Monday, July 21, 2008

It’s a shame that the New York Times didn’t publish Sen. McCain’s editorial response to Sen. Obama’s OP-ed last week. You can read the reprint on CNN here. If the Times actually put it to press, maybe a good number of people—especially these so-called moderates and independents who, supposedly, gravitate toward the phony “maverick”—could see just how extreme McCain’s prescriptions really are, and how shallow his understanding of the situation actually is.

“Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy,” McCain declares. The progress in question is the certifiable decline in rampant insane violence. Yes, that is partly due to the troop “surge” begun in 2007. To his credit, McCain also mentions—without naming it—the “Awakening Councils” of Sunni Iraqis, another US-led initiative. Going unmentioned is the crucial factor of the Mahdi army’s Iraq-Iran brokering of ceasefires that happened around the same time. And, needless to say, enough ethnic cleansing was going on in Baghdad and elsewhere that by necessity there is less violence. But, because this is about political expediency, it’s all you, Mac, and your courageous stand for the Surge.

“No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges.” Okay, then why no mention of the gargantuan embassy we are constructing in Baghdad, or the Status of Forces Agreement? “The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback” if we withdraw, warns McCain. I don’t think this even merits much comment aside from repeating the fact that Qaeda fighters were not in Saddam’s Iraq until we launched the invasion five years ago. Iran “stag[ing] a comeback” in Iraq? Sorry, but that’s retarded. Iraq and Iran fought a bloody war for a decade. If Sadr is the radical, he’s also fiercely nationalist and his forces—Badr brigades and others—would repulse any Persian attempt to “conquer” once the vacuum appears following our departure.

I’m no expert, and Obama’s nakedly opportunistic efforts to put a progressive cloak on moves toward the “center” (e.g. right wing, the “responsible” imperial manager role) like his predecessor frighten and dismay me (see cartoon above), but it’s a very dangerous prospect to put into office yet another figure who doesn’t seem to know shit about something with such high stakes. Hopefully I’m wrong.

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