Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bush: Isolated. McCain's His Only Pal

There's a point I wish to drive home about Bush and Iraq. President Bush, by ignoring the will of the People and tossing aside the wisdom of top commanders, diplomats, sages, and concerned countrymen, is bringing about a stark political isolation for himself. I guarantee you, it's an isolation for which he will long be remembered. How his isolation will be remembered is not clear right now. Except for a few staunch neoconservative cheerleaders, Bush's act of stubbornly clinging to what everyone else sees as a failed foreign policy is bound to make him the worst President in American history if his decisions bring about more blood, waste, failure, and death. Oh, to be able to time travel and read a good historical account of the effects of Bush foreign policy in the first decade of the 21st Century...

Last week I said:
Bush is in denial about the last election. He said he "couldn't believe people want us to get out of Iraq now." Man, is he out of touch if he believes what he's saying. He says he thinks the message from voters in the 2006 election was that they want "bipartisanship" in Congress. He refuses to see that the majority of his own people want our troops out of Iraq and we want to see the process started right now. Bush said, "We gotta help the Iraqis deal with it." No, we don't "gotta," President Bush. Not the way you're going about it, anyhow. We want our troops back home and we want the process started immediately.
Today, NYT writer Jim Rutenberg says,
"Mr. Bush has shrugged off suggestions by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that he enlist the help of Iran and Syria in the effort to stabilize Iraq. Countering suggestions that he begin thinking of bringing troops home, he has engaged in deliberations over whether to send more. And he has adjusted the voters’ message away from Iraq, saying on Wednesday, 'I thought the election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation.'"
It seems fairly clear to me that President Bush has been taking a lot of time to think seriously - - about the many ways to further ignore the strong will of the American people and many advisors and do what he's wanted to do all along. He's scheming up ways to make the "way forward" look different than the old "stay the course" while staying the course.

John McCain's not coming through as the American hero he's been pumped up to be. Most Americans I know are confused while watching Senator McCain suck up to "Bush-in-isolation." Mr. McCain is betting the farm on embracing this war while most of the Democratic hopefuls for 2008 are separating themselves from the failure in Iraq that we all can see. I can't see this working out well for McCain, especially if our troops start doing fourth, fifth, sixth tours of duty and rules are changed and tailored for military reservists who didn't sign up for the all-expense-paid trips to Iraq they'll be getting.

The following quote from Mr. Rutenberg's NYT piece should be seen as indicative, in my opinion, of John McCain's unraveling as a hopeful 2008 contender.
If the president does call for such an increase [in troops], he will have a potentially powerful Republican ally in Senator John McCain of Arizona, a leading contender for the 2008 presidential nomination.
Senator McCain has clearly decided to support this war, do or die. His son is likely going to be serving there. He's banking everything, even his own flesh and blood on the Iraq War. In the past, some Americans may have seen that as a mark of patriotic character. In the light of harsh reality today in Iraq, they see it more as irresponsibility, irrational thought - - perhaps even insanity.

How many of you readers would invest in such a risky and immorally-begun venture? Don't we all love our own children enough to want the best future for them and the world? How has the Iraq War taken us toward that goal? Why is John McCain refusing to isolate the insanity that has created conditions for assured failure in our foreign policy strategy? These are questions we need to ask ourselves when deciding who will lead our nation in the future. When we took our focus off of and our resources away from helping President Hamid Karzai to succeed with his fragile new government in Afghanistan, we made the worst foreign policy mistake ever.

Increased anger over Iraq has recruited a new wave of anti-Western extremism. It has caused President Musharraf of Pakistan to lose control of the western region of his country where a hornet's nest of extremism and hatred is burgeoning.
Contrary to the claims of the Bush administration, whose attention after the September 11 attacks quickly wandered off to Iraq and grand visions of transforming the Middle East, the main center of terrorism "of global reach" is in Pakistan. Al Qaeda has succeeded in reestablishing its base by skillfully exploiting the weakness of the state in the Pashtun tribal belt, along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier. In the words of one Western military commander in Afghanistan, "Until we transform the tribal belt, the U.S. is at risk." [..]

[..] U.S. policymakers have misjudged Afghanistan, misjudged Pakistan, and, most of all, misjudged their own capacity to carry out major strategic change on the cheap. The Bush administration has sown disorder and strengthened Iran while claiming to create a "new Middle East," but it has failed to transform the region where the global terrorist threat began -- and where the global terrorist threat persists. If the United States wants to succeed in the war on terrorism, it must focus its resources and its attention on securing and stabilizing Afghanistan.

- Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies and a Senior Fellow at New York University's Center on International Cooperation and the author of The Fragmentation of Afghanistan.


TomCat said...

Good article, Jude. I supported Bush's decision to go into Afghanistan. It's a shame that he chose not to fight there in favor of grabbing Iraq's oil. How he blew it in Iraq is now self-evident. He blew it in Afghanistan, after defeating the Taliban, by cutting back the US effort and investing what there was into trying to secure a route for a pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Karachi, rather that going after Al Queda.

As for McCain, I lost my respect for him when he caved in to Bush on torture.