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May 01, 2008

John McCain's Strategy for Invading Iraq WAS THE BUSH STRATEGY
Posted by Max Bergmann

John McCain likes to criticize the Bush administration for its handling of the first few months of the war, such as he did today implying that Bush should be blamed for bungling the early months of the war.

But while his most fervent supporters may believe that John McCain showed foresight prior to the war. The fact is that McCain didn't just support the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. He supported its strategy and tactics for that invasion. From troop levels to Chalabi, to the coalition of the willing, McCain fully supported the Bush-Rumsfeld approach.

This shouldn't be of any surprise to anyone - except maybe the editorial page of the Washington Post. McCain was fully supportive of Rumsfeld's vision of military transformation which believed that high-tech advanced weaponry could make up for boots on the ground - therefore enabling a lighter invasion force. This warped view of military power - which completely ignored the aftermath of an invasion - was fundamental to the neocons belief that Iraq would be the first in a number of regime change wars. In fact, John McCain adopted this view during the 2000 campaign when he strongly advocated for an aggressive policy of "rogue state rollback." He also was totally on board with the concept of the coalition of the willing as he made clear during the 2000 campaign and in his repeated demeaning statements toward allies in the run-up to the war.

It is simply wrong for the press to allow John McCain to portray himself as a critic of the war from the outset. Only after everything went to hell with the Bush-Rumsfeld-McCain plan did McCain seek to disassociate himself from the Bush administration.

On Rumsfeld:
"I'm a great admirer of Rumsfeld
…I think the president is blessed to have two extremely talented people (Powell and Rumsfeld), experienced people, working for him, and others, but particularly those two.” McCain a year later said, "I have great respect for Secretary Rumsfeld." [MSNBC Hardball, 4/23/03. Charlie Rose, 4/19/04]

On troop levels:
"But the fact is I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But I don't believe it's going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991." [CBS Face the Nation, 9/15/02]

McCain rejected calls to get more international troops on the ground in Iraq. "I think that the only military presence required right now would be American and British." [MSNBC Hardball, 4/23/03]

On Chalabi:
“I think it's time to get them in. And I think that the transition to a civilian government… bringing Chalabi and, and the Iraqi National Congress as soon as possible and make the transition as soon as possible.” [ABC News, 4/9/03]

McCain met with Chalabi in front of the Pentagon in April 2003 on 60 minutes.
"Dr. Chalabi goes to Iraq; Pentagon promoting Dr. Ahmed Chalabi as a candidate to run post-Saddam Iraq, while CIA and State Department are working hard to prevent it

STAHL: (Voiceover) But Chalabi's supporters at the Pentagon say Iraq needs an exile like him because he understands how democracy works. And, boy, does he. Dressed more like a Washington lobbyist than a freedom fighter, he's spent years urging the US government to go after Saddam Hussein.

Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona): How are you, Dr. Chalabi?
Dr. CHALABI: How do you do, sir?
Sen. McCAIN: Nice to see you again.
Dr. CHALABI: Nice to see you, too.
(Footage of McCain and Chalabi; exterior of Pentagon)  [CBS 60 Minutes, 4/6/03]

On allies:
McCain said France and Germany were “not our allies, they’re our adversaries.” “Well, it tells me that we have to get help wherever we can and there is no doubt that this is a bit of a come down for us. Yet I want to point out that the French and German reaction was absolutely predictable. And that is that they're being far less than cooperative. I'm sorry to say that they're not our allies, they're our adversaries. [Hardball, September 4, 2003]


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