Democracy Arsenal

« NSN Daily Update – 7/10/08 | Main | John McCain's Economic Doozy of the Day - Chapter 2 »

July 10, 2008

See No, Hear No, Speak No Reality
Posted by Adam Blickstein

So John McCain held a very lengthy interview with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh-Times Review yesterday. There are lot of interesting nuggets in there, especially the astute observation that "the Taliban and others do not respect borders," but the McCain campaign and Michael Goldfard highlight one very pertinent section on their website:

Trib: Senator, with Iraqi leaders now calling for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals ...

McCain: Actually the Iraqis are not, the Iraqis widely reported as short a time ago as a couple of weeks ago that there would be no status of forces agreement, and Maliki would say that, and it got headlines, and of course it turned out not to be true. I met recently with the vice -- with the foreign minister and the President, both of them share my views completely. Americans will withdraw, it will be dictated by events on the ground, by the success that we've made and that success has been significant but it's still fragile. The -- excuse me, Al Qaida and other Shiite militias, other former Bathists, those elements have been knocked back on their heels, they are not defeated....And they still agree that if you set an artificial date for withdrawal, the way that Sen. Obama wanted to do, then we will have a resurgence of the fighting and the various factions within Iraq, Iranian influence will increase and we still risk a wider war...So as I say, I just met with the President of Iraq and with the Foreign Minister and both of them, and I know that Petreaus and Crocker are saying the same things, and Maliki will too.

There is so much wrong, both factually and rhetorically, in this response. McCain is simultaneously discounting report after report explicating what Maliki and the Iraqi leadership might seek in any discussions with the U.S. over the status of our forces while assuring us that he has personally spoken with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari (as has Obama) and knows through private meetings that they might not be on the same page as the rest of the Iraqi leadership. But he also seems sure that Maliki will eventually backtrack on his rhetoric and accept more conditional and vague language that would allow the continuance of American presence dictated by some sort of "time-horizon" rather than "time-line" (which is certainly possible). Nevertheless, McCain is still being unclear as to what his exact position on this is, besides repeating the tired "depends on situation on the ground" line. Whatever the rationale for this dislocated approach is, his statements betray a dangerous uncertainty on the most important policy moment in both the relationship between Iraq's government and its people and between America and Iraq.

And they still don't answer whether the McCain of 2008 agrees with the McCain of 2004.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference See No, Hear No, Speak No Reality:


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.

Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use