1. "As we all know, the American people have grown sick and tired of the war in Iraq."
2. "I understand that, of course. I, too, have been made sick at heart by the many mistakes made by civilian and military commanders and the terrible price we have paid for them."
3. "We have new commanders in Iraq,... They are following a counterinsurgency strategy that we should have been following from the beginning, which makes the most effective use of our strength and doesn't strengthen the tactics of our enemy."
McCain criticized Obama and Clinton on their plans to withdraw troops ASAP, saying, 4. "It would strengthen al Qaeda, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq that could quite possibly provoke genocide there, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions."
The above are quotes from a speech McCain delivered on Memorial Day in New Mexico.
These quotes evince the befuddled nature of both the Iraq conflict and John McCain's understanding thereof.
Quote (1) needs no further elucidation.
Quote (2) is the first time this writer has heard ANY American politician dump blame for the Iraq fiasco at the doorstep of unnamed "military commanders." Which commanders made mistakes? What were those mistakes? Were they acting without the authority and approval of the civilian leadership at the White House and Pentagon?
These are questions that need to be put to the Republican nominee, particularly since no Democrat has made these accusations against the Military.
In Quote (3), McCain is explicitly stating that a "counterinsurgency" strategy should have been followed "...from the beginning...." Where was John McCain at "the beginning" advocating such a position? Did he anticipate an "insurgency" and keep mum on the subject? Did he ever raise doubts about the "candy and flower petal" reception our invading troops would receive from Iraqis? And how does he, today, define "insurgency?" Against whom is the insurgency being waged? And why? And who are the "insurgents?"
Quote (4) addresses withdrawing our troops from Iraq. Therein he raises the possibility of simultaneously strengthening (Sunni) Al Qaeda and empowering (Shiite) Iran. Perhaps McCain is unaware of the contents of the most recent communique from Osama bin Laden of just a few days ago in which bin Laden raises serious objectives to the hegemonic ambitions of Iran in the Middle East. And perhaps foreign policy expert McCain forgets that there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before we trundled on in there. Though Saddam's Baath Party was also Sunni, it was Iraq-Sunni, not Saudi-Sunni like Al Qaeda.
Again in Quote (4), McCain refers to "full scale civil war in Iraq" breaking out if we leave. Implicit in that remark is the fact that currently there is a civil war taking place, but it's not quite up to the full scale category because of United States presence. Again, the was no civil war, small or full scale, taking place in Iraq until we arrived. In the same Quote (4), McCain expresses concern that unnamed Sunni and Shiite governments in the region may intervene in the "full scale civil war," in support of the Muslim sect they favor, and thereby "destabilize the entire region...."
This remark is perhaps the most nonsensical of them all. It presupposes that a stable, or status quo, Middle East is in the best strategic interest of the United States. This writer is not sure that is a valid proposition. The current "stability" in the Middle East is allowing the oil producing nations over there--Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, etc.-- to rob the West of its wealth, without even holding a knife to our throats.
All the West should be concerned with is getting their oil as cheap as possible, period! Would there be some possible dislocations or even brief interruptions in oil flow if Iran and Saudi battle each other on Iraqi turf? Maybe yes; maybe no. They need those revenues as much as the West needs their oil. And they know that.
Internecine bloodshed in the Middle East is preferable to the blood of United States soldiers being shed there.
And, to give Iraqis some credit, perhaps they themselves could unite-as-Iraqis if they saw Saudi and Iranian soldiers invading their land---nothing unites two domestic rivals like a foreign enemy, be it the United States, Saudi Arabia or Iran.