As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Except John McCain Is A Warmonger, Though

The latest crack reporting from the "X Calls Y a Z" school of journalism comes from an event over the weekend for the North Dakota Democratic Party, where radio talker Ed Schultz apparently termed John McCain a warmonger. Which has caused a controversy. Because now words that depict candidates' positions too exactly must be off-limits.

As Digby notes, McCain indeed has advocated, endorsed, and tried to precipitate war, which after all is the textbook definition of a warmonger. And this is not merely true in the case of Iraq and the corollary of Iran; in fact McCain has a long history of warmongering that has basically defined his political career.

In some respects, though, McCain has been a less-than-steadfast supporter of Bush. He, for example, spent most of 1999 and 2000 criticizing Bush for being unwilling to adopt a doctrine of rogue state rollback. Back in 2002 while Bush was unwilling to publicly argue for invading Iraq, McCain was doing it. And while Bush was full of talk about disarmament, McCain was clear from the start that he would settle only for regime change. McCain spent a lot of time criticizing Bush for not sending enough Americans over to Iraq to be killed, and has also been known to criticize Bush for insufficient saber-rattling directed at such countries as Iran, Syria, and Russia. So, really, it's not fair to say that McCain is just like Bush -- he's been a much more consistent proponent of the worst policies associated with the Bush administration.

And this continues right to to this very day. McCain is insisting in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that the troop escalation in Iraq has returned the country to "something approaching normal," and that "We are no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success." I'm assuming the rabbit ears on the TV set inside the Straight Talk Express are on the fritz, because this is a particularly gruesome time in Iraq, and in fact a report out today shows no material difference in the situation from a year ago. If a troop buildup which is winding to a close created no major gains, how can anyone conclude that maintaining a smaller force will do anything but the same muddle, at best? Not to mention that the concept of "success" in Iraq has become so devalued as to be totally meaningless, with its usage by warmongers like McCain constantly shifting and evolving. I mean, I agree with the U.S. Institute of Peace assessment but the conclusion is at complete odds with basic logic:

The United States is no closer to achieving its goals in Iraq than it was a year ago but a quick military withdrawal could lead to massive chaos and even genocide, according to a report released Sunday by a U.S. think tank.

The U.S. Institute of Peace report was written by experts who advised the Iraq Study Group, a panel mandated by Congress to offer recommendations on U.S. policy in Iraq in 2006 [...]

The report cited security improvements in Iraq since the buildup of U.S. forces in 2007, but credited factors outside U.S. control, such as help from mostly Sunni fighters who turned against al-Qaida and a truce by a Shiite militia.

“The U.S. is no closer to being able to leave Iraq than it was a year ago,” it concluded. “Lasting political development could take five to 10 years of full, unconditional U.S. commitment to Iraq.”

Of course, nobody is suggesting a quick military withdrawal; that's what's always been used to smear those who desire a change of course. And the looming threat of genocide and chaos is always offered by the same people who have been wrong about everything else in Iraq. In addition, the problem is that there is no effort being made toward "lasting political development," only a temporary lull in the chaos that already exists, enough for the President to exit stage left and dump the mess on his successor. There is a chance of true chaos upon exiting Iraq, but it's only being made WORSE by a continued military occupation that is exacerbating all kinds of sectarian tensions and standing in the way of reconciliation.

Ed Schultz is sticking to his guns on this one, and good for him. He's not committing any sins by using precise language. Continuing to cheerlead for this debacle in Iraq, of all things, is the very definition of a warmonger.

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