The editors of The Arizona Republic editorialized on Memorial Day, Shelve the politics on Memorial Day. Apparently Arizona’s angry old man, Sen. John “Surge” McCain, didn’t read the editorial page.
Sen. “Surge” McCain used a solemn Memorial Day event to once again become unhinged and to attack President Obama for “losing” his war in Iraq. (Yes, his war. More on this below.)
In a sometimes testy exchange with reporters following Memorial Day ceremonies at the National Cemetery, McCain calls for return to Iraq:
Sen. John McCain said it’s President Obama’s fault that ISIS has taken control of Iraqi cities where American troops being mourned on Memorial Day had previously died defending.
And yet the president, in one of the worst decisions of history, pulled all of the troops out,” McCain said.
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McCain brushed aside questions of whether it is possible to win a war in Iraq with a government there that has sometimes proven dysfunctional. [See Defense Secretary Carter: Iraqis lack ‘will to fight’ to defeat Islamic State.]
I think you may have some trouble understanding me,” the senator said.
“I’ll repeat to you one more time: In 2011 Iraq was stable,” he continued. “It was over. Al Qaeda was defeated.”
And absent that decision to pull out U.S. troops, he insisted, the war would have stayed won and the sacrifices would not have been in vain.
On this Memorial Day, there are families here that lost their family members in Ramadi and Fallujah where the black flag of ISIS flies today,” he said. “That’s a shameful chapter in American history.”
The correct course, said McCain, would have been to leave troops behind.
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The senator also sniffed at a question about whether the United States should be willing to send soldiers back into Iraq after that nation’s own troops fled Ramadi earlier this month, leaving their weapons behind.
I guess some people are hard of hearing here today,” he said.
I will tell you one more time because I haven’t got the time to keep repeating the same thing over and over again,” McCain continued. “We had the conflict won.”
He even said the hasty Iraqi withdrawal can be linked directly to Obama’s decision to pull out U.S. troops.
Once we removed everybody from Iraq, the (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki hollowed out the Army and destroyed the fighting capability of the Army,” McCain said.
It didn’t have to happen because I’ll repeat to you one more time: We had it won, thanks to the surge,” the senator continued. “And because the president pulled out all the troops, that’s why we’re in the position we’re in today.”
And what of American will to send troops back into harm’s way?
They do not have the appetite to send many, like the 82nd Airborne (Division),” McCain conceded. But he said a recent poll found 73 percent willing to send U.S. soldiers to Iraq in support roles including intelligence and forward air control to help target where missiles should be launched.
Dear media villagers: I know that you are John McCain’s political base, and for some inexplicable reason you hang on his every word as if he has anything relevant to say, but this kind of lazy stenographic reporting is simply unacceptable. There is so much wrong with what Sen. “Surge” McCain said that you have a moral obligation to unpack it and to fact check what he says. McCain’s revisionist history cannot be allowed to stand.
Let’s begin with the simple truth that the strategic blunder in Iraq was not pulling American troops out; it was the fact that the U.S. ever invaded Iraq in the first place for an unnecessary and illegal war. That strategic blunder opened a Pandora’s box that Neocon war mongers like Sen. “Surge” McCain never even considered.
I posted years ago that John McCain was one of the patrons of Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress in Washington, DC. The Cover-ups of John McCain – WMD Intelligence Failures:
John McCain was a patron of Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress (and a fugitive from justice in Europe) whom Neoconservatives like McCain supported and thereby lent his credibility. Chalabi and his protege “Curveball” provided U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense with falsified information that the Neoconservatives relied upon to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Part 1 of the investigative report by Mark G. Levey explores “McCain’s Role in the WMD Cover-up, John McCain and Charlie Black’s War, How a senator and a lobbyist led the deception campaign that tricked the U.S.” Read the full report here Election Fraud News & The Money party. Snippets from the report:
“Who’s responsible for the “intelligence failure” that plunged the U.S. into the Iraq War? As much as anyone else, that distinction is shared by two Americans who discovered and nurtured Ahmad Chalabi and “Curveball,” and pushed their fortunes in Washington.
“One of those men is currently the presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States [John McCain], and the other is his chief political fixer.
This is the story about how they did it, and then shifted the spotlight of intelligence failure, political scandal, and criminal conspiracy off themselves.
You should read the entire investigative report by Mark G. Levey.
I posted years ago about John McCain’s Legacy: The Iraq War:
John McCain’s judgment on Iraq was almost always wrong. John McCain’s Greatest Hits: Wrong on Iraq:
Jon Perr has compiled a “greatest hits” if you will of John McCain’s wrong judgment about Iraq. PERRspectives: President McCain Speaks on Iraq:
But as the record shows, it is John McCain and not Barack Obama who needs to say “I was wrong. I made a mistake.” At almost every turn in the run-up to the invasion and the ensuing American occupation, McCain’s judgment was almost always wrong, often disastrously so. From his predictions of a short war, claims U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators and that the U.S. would find weapons of mass destruction to his announcements of mission accomplished, his ongoing confusion over Sunni and Shiite, friend and foe in Iraq and so much more, the would-be President John McCain gets failing marks.
Be sure to read the rather lengthy list of well documented quotations.
And who could ever forget when John McCain became the new “Baghdad Bob” with this stroll through Baghdad’s central market in April 2007.
“’Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today,” Mr. McCain puffed after his brief walking tour of the Shorja market. He remarked that he had left his helmet in his escort Humvee and felt utterly safe in the marketplace. Wearing a flak jacket, he neglected to mention that the pedestrian mall was patrolled by 100 heavily armed American soldiers and watched over by two attack helicopters and snipers. McCain Admits Baghdad’s Daily Reality – NYTimes.com. Baghdad residents expressed astonishment at Mr. McCain’s remarks.
