The rub here is this: McCain does not want to leave Iraq. Period. He wants tens of thousands of troops to stay in Iraq permanently. He made a big point of this during the primaries when it was politically advantageous to do so. And he followed up with a qualifier explaining that it's okay because our occupation of Iraq will soon be like our presence in Germany and Japan where nobody gets killed. But there's little reason to believe our occupation of Iraq will ever be like that. We tried this in Lebanon; the French tried this in Algeria; the British even tried it in Iraq. Western countries have a very poor history garrisoning Muslim countries in the Middle East. Iraq isn't like Germany or Japan, not simply because of the history of the country but because both countries accepted decades-long US deployments as a counterweight to threatening neighbors. The relevant point is that McCain believes American troops should stay in Iraq permanently. His pipe dream about Iraq turning into Germany doesn't change that. It just shows his substitution of wishful thinking for sound strategic judgment.
...The New Yorker's Rick Hertzberg put it all quite elegantly back in January just after McCain started saying this. "McCain," he wrote, "wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal--that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
they're his base
The Associated Press hops on the Crazy Train. Meanwhile, Josh on McCain's "I didn't say 100 years in Iraq, I just said 100 years in Iraq!" issue: