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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Even the Spin is Bad

John McCain's been taken out of context again. That happens a lot. Communist and terrorist bloggers hang on Baghdad Johnny's every word, waiting for a short string of words they can yank out of longer strings and make big headlines with. It happened when McCain said he'd be OK with 100 years in Iraq. That was taken totally out of context. What he meant was that we still have troops in S. Korea and Germany. When John McCain said he was fine with 100 years in Iraq, what he really meant was that he was fine with 100 years in Iraq. It's a subtle nuance.

Likewise, yesterday McCain told the TODAY Show bringing troops home was no big deal. He had this conversation with Matt Lauer:

Q: A lot of people now say the surge is working.

McCAIN: Anyone who knows the facts on the ground say that.

Q: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?

McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea. Americans are in Japan. American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine.

Seems pretty clear cut -- McCain doesn't really care when troops come home. But wait, Team McCain wants to clarify and debunk what the terrorist and commie bloggers are saying about him. See, he went on to say, "American casualties, and the ability to withdraw. We will be able to withdraw... But the key to it is we don't want any more Americans in harm's way."

So let me get this straight, withdrawing troops isn't all that important; what's important is the ability to withdraw troops. Which, of course, we won't do. Not if Baghad Johnny and his pal George Dubya have their way. Doesn't really clear that whole thing up, does it?

There's a tiny little hitch in McCain's and Bush's plan for an Okinawa in Iraq -- Iraqis. See, they want us to get the hell out.

A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday.


The proposed pact has become increasingly controversial in Iraq, where there have been protests against it. It has also drawn criticism from Democrats on the presidential election campaign trail in the United States, who say President George W. Bush is trying to dictate war policy after he leaves office.

"The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," Iraqi lawmakers wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this month. It was signed by over half the members of Parliament.

Yesterday, The Independent reported:

Sami al-Askari, a senior Shia politician close to Mr Maliki told The Washington Post: "The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonisation of Iraq ... If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, 'Goodbye, US troops. We don't need you here any more.'"

I should point out that the Maliki faction of the Iraqi government is about the only faction that could remotely be described as "pro-US." These are our friends. Clearly, US forces have overstayed their welcome.

Here's an interesting question; what happens to the McCain campaign if the Iraqi Parliament kicks us out of Iraq? Staying in Iraq is about 95% of his message. What's he run on then; his health care plan (which is basically "eat right and exercise")? Take away Iraq and McCain has nothing. Sure, there's always "we've got to attack Iran," but without Iraq as a staging area, that's going to be pretty tough to pull off. Take away Iraq and every neocon dream of the White House and their McCain sequel falls apart.

So it's not going to happen. Iraq's a democracy so long as we allow them to be. If the Iraqi Parliament ordered Bush to withdraw troops, do you really believe he would? As it is, Bush is making concessions to save his security agreement, but it's hard to imagine how he could trim it back enough to make the Iraqis happy, while keeping his war going. Something's got to give and, stubborn ass that he is, it's not going to be Bush.

It's also not going to be Iraqis. "What the U.S. wants is to take the current status quo and try to regulate it in a new agreement. And what we want is greater respect for Iraqi sovereignty," says Haider al-Abadi, a parliament member from Maliki's Dawa party. "Signing the agreement would mean that the Iraqi government had given up its sovereignty by its own consent. And that will never happen."

For their part, a vast majority of Iraqis agree -- in fact, 70%. Not only don't Americans want an open-ended commitment in Iraq, but neither do Iraqis. Bush, McCain, and the rest of the neocon true-believers are the only ones who hold that lonely position.

So, even if we accept McCain's explanation that his "100 years in Iraq" means using S. Korea, Japan, and Germany as the model, Iraqis still don't want that. And, if 70% of Iraqis don't want it, how do you think the more violent among them feel about it? In his 100 years statement, McCain said, "We’ve been in Japan for 60 years, we’ve been in South Korea 50 years or so, that’d be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, then it’s fine with me. I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al-Qaeda is training recruiting equipping and motivating people every single day."

And that's been his defense. He meant 100 good years in Iraq, where Americans aren't "being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." How realistic do you think that is when 70% of Iraqis want us out? If we occupy a nation that doesn't want to be occupied, we'll be fighting the whole damned time we're there. And the only reason for the violence will be to defend an occupation that Iraqis don't want, Americans don't want, and that serves no other real purpose than to defend its own existence.

So. when McCain lets some dumbass statement slip about how long we should stay in Iraq, remember what he'll later say that means and remember that the clarification isn't any better. He has visions of Marines eating bratwurst in Berlin, but that's about the most unrealistic damned scenario you could come up with. Even when he "sets the record straight," the statements still suck. John McCain is off with George W. Bush in neocon Fantasyland, dreaming of all those happy Iraqis who'll be living alongside US forces. And those forces will be in permanent bases that Bush once said he didn't want.

As always, when it comes to GOP warheads, you can only come to two conclusions. Either they know exactly what a continued occupation of Iraq would look like and they're not telling you the truth about it or they believe everything they say, despite the fact that's it's insanely unrealistic. As is so often the case, the choice is between lying or stupid.

Personally, I think it's they're former and they're hoping you're the latter.


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