Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McCain on Iraq

McCain had some infuriating, yet wise, words to say on Iraq today.

In a major address in California on foreign policy, the presumptive Republican nominee said, "It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible and premature withdrawal."

He has previously said that to be elected president, he will need to convince American voters that whatever they think of the wisdom of having gone to war, the U.S. has a vital interest in keeping troops there long enough to quash the threat posed by Al Qaeda.

"Whether they were there before is immaterial. Al Qaeda is in Iraq now. If we withdraw prematurely, al Qaeda will survive [and] proclaim victory & Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. I believe a reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values."

In his sole attack directed explicitly at Democratic presidential contenders Senators Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., McCain said, "[The] consequences of our defeat would threat us for years and those who argue for [withdrawal], as both Democratic candidates do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date."

In a seeming rebuke to the Bush Administration, he said, "Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen tot he views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic or diplomatic, we will try to persuade out friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them."
(Bold is mine for emphasis.)

So, the way I see it, we fcuked up by letting Bush invade Iraq, and we fcuked up by re-electing him and letting him continue to bungle the situation, we fcuked up by creating a situation that seriously increased the threat of terrorism and provided new opportunities for al Qaeda to recruit and train and feed the hate. We should never have been there in the first place, but now we're so mired in the situation that it would be irresponsible to withdraw without undoing the disaster we've created. McCain recognizes that it was bungled and that it needs to be fixed, and that the Democratic candidates are proposing withdrawal based on popular opinion that we shouldn't have been there in the first place. The fact is that we are, though, and leaving prematurely would make things even worse than they are. McCain has also spoken up against his party against torture and the hypocracy of using it against suspected enemies even though it's clearly illegal, ineffective and wrong; and against corruption, both of which have earned the ire of the majority of the Republican party. If he weren't beholden to the Republicans on other issues, he'd be a compelling candidate, especially against Obama. Clinton is the best candidate IMO, even though she doesn't talk all pretty and fluffy, but she keeps shooting herself in the foot with her lame and desperate attacks on Obama. Sigh.