For all of McCain’s self-congratulatory excess about his “surge” strategy, Stephen Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard, writes The “Surge” in Iraq Failed: Get Used to It. | Stephen M. Walt:
The surge had two main goals. The first goal was to bring the level of violence down by increasing U.S. force levels in key areas, forging a tactical alliance with cooperative Sunni groups, and shifting to a counterinsurgency strategy that emphasized population protection. This aspect of the surge succeeded, though it is still hard to know how much of the progress was due to increased force levels and improved tactics and how much was due to other developments, such as the prior “ethnic cleansing” that had separated the contending groups.
The second and equally important goal was to promote political reconciliation among the competing factions in Iraq. This goal was not achieved, and the consequences of that failure are increasingly apparent. What lies ahead is a long-delayed test of strength between the various contending groups, until a new formula for allocating political power emerges. That formula has been missing since before the United States invaded — that is, Washington never had a plausible plan for reconstructing a workable Iraqi state once it dismantled Saddam’s regime — and it will be up to the Iraqi people to work it out amongst themselves. It won’t be pretty.
In fact, McCain’s “surge” strategy depended on two elements the American people were no longer willing to continue: a permanent U.S. occupation force in Iraq, and the payment of billions of dollars to Sunni tribal warlords to buy peace and to not attack the corrupt Shiite led government of Nouri al-Maliki. Top 10 Mistakes of former Iraq PM Nouri al-Maliki (That ruined his country). This is what Sen. “Surge” McCain defines as “success” and “winning.” If he had his way, there would be a permanent U.S. occupation of Iraq, and American taxpayers would still be subsidizing Sunni tribal warlords with billions of dollars.
It was President George W. Bush who negotiated the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister Maliki Sign the Strategic Framework Agreement and Security Agreement:
PRESIDENT BUSH: We’re also signing a Security Agreement, sometimes called a Status of Forces Agreement. The agreement provides American troops and Defense Department officials with authorizations and protections to continue supporting Iraq’s democracy once the U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year. This agreement respects the sovereignty and the authority of Iraq’s democracy. The agreement lays out a framework for the withdrawal of American forces in Iraq — a withdrawal that is possible because of the success of the surge.
The Obama administration wanted to keep a residual force in Iraq of up to 10,000 military advisers and special operations forces to monitor counterterrorism efforts. This would have required the approval from Iraq’s sovereign government to change the 2008 SOFA agreement (Sen. “Surge” McCain does not care about the sovereignty of Iraq). The negotiation failed over a demand that American troops be given immunity from prosecution by Iraqis, a very touchy political issue within the Iraqi Parliament. Obama wanted to keep 10,000 troops in Iraq (PolitiFact):
Some experts said Iraqi leaders may not have been willing to take great political risk with their citizens in exchange for a relatively small American force.
But no immunity meant no sizable residual troop presence.
“When the Americans asked for immunity, the Iraqi side answered that it was not possible,” al-Maliki said in an October 2011 news conference. “The discussions over the number of trainers and the place of training stopped. Now that the issue of immunity was decided and that no immunity to be given, the withdrawal has started.”
Three years later, as the Islamic State advanced in the country and shocked the world, a CNN reporter asked Obama if he regretted the decision not to leave a residual force in Iraq. Obama said, “Keep in mind, that wasn’t a decision made by me. That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.”
For Neocon war mongers like Sen. “Surge” McCain, he would have simply left an American residual force in Iraq without the agreement of the sovereign state of Iraq, and without the approval of Congress for that matter. For him, it is all about the permanent U.S. military occupation of Iraq.
The claim that “Al Qaida was defeated” in Iraq is complete and utter nonsense. First of all, there was no Al Qaida in Iraq until the strategic blunder of McCain’s unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq. This strategic blunder created an opportunity to be exploited, and opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq of sectarian and tribal warfare.
Secondly, Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) was not “wiped out” in Iraq as Sen. “Surge” McCain suggests, it transformed into what is now known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and more recently the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Syrian Civil War began in the spring of 2011, providing a safe haven for ISIL to expand its base of operations. They were biding their time, waiting for the American withdrawal brought about by Al Maliki’s Shiite led Iraq government.
Despite the fact that President Obama ordered military operations against ISIL in Iraq and Syria in August 2014, the Tea-Publican led Congress has steadfastly refused to consider an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. The current military operations against ISIL are without any congressional approval — something for which Sen. “Surge” McCain does not seem to have any problem.
Look to McCain’s comments: he wants to send thousands of American combat troops back to Iraq, and to Syria, something the Congress has not approved. And he is unhinged that President Obama will not just simply commit American combat troops on his own without congressional authorization, a U.N. mandate, or the agreement of the sovereign state of Iraq.
Yes, Iraq is a shameful chapter in American history. If American troops “died in vain,” as McCain suggests and dishonors their service, they did so only because of his unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq. Their blood is forever stained on his hands.
How many more Americans must die for Sen. John McCain’s war in Iraq?
For Neocon war mongers like Sen. John “Surge” McCain, the only thing that matters is the use of U.S. military force and occupation of any country that has managed to piss him off today. This is an unhinged and dangerous man who has no business serving in the U.S. Senate. Arizonans should be ashamed that we send this man to Congress.
Arizonans have an obligation to our fellow American citizens to remove this dangerously unhinged man from political office.
“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” – Oliver Cromwell Address to the Rump Parliament (20 April 1653)