This video (via The Agitator) thoroughly documents John McCain’s long trail of cluelessness when it comes to Iraq.
Now that we know that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki supports Obama’s troop withdrawal timetable, it’s pretty clear which of the two major candidates is more in tune with what’s happening in the region. McCain continues to claim that the surge has worked, but that’s taking a very loose definition of “worked.” If the surge worked, the Iraqi leaders would have made political breakthroughs that would have allowed the Iraqis to begin shouldering the load of providing security. That hasn’t happened. And in fact, the occupation continues to cost us more and more money the longer we’re there. If the goal here is to make Iraq self-sufficient, the surge did the opposite of that. It got us further entrenched in a country where the populace has been demanding we scale back our presence for several years now.
McCain is stuck now, asking the American people for their vote just as the evidence of his spectacularly poor understanding of Iraq is being laid out in front of him. Here’s an interview he did back in 2004 at the Council on Foreign Relations:
PETERSON: Let me give you a hypothetical, senator. What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there? I understand it’s a hypothetical, but it’s at least possible.
McCAIN: Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it’s obvious that we would have to leave because— if it was an elected government of Iraq— and we’ve been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government, then I think we would have other challenges, but I don’t see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.
PETERSON: A second and final question from me. As you know—
McCAIN: By the way, could I— if we do it right, that’s not going to happen, but we will be there militarily for a long, long, long time.
Obviously, we didn’t do it right. The decision to invade Iraq was based upon the willingness of those in the Bush Administration to believe what they wanted to believe, rather than to objectively look at the situation and take a rational course of action. But anyone with half a brain knew this by 2004. Somehow John McCain did not. He continued to believe even then that we’d never get to a situation where an elected Iraqi government would be asking us to leave.
We’ve already suffered through two terms with a President that clueless. We can’t afford another.