Iraq is a mess. If things improve and Iraqis get their country under control and implement peaceful, representative, secular government no one will be happier than me. I have never had the goal of watching Bush and his administration fail. Even if Iraq does improve and stabilize, it will not in any way excuse Bush of the major mistakes and the major unnecessary loss of life in Iraq.
What’s funny, though, is that Bush sent the bull in the China shop and now people are hard as hell on Obama, as if he should alone have all the answers and make all the right predictions about Iraq. It’s obvious to everyone, McCain included, I think, that it is time to get out of Iraq. Obama has suggested a policy of a reasoned withdrawal. This is a view that many, many people share. I believe the Iraqis themselves are suggesting it. Said the Obama camp:
“It is hard to understand how Sen. McCain can at once proclaim his support for the sovereign government of Iraq, and then stubbornly defy their expressed support for a timeline to remove our combat brigades from their country,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
If Obama is elected President he will be inheriting Bush’s mess and it may not go 100% smoothly. Given how unsmoothly it has gone so far, and how tolerant the Right has been with it, I’m sure they will be very supportive and tolerant of Obama’s efforts.
Let’s ask 2 questions:
1. In retrospect, was it a good idea to invade Iraq?
2. Given that we are in Iraq, what is the best course of action?
My answers: 1) Of course not. It represents a complete failure of foreign policy. This is universally agreed upon with the exception of the ultra-wacko-wing of the Right wing. 2) We should transition to an international non-US-led peace-keeping and reconstruction effort and we should completely withdraw troops from Iraq except to the extent that we participate in that effort.
What would McCain say? What would Obama say? What do you say?
‘Cause the thing is — the answers to these questions basically tell you the foreign policy philosophy of the respondent. If you don’t question our actions in Iraq given what we know today, you are a hardcore imperialist hawk. Given what we know today it did not warrant unilateral US military action in Iraq, no question about it. We could have kept playing the diplomacy game just like we do with North Korea and Iran. Only people who want to control the Middle East for strategic control of the oil think Iraq was a good idea.
For #2, given #1, can we admit a mistake? Can America be humble? Can we do the right thing after a mistake?
As for the war on terror, it is separate from the war in Iraq. The sects in Iraq will have to come to some equilibrium. Everyone wants to start putting things back together. The terrorists, to the extent they are there at all, will be demotivated by peace and prosperity. The US military is impeding, not aiding, the transition to self rule. That “the surge is working”, if it is, is proof of this. Peace is proportional to the number of troops on the ground in that way of thinking. It’s untenable. Peace has to be proportional to less troops on the ground if we are to be successful.
McCain is Bush on Iraq. I know he would try his best to solve it his way. We would all hope that President McCain would be a greater leader and inspire greater leadership from his cabinet. But his policy is still basically the same as Bush’s. How can anyone be convinced that the Bush doctrine in Iraq is credible!
No matter how much you disagree with my answers, Bush’s answers are the problem and McCain basically agrees with Bush on Iraq. QED, McCain cannot be trusted with the presidency.