First, I would like to send get well wishes to Senator Kennedy and his family. Speaking as a cancer survivor, I know he has a difficult road ahead and I wish him the best.
Secondly, and less importantly, as the Democratic presidential primaries slowly draw to a close we need to start focusing more of our attention on Senator McCain. Last week there was pretty much a watershed day in the clarity of the danger of allowing Senator John McCain to become President John S. McCain. From his bully pulpit as the presumptive Republican nominee Senator McCain predicted that the war would be over by 2013 (funny how that coincides with the end of his first term) and that our troops would be home. He and his talking aides conjured up the mother of all campaign promises with this promise to be out of Iraq. He of course, denied that he was talking about timetables (link):
"It's not a timetable; it's victory. It's victory, which I have always predicted. I didn't know when we were going to win World War II; I just knew we were going to win," McCain said.
In the primary campaign, McCain had criticized former Republican rival Mitt Romney for hinting at a timetable. (link) He repeatedly talked about how bad timetables are (link, link) and falsely claimed that most Americans were against timetables. (link)
Hey Senator, here are the real questions: Just what will this victory in Iraq look like? Since we seem to caught in a three way ethnic religious civil war of our making.... just how do we achieve victory? How do we arrive at a point where these vague generalities are true? (link)
By January 2013, ``Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension,'' the Arizona senator said. ``Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented.''
And, Senator McCain, since you refuse to fund a GI Bill that will start to properly compensate our troops and their families (more on that here), just where are the new fighting forces that are necessary to rebuild our broken armed forces going to come from, especially when all the soldiers who have been subjected to stop-loss finish their tours? (link) You and the rest of the NEOCON cabal believe that you can throw out words like "victory" and "World War II" and "patriotism" and that the rest of us will buy your spin. The only way to achieve the so called victory that you envision is to kill every Iraqi left standing because none of them want us occupying their country. Well not "none"... perhaps the corrupt government officials whose salaries we pay and the corrupt oil executives who saw 74 billion in profit in Iraq alone while our government is buying their gas at over $3.50 a gallon. We want America back and they want Iraq back. And you stand between both of our goals.
Senator McCain, how can you stand in front of the American people and yet again try redefine the concept of victory in a conflict that has already morphed at least four times from weapons of mass destruction to capturing Saddam, to building a democracy, to creating a functioning Nation in the model of the United States? Your words are cemented in the failures of your predecessors whose policies you seek to perpetuate. If there were no other issues on the table, no terrible failing economy, no attack on the values of the Constitution, no decimation of the Federal government, no assault on the middle class, no presumption of executive power - if there was nothing else to motivate a voter - your seriously flawed view of Iraq should be enough to convince each and every America that yet another two trillion dollars is out of the question for this war.
According to the Associate Press (link), the Vietnam veteran added: "I know from experience, you set a day for surrender - which is basically what you do when you say you are withdrawing - and you will pay a much a heavier price later on." I ask you, Senator McCain, who flew to Vietnam to proclaim the need to open Diplomatic relations with the Communist Government of Vietnam? And who voted for the Vietnam Free Trade Agreement? Just what heavier price are you referring to? On one hand you try to conjure up images of failure in Vietnam because we left Vietnam to the Vietnamese, and yet on the other hand you celebrate with the same government that tortured you by sending living wage jobs to Hanoi. What will it be Senator? If you know from experience that leaving Vietnam was wrong then why did you return there to open a jobs-give-away program with them?
How many sides of your mouth can you talk out of at the same time? Don’t you dare justify your mistakes in Iraq by the mistakes in Vietnam. If there was anything to learn from 50 thousand American Dead and hundreds of thousands wounded it's that we should have never committed to a war in South East Asia. Even the leadership in the White House and Pentagon at the time knew that there was no possibility of Victory. Before you commit to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of more Americans and goodness only knows how many Iraqis, I would ask that you sit a spell with former Secretary of Defense McNamara who has now confessed that he knew there was no "victory" in Vietnam – and that he knew it in 1968. To needlessly commit American combat power in a war of attrition and occupation is the ultimate act of arrogance and ignorance.
But then again, if you would stop being so self-determined and actually talk to the very people you would like to bomb, perhaps you would see what the rest of the world sees - the policy of attrition in Iraq can never be successful. We now have all the reasons in the world to ensure that we have a veto-proof majority in the House because if you are successful in "fooling some of the people some of the tijme" the only thing left to save America will be a veto-proof majority in the Congress.
Senator McCain, you can help me get there - just keep on talking your talk.
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