Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Once Again I Say McCain is Unfit and Unstable

On April 1, mortar attacks, suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, ambushes and gun battles killed at least two dozen people including four American soldiers in Baghdad. As it happened, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was also in Baghdad. He was leading a Republican Congressional delegation. They went to a downtown market where McCain said they strolled about, haggled and drank tea. McCain said the new American security plan was making progress and we should be cautiously optimistic. However, the New York Times reported, “The delegation traveled in a convoy of armored military vehicles and was accompanied by a large contingent of heavily armed soldiers. The politicians wore body armor while they shopped.” McCain had to be pressed by reporters to finally admit, “We had protection today.” The NYT also reported that two unexploded suicide vests were found in the protected and fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. Earlier in the week, McCain had said “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee.” Retired General Barry McCaffrey contradicted McCain and said, “No Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO [nongovernmental organization], nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi, without heavily armed protection." And CNN journalist Michael Ware who has been stationed in Iraq for four years said, “Honestly… you’ll barely last twenty minutes out there. I don’t know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.” Ware also said that McCain’s suggestion was “beyond ludicrous” and that he “would love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is.” This morning, the NYT has yet another article from Baghdad about McCain’s staged and bogus visit. Kirk Semple writes, “The merchants there (in Baghdad’s central market) were incredulous about McCain’s conclusions.” Semple’s article (“McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say”) goes on to say, “The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit. “’They paralyzed the market when they came,’ Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said during an interview in his shop on Monday. ‘This was only for the media.’” It’s hard to imagine what McCain thought he was doing. Did he not know he was being photographed wearing a bulletproof vest? Did he not realize journalists, generals and shop owners would be interviewed who would tell the real story? Does he, like George W. Bush, think he is the Great Oz and therefore his word will be believed in spite of proof positive that he’s lying? Semple wrote, “At a news conference shortly after their outing, Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, and his three Congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis — ‘like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,’ offered Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican who was a member of the delegation.’” Are they all out of their minds? What city in Indiana has mortar attacks, suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, ambushes and gun battles killing two dozen people? That was the real life drama going on in Baghdad while the McCain delegation had commandeered an army with helicopters to protect them. Did they think their “Wag the Dog” version would be believed rather than the real story? Semple said several merchants in the Baghdad market said McCain’s visit might make the market an even more inviting target for the insurgents. There is a cogent and reasonable argument to be made that cutting off funds for US troops would be disastrous for Iraq. Michael Ware has made that argument. On Saturday on CNN Ware said, “It would be an American nightmare. If Congress decided to cut off the flow of finances, if America decides to stop paying for this war and the fight grinds to a halt, then the people who would benefit will be the enemies that identified -- al Qaeda and Iran particularly. “Because there's no one else to pick up the mantle of the fight and carry it forward. Within Iraq, there would be unimaginable bloodshed. And, as the former chief of Central Command, General Abizaid, forewarned, there would also certainly be regional warfare within the broader Middle East that, without a shadow of a doubt would not only produce more terrorists, but would ultimately, eventually, blow back on the United States of America.” Even I, who want our troops out of Iraq yesterday, can see Michael Ware’s point. But for John McCain to enter Iraq heavily fortified, armed and protected and to argue that everything is peachy in Baghdad and that he can walk about free as a bird and that the US already has made it possible for Iraqis to live a normal life is a ridiculous, deceptive and transparent lie. But the real point is that only someone who has lost touch with reality would pull a stunt like McCain pulled and expect that he would not be exposed as a GOP tool and con man. A spokeswoman for McCain said he left Iraq on Monday and was unavailable for comment because he was traveling. Is it possible John McCain is shunning the limelight because he feels like an old, over-the-hill fool? Probably not.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

I'd say it shows simply that he is placing bets, hoping to hit it big so he can repay his debts and move on. Instead, of course, he's going deeper into debt--but it's not as painful as being in actual gambling debt.

McCain a long while ago decided he would outviolence Bush on Iraq, then claim Bush's lack of violence as cause for the Iraqi failure--only to discover that Bush could not be outviolenced.

(I see McCain as an angry, lying, ethically challenged man who also happened to be tortured in Vietnam. The torture itself probably made him a dangerous brute about as much as the death camp did to Dr. Ruth.)