economic security. The latter topic would be the one McCain concedes he doesn't fully understand. No kidding.

Say it with me now; Democratic Majority 2008. Foresight indeed, John.

1 comment:

  1. When Bush came up with this "surge" idea, I thought it was to call McCain's bluff. You may remember McCain was calling for more troops to occupy Iraq, knowing full well that we didn't have enough extra forces to send.

    Possibly he was setting up an exit strategy for 2009 based on "Bush didn't take my advice, and now it's too late."

    The "surge" consisted of more units than could reasonably be sent to Iraq, but not enough to make the occupation a success. I expected Bush to say, well we sent more troops just like McCain told us to and that didn't work either!

    What happened is that the "surge" led to the escalation in violence that was widely predicted, with 2007 being the worst year for casualties, Iraqi and American. The goal of the "surge," the Iraq government benchmarks, was not met. Somehow Petraeus and Crocker managed to spin this tragedy as progress when they reported to Congress last September.

    But coincidentally with the "surge," Moqtada Sadr called a unilateral six-month cease fire and our commanders started paying Sunni insurgents to stop shooting at Americans. That's why the right wing is claiming "success" and even "victory."