Friday, October 24, 2008

Gerson: McCain's Thwarted Greatness, Redux

John McCain won the nomination of his party, in large part, as a vindicated prophet.
I think this is called the "Jeane Dixon effect." If you make enough prophecies, some of them are bound to be right, and the gullible forget about the predictions that bombed, such as McCain's claims that the Iraq war would be quick and easy, and that we would be greeted as liberators.

Hell, McCain can't even predict the past: less than three months ago, he claimed we were greeted as liberators.

Of course, with McCain having been on every side of every issue, one would have to hope that he'd gotten a few right, just by blind chance.

Gerson, mirroring Krauthammer, does the same "the surge worked" dance. Once again: no, it didn't. The program was: (1) increase troop levels (2) to reduce the violence to make space for (3) political reconciliation that will provide the foundation for (4) a reduction in violence not dependent on American troops (5) that will enable us to gradually withdraw without having to worry about whether Iraq will blow up again.

The Surge is still stuck in Step 2. Claims that the Surge has succeeded, Mike, are your brain on amnesia, gullibility, and wingnut Kool-Aid. Any questions?

Gerson, again mirroring Chucko, criticizes Obama's opposition to the Surge. But that raises the question: was it a good gamble at the time? Was there any reason not to believe it was one more Bush 'Hail Mary' pass to try to pull victory from defeat (or at least forestall his critics for another year), regardless of its chances for success?

What was supposed to be different about the surge? Oh, that's right" "Clear, hold, and build." But we were told we'd already been doing that for 15 months:

Casey also found himself at odds with others in the administration. Once, when he had called the number of civilian personnel who had volunteered to serve in Iraq "paltry," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had chided him. General, she had said, you're out of line.

On another occasion, in late 2005, he butted heads with Rice after her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which she offered a succinct description of the U.S. military strategy in Iraq -- "clear, hold and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely and then build durable Iraqi institutions."

"What the hell is that?" Casey asked his boss at U.S. Central Command, Gen. John P. Abizaid.

"I don't know," Abizaid said.

"Did you agree to that?"

"No, I didn't agree to that."

When Rice next came to Iraq, Casey asked for a private meeting with her and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

"Excuse me, ma'am, what's 'clear, hold, build'?"

Rice looked a little surprised. "George, that's your strategy."

"Ma'am, if it's my strategy, don't you think someone should have had the courtesy to talk to me about it before you went public with it?"

So why should anyone have given any credence to the idea that a little more 'clear, hold, build' than we had already supposedly been doing for well over a year would have worked?

If the Administration hadn't been lying to us (yeah, the Administration you were working for at the time, Mike), we might have known, in January 2007, that we hadn't been pursuing a 'clear, hold, build' approach, so actually trying it might actually reduce the violence.

But blaming others for not seeing through your own bullshit, Mike, is bullshit.

No comments: