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March 19, 2009

McCain vs. Petraeus
Posted by Max Bergmann

Gen-david-petraeus-mccain One of the real benefits of last year's election was that it dispelled the myth that McCain was a reasonable foreign policy centrist and exposed the fact that he was actually a reckless neocon. For instance, on North Korea, it was discovered that McCain was actually more extreme than Bush and opposed the administration's efforts - led by Chris Hill - to negotiate.

Now Hill has been appointed to replace Ryan Crocker - who departed last month - as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Yet Hill's appointment has been held up by McCain, Lindsay "mini mac" Graham, and Brownback, because... well...Hill didn't want to bomb North Korea - which in McCain's neocon world makes his North Korea legacy "controversial."

It was always clear that McCain knew how to hold a grudge. But what makes this all the more interesting is that by blocking Hill, McCain is pissing off Petraeus - a man who McCain could not stop praising last year. Laura Rozen at the Cable writes:

Sources tell The Cable that Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus, top Iraq commander Gen. Raymond Odierno, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are frustrated by the delay in getting a U.S. ambassador confirmed and into place in Iraq, and support Hill's confirmation proceeding swiftly...Since the previous ambassador, Ryan Crocker, left the job Feb. 13, Odierno has complained of doing double duty: serving as the commanding general and the de facto ambassador.

The power vacuum in Baghdad comes at a critical juncture in Iraq's transition, sources noted. The U.S. mission is becoming increasingly focused on political stabilization and economic development over military missions; Arab-Kurd tensions are rising in the north; struggles for dominance within and across sectarian groups are heating up in the aftermath of January's provincial elections; the Baghdad government is facing tough budget choices due to declining oil prices; and national elections that will determine whether Iraq can consolidate its democracy are due by year's end.

..."This is all about retribution," said one Senate Democratic foreign-policy staffer. Conservatives blame Hill for nudging Bush's second term North Korea policy towards multi-party talks. "They want to give Hill a black eye."

Something has to give here... what will it be: McCain's love for Petraeus or his neocon vindictiveness?

Update: Laura Rozen emails an update to her piece... And it's quite an update. Geoff Morrell the chief military spokesman confirms Rozen's story and adds a swipe at McCain, Graham, and Brownback:

“With regards to members who have issue with him [Hill], I would say this," Morrell added. “We appreciate their steadfast support of the Iraq mission. But you can’t be bullish in support of that mission and not send an ambassador in a timely fashion.”


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It appears that McCain has misjudged what eaxactly happaned in Iraq and Petraeus's strategy in the Middle East. McCain thought that we have completely triumphed Iraq when in reality it is nothing more than a truce between different political sects. Petraeus realizes that America needs Iranian help in not only enforcing the truce in Iraq in order to bring about some sort of reconciliation amongst the various political groups in Iraq but also their help with the situation in Afghanistan. To acheive these strategic goals Petraeus needs the help of an experienced diplmomat like Chris Hill in dealing with the Iranians. McCain, who seems blind to Petraeus's strategy, opposes Chris Hill for narrow ideological reasons.

Is 'mini mac' like being George Bush's sidekick?

Is 'mini mac' like being George Bush's sidekick

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MCcain keeps injecting himself in President Obama's decisions.An awful lot of people are disagreeing with McCain these days and many of them are from his side of the street.

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