McCain is bashing Bush. Instapundit says it's because Bush isn't running again so Bush is expendable.
I'm sure that's what McCain is thinking. But he's hurting the party. His bashing gives ammo to the anti-war KOS crowd just in time for November.
It seems everyone is turning against the war because nobody is arguing Bush's case. Bush is on his own. The Iraqi people deserve better and I'm ashamed of America right now. No matter what you may think of Maliki, when he was here he looked desparate to let the American people know Iraq appreciates our effort and sacrifice. Iraq needs us yet we're in danger of abandoning them and already have in spirit.
And the Republicans aren't fighting hard enough. They're not leaders, they're followers and are too afraid of the Democrats to demonstrate optimism and the good old-fashioned American way. Republicans are beginning to sound like the Democrats, whining about their pet peeves such as immigration and pork, and completely ignoring the millions of people in Iraq who are depending on us.
And the Iraq and War on Terror rhetoric I've been hearing lately is counterproductive. I don't want to talk to the crazies at Kos, I want to talk to ordinary Americans who think treason rhetoric is over the top (Hannity isn't helping anyone) and who don't have their heads in the sand but simply want some reassurance.
These are the main memes that are out there:
We needed more troops.
McCain is echoing this which is part of the 'incompetence' meme that took over when 'Bush lied' didn't work.
We're fighting an insurgency in which the most important tool is intelligence, not troops. The men have to know where the bad guys are before they engage and the Iraqi people have to give us the information. Flooding the zone with foreign troops is quite frankly no way to win the hearts and minds of the people. The Arab culture is allergic to occupation and to them it has a special meaning far beyond what we consider valid.
So a massive number of troops after the initial take down of Saddam's regime would have been counterproductive. And heaven knows there have been mistakes where innocent Iraqis have been killed by Americans. More troops means more incidents, more targets, and less intelligence. It took a while as it was for the Iraqi people to come forward with fingers pointing to the bad guys.
And once the government was formed, it was important to bring the sunni insurgents into the political process, something that would have been even more difficult if there were thousands and thousands of American boots to plow through first before they would ever consider the political option.
That said, I can certainly see a few more feet on the ground, especially now. But certainly not the huge numbers that some critics have stated were necessary from the git go. It wouldn't have helped with Zarqawi. And certain areas of Iraq under tribal control were left alone which gave the tribal leaders a choice. Go with the violence and let your women and children be killed, or call on the Americans. They chose the latter. And the important thing to note was that it was their choice, it was not imposed upon them.
Anyway 'We needed more troops' is simply rhetoric and hindsight.
Iraq is in a civil war.
There is definitely sectarian violence and the situation in Baghdad is bad. But it is not civil war. For all the sectarian mayhem Zarqawi tried to force on the Iraqis, it didn't really work. The recent escalation started with the bombing of the holiest of the shia mosques back in the spring. Luckily we killed Zarqawi shortly after. But that bombing was the worst provocation possible to pit shia against sunni.
And it looks like it almost worked. But if you look closely you'll find that except for the baathist sunni, the insurgents fighting the 'occupation', the jihadis fighting the Americans and democracy, Sadr's gang and some other excitable shia, most Iraqis don't give a rip if you're sunni or shia.
Now the Americans have moved troops into Baghdad and the violence is beginning to settle down. But often when the Americans move in, the bad guys go into hiding. (I wonder why.) So what can you do? If the Americans leave, the bad guys will just start up again. But, wait. The Iraqi people, who don't hate us, are giving us the information about where the bad guys are hiding.
So I think we'll lick this. And the Iraqi police and troops seem to be doing their jobs!
Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror.
This is a meme that I don't hear much pushback on. It's noted and then the conversation turns elsewhere. I think because it's so difficult to explain. The Democrats have long tried to separate Iraq from the general war and put their little digs in every chance they get. It's a question often pushed in polls then the poll results are reported so eventually the meme gathers legs.
Withoug going into the complex reasons for Iraq, let me just say that if we were to leave Iraq without finishing what we set out to do the jihadi movement would be emboldened and declare victory over America. Bin laden's belief in our weakness would be vindicated.
It's not healthy for your enemies to believe you can be defeated.
So that makes Iraq a HUGE part of the war on terror.
Anyway, why do you think jihadis from around the globe converged on Iraq? Vacation?
Americans have turned against the war in Iraq.
Americans are unhappy about how long it's taking but Americans also know we can't just leave. They intuitively understand that Iraq IS a part of the war on terror and we can't just walk away.
Well, enough of that. I'll just end this by saying Americans and fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But the angels follow the Americans and help them make things right.
It's the American Way.
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