By: shep

by shep

John McCain’s 100 (or 10,000 or a million) years comments (and now an attempt at damage control by the GOP noise machine) are generating quite a bit of buzz, for good reason. They expose several candidacy-breaking problems for McCain.

First, it makes him look like the warmonger he appears to be in his heart. Coupled with his pre-9/11 agitation to invade Iraq, along with the likes of Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol and the rest of neoconservative cabal, and his now well-telegraphed desire to attack Iran, it seems as though a president McCain won’t be satisfied unless he is attempting to conquer every Middle East country that pisses him off. Given the desiccated state of The War Powers Act and wild expansion of executive power under George Bush, there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t send the entire region up in flames, cutting off the flow of ME oil and sending the world into economic and social collapse.

Second, his attempt to control the damage by suggesting that he means an indefinite US military occupation without any US casualties, creates new and troubling questions: 1) when will the clock start on this 100 years of peaceful Middle East occupation (In other words, how much longer does he intend to police the simmering civil war in Iraq, losing soldiers and mortgaging our future to the Chinese - he also claims to intend to cut more taxes?), 2) if he doesn’t have an answer to that question, why should anyone accept the premise that we will achieve a peaceful presence there at all and 3) by comparing future Iraq to American troop presence in Germany, Japan or North Korea, he demonstrates a deep, fundamental misunderstanding of history, military history and geopolitics that destroys his argument that his experience qualifies him above the other candidates. He has literally lived long yet still learned nothing.

Third, the one thing we must do to defuse the continuing global damage to American prestige and the jihadists ability to recruit thousands more terrorists dedicated to killing Americans is the exact opposite of McCain’s “100 year” statements, namely, announce that the official policy of the United States is the complete, unilateral and unconditional withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq. Until that becomes official US policy, it will be presumed by practically everyone that the US lied to the world and intended all along to permanently occupy Iraq for oil and Israel, just as many have suspected.

None of these things change the basic facts on the ground and, for that matter, little we can do will change them for the good because we do not control the situation. But what we say does matter and, in the long run, the stated plan to leave Iraq along with the beginning steps of that operation will put the matter squarely in the hands of Iraqis and their neighbors. They have even more at stake in securing some peaceful resolution for the disaster we have created as we withdraw but little motivation to do so as long as we can keep a lid on their conflict with US lives, even as they suck us dry to the tune of billions of dollars a month. As long as US leaders claim that our intention is to stay there virtually forever, Iraq will continue to claim our blood, our treasure, our moral standing and our future.

[E Pluribus Unum]