Dan, You are Better Than This

Dan Curry, a nice guy who I genuinely appreciate a good back and forth with, tries to argue that the decline in violence over the last 8 months is evidence of victory.  Choosing the peak and then showing a decline is a misrepresentation of the data. 

The violence is back to 2006 levels which is better than 2007 levels of violence, but hardly victory and certainly still a civil war. More importantly, the point of the surge was to reduce violence as a path to political reconciliation–that is not happening. Despite claims of progress on benchmarks, the Iraqis again failed to pass key legislation:

The legislation was vetoed because of the opposition of Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite vice president who sits on the three-member presidency council, which must approve all laws unanimously, according to his aides and other lawmakers. Abdul-Mahdi’s aides said he believed the law was unconstitutional and would put too much control in the hands of the central government instead of the provinces.

The passage of the law, which delineated the scope of provincial powers, was considered a crucial step not just because it fleshed out the constitution’s definition of Iraq as a federal state, but also because it would have required provincial elections to be held by Oct. 1. The last nationwide elections took place in 2005.

The entire language of the right on this issue guarantees failure. The point isn’t to militarily defeat anyone. The point is to create a stable democratic government in a country that is divided sharply on ethnic and religious grounds. The problem with this goal is that the different factions don’t appear to share that goal.

Out of Context McCain

The straight shooter, not so straight:

Q. Put in context your comment about spending 100 years in Iraq.

McCain: “As we know all’s fair in politics. The fact is that everybody in the media who follows me and spends a lot of time with me I was talking about after the war is over. Just as after the war was over in Korea, there was a cease fire, we had American presence there. After the first Gulf War, we still have a presence in Kuwait. It’s very clear what I was talking about, after we succeed in this conflict and we are succeeding unless the Democrats are able to pull the plug out and cause a date for withdrawal, then we will succeed in this confilict and we will enter into negotiation and discussion as far as the military and other relationships between our two countries. I think that’s pretty clea

Yes, he wants permanent bases in Iraq:

After the event ended, I asked McCain about his “hundred years” comment, and he reaffirmed the remark, excitedly declaring that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for “a thousand years” or “a million years,” as far as he was concerned. The key matter, he explained, was whether they were being killed or not: “It’s not American presence; it’s American casualties.” U.S. troops, he continued, are stationed in South Korea, Japan, Europe, Bosnia, and elsewhere as part of a “generally accepted policy of America’s multilateralism.” There’s nothing wrong with Iraq being part of that policy, providing the government in Baghdad does not object.

In other words, McCain does not equate victory in Iraq–which he passionately urges at campaign events–with the removal of U.S. troops from that nation. After McCain told Tiffany that he could see troops remaining in Iraq for a hundred years, a reporter sitting next to me quipped, “There’s the general election campaign ad.” He meant the Democratic ad: John McCain thinks it would be okay if U.S. troops stayed in Iraq for another hundred years…..

60% of the public wants out of Iraq in one year.  They don’t have a fantasy of Iraq becoming some a stable liberal democracy.  He doesn’t want a gradual draw down of troops that isn’t happening as Oberweis is claiming.  He wants to stay there and stay there adn stay there.

And why would he want American troops permanently stationed in Iraq?  To start another war in the Persian Gulf:

McCain: I would at minimum consult with the leaders of Congress because there may come a time where you need the approval of Congress and I believe that this is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.

It’s not some conspiracy theory, it’s what McCain says he’ll do in the middle of a debate. Why does anyone doubt him?  And is Oberweis ready to back another war in the Persian Gulf also?