Tuesday, April 1, 2008

McCain Lights Into Obama Over Iraq

John McCain responds to Obama's continuing criticism of his "hundred years in Iraq" remark, stating that Obama has no "experience or background" as regards the military and our national security. Its sort of the Clinton's "3 a.m." ad on steroids.


If Obama thinks that he has a bullet with which to attack McCain by claiming he wants, to paraphrase, endless warfare, he is sorely wrong. Besides taking McCain's "hundred years" in Iraq remark out of context, it also highlights the grave weaknesses in the Democrats calls to pull all troops out of Iraq and to do so within a short time frame. And today, McCain has responded appropriately.

“It displays a fundamental misunderstanding of history and how we’ve maintained national security, and what we need to do in the future to maintain our security in the face of the transcendent challenge of radical Islamic extremism. And I understand that because he has no experience or background in any of it,” McCain said. “(He) either hasn’t read or (doesn’t) understand…the history of this country in warfare, and the way that we secure alliances and secure the peace–and that’s through military government to government agreements that call for United States presence and mutual defense. Not only in that country itself, but also in the region. Our troops in Japan maintain a military presence in Asia. Our troops in Japan and South Korea maintain stability in Asia. The same thing was true after World War II about our troops in Germany.”

You can read the story and hear McCain's remarks here.

McCain is completely correct on this. The case against the war needed to be made in 2003. Once the decision was made to go in, the only appropriate place for the argument that "the war was wrong" was in the history departments of academia. Once we crossed into Iraq, we had and still have only two options - to win or to lose. Winning, in the long term, means establishing a functioning democracy with a functioning economy that is free from external aggression. This requires a long term committment - as it did with Japan, Germany and Korea. All of those countries, in the end, flourished. That is winning for any on the left still having trouble defining the word as regards Iraq. And on a side note, it took nearly thirty years for Korea to actually develop a functioning democracy.

Obama's argument that we need to leave Iraq now is completely political - and laughably sophomoric. His argument, that the war was wrong at inception and thus we need to leave -wholly ignores all that has occurred since March 20, 2003. It ignores that Iraq has become the main battleground for the Wahhabi extremists of al Qaeda and it ignores the designs the Shia theocracy of Iran - arguably the West's most dangerous enemy today - has upon Iraq. Whatever the situation in 2003, it has no bearing on the reality in 2008. The only things that have not changed since March 20, 2003 are our strategic interest in the Middle East and the existential threats posed by al Qaeda and Iran's theocracy. Obama does not address these arguments.

But history has showed us how to "win" in Iraq, and McCain does a good job of discussing them in thumbnail fashion in the video linked above. The other option, the one being touted by Obama, will clearly lead in another direction. Obama, some time ago, dreamed up the idea of protecting us by relying on some sort of quick reaction force operating out of Kuwait to keep Iraq free of al Qaeda and, I would assume, from Iranian aggression. That is ridiculous on so many levels it is almost impossible to know where to begin.

1. It is taking well over 150,000 of our soldiers in country to try and break al Qaeda's hold on the Sunni areas of Iraq and to limit Iran's deadly meddling. How a QRF of a few thousand combat soldiers could possibly be expected to accomplish a similar mission and how they would gather the intelligence necessary to attack specific targets inside Iraq is simply unimaginable.

2. If we leave Iraq, the likelihood of a real civil war, driven by al Qaeda and Sunni countries on one side and Iran on the other, is palpable, if not probable.

3. If we leave Iraq, under what possible scenario do we think that the Iraqi government will allow the U.S. back in, whether to attack Iraq al Qaeda targets or Iranian targets. It is quite probable that the weak central government would fall under Iranian influence - and I severly doubt Ahmedinejad and his cronies will allow a sattelite government to roll out the red carpet for the U.S.

4. Obama's suggestion is the equivalent of a politician playing general - a scenario that is disastorous the vast majority of the time. Yes, I know he has General McPeak at his side. McPeak is an Air Force officer and, if this was his idea, he is just completely clueless about the reality of ground warfare.

There are two theories. One, Obama is making his pronouncements wholly to feed a far left base that is completely out of touch with reality and only concerned with destroying conservativism in America through a toppling of Bush. Two, Obama really does have no clue about the lessons of history or about the capabilities and limitations of our military. While both are possible, neither one is remotely acceptable. In either case, really, McCain's remarks are dead on point.

No comments: