Back on the War Wagon
After a period of respite, when the violence across Iraq couldn't be ignored, our liberal media is at it again:
*JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You (McCain) were speaking yesterday on the one-year anniversary of the president calling for the troop surge about how, A, you think it was the right policy, and, B, you think, frankly, you a little deserve credit, because you stood up and pushed for it when it was unpopular.
It was interesting yesterday. I kept looking at my BlackBerry e-mails all day long. I didn't hear the Democratic candidates talking much about that date. What does that tell you about the evolution of the politics of Iraq, if you will?
Greenwald: No matter what else is true, our sprawling imperialism -- as has been true for every Empire in history -- is simply unsustainable. The very idea of staying in Iraq for the next several decades with tens of thousands of American troops, while we lavishly fund the grotesquely corrupt and un-American Private Republican Army of Blackwater, is both infeasible and self-destructive.
A country that is defined by endless war and world military hegemony is inevitably, unavoidably, the Nation of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and Torture and Renditions and Limitless Presidential Power and Secret Black Sites and Blackwater. You can't have one without the other. But the Michael Gordons and Michael O'Hanlons care about none of that, if they even think about it at all.
Gordon's viewpoint -- that staying is not only right but the only Serious Option -- is, more or less, conventional Beltway wisdom. Yet missing entirely from this analysis is the fact that the vast bulk of Americans -- even in the face of endless claims of Surge Progress -- are more against this war than ever before (.pdf), and -- regardless of claims of Progress -- do not want to continue to support it.
One might think that in an article attacking presidential candidates for advocating withdrawal as they run to represent the public, that fact might be important, but -- especially when it comes to war and occupation -- nothing is less important to our Seriousness Guardians than what the lowly, ignorant American people want. Far more important is what Mike O'Hanlon and Gordon's anonymous military sources think we should do.
Fortunately, Andrew Bacevich says what the surge has really been successful for:
In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. As AEI military analyst Thomas Donnelly has acknowledged with admirable candor, "part of the purpose of the surge was to redefine the Washington narrative," thereby deflecting calls for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. Hawks who had pooh-poohed the risks of invasion now portrayed the risks of withdrawal as too awful to contemplate.