(CNN) — The New York Times has rejected an essay that Sen. John McCain wrote defending his Iraq war policy.
The piece was in response to an op-ed from Sen. Barack Obama that was published in the paper last week.
In an e-mail to the McCain campaign, Opinion Page Editor David Shipley said he could not accept the piece as written, but would be “pleased, though, to look at another draft.”
“Let me suggest an approach,” he wrote Friday. “The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans. It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece.” Read McCain’s rejected piece
As mentioned, you can read the essay at the link above. I can understand the NYTimes position, as I read and commented on Obama’s position in a post here. At the time it was published, it was new news.
So the NYTimes asks for another version, but the thing is still on the Net as is, and will get passed plenty.
And that’s that.
And this here, below, is some of McCain’s op-ed and reactions from yours truly. Also known as “Reason the Next I can’t Vote for McCain” (reason the previous here).
Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”
Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.
I don’t think, if cornered on it, Obama would say that no political progress has resulted. What we are hoping for is accelerating political progress. This is to be done through more political pressure. Having the U.S. in Iraq puts pressure on the U.S. political process and removes it from Iraqi politicians. The less of us there are there, the more the Iraqis have to take over.
This is called political pressure and it’s meant to accelerate progress.
After the previous “surge” barb, McCain’s argument starts to lose coherency.
Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City?actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.
The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale.
Umm. Wait a second. First off, why does it matter that there is ANOTHER reason to end the war? Given all the recent successes, and general feeling of progress, why isn’t NOW a good time to really put the pressure on the Iraqi government? After all, and this is very important, they want us to leave. (see previous obama analysis for quotes, or read this story.)
Going back to McCain, we see him directly contradicting reality.
McCain: To make this point, he (Obama) mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.
And the reality.
‘Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.
SPIEGEL: Is this an endorsement for the US presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?
Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans’ business. But it’s the business of Iraqis to say what they want. ‘
Now, McCain finishes his bashing Obama’s timetable, which the Iraqis endorse, by giving his own arbitrary egotistical date, which would artificially prolonge the tenure of US troops.
As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.
But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.
So the place where we are at now, IMHO, is a place where staying can destroy much of the progress we have made. If we give a window of hope and a goal, NOW, we might be able to pull this thing off before it gets totally catastrophic.
And by totally catastrophic I mean a number of things, including retardedly huge explosions here in the U.S. both real and economic. It’s time to end this war. Or at least set an end date.
Which bring us to my final complaint about McCain’s rejected Op-Ed and why he’s probably better off if it is less read…
But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.
…his concept of “winning” is crazy. We went in to get the WMDs and remove an evil man. The WMDs were long gone (thanks Bill!) and the evil man was a shell, a spider living in a hole. The country he had hollowed out was on the verge of collapse and we finished it off.
The goal, now, is to make Iraq stable, secure, self-sustaining and quasi-democratic.
We’ve given them their country back. Slightly blown to shit and with a million or so less citizens (because they are dead). Now it’s time to take the guns out and slowly back away. This is as close as it gets to “winning” when you President and his advisors MAKE UP A BUNCH OF SHIT AND LIE TO YOU TO GET YOU TO SUPPORT AN IDIOTIC WAR.
Staying in Iraq, waiting for a full-western democracy that is a close ally to sprout from the desert is fanciful at best and insane at most likely. Hoping to make Iraq an ally in the war on Iran (or Saudi) is retarded. When our first closest ally in the Middle East in Israel, it’s a hard question to ask Iraq to be #2. At least if it’s up to them.
We are not losing when we are returning something that belongs to another. It’s the right thing to do and now is the right time to do it.
Update: There was another Iraq / McCain article I wanted to mention here.
A simple edit makes McCain look a bit off…
On Afghanistan, McCain said, “I’ve always said it’s long and tough and hard.”
As to Iraq, “We’ve succeeded. We’re not succeeding, we’ve succeeded,” McCain said later at a fundraiser.
“When you win wars, troops come home,” McCain said. “He’s been completely wrong on the issue. … I have been steadfast in my position.”
All I did was move the first sentence to last. If we’ve won and succeeded…isn’t it time to come home?