Posted by Damozel | Did you know that George W. Bush is still president? It's true.
And John McCain, it appears, will be a worthy successor. McCain says that even though the US death toll stands at 4000, and we've been in Iraq for five years, he wouldn't change a thing. Or, as he put it, he "wouldn't change course." (NYT) That's because we're in Iraq to fight Islamic extremism, according to McCain. That could take a long time. In fact, it could take forever.
Perhaps we Dems need to spend less time obsessing about the Rev. Wright's race- and ethnic-group-baiting rhetoric and what it means about Obama---come on; who really believes that Barack Obama is a racist?---and more time worrying about what McCain's pastor's anti-Islam rhetoric means about McCain.(NYT)
McCain seems to have learned a thing or two from Bush. For example: that the way to create a success is to redefine 'failure':
"We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says. I've seen the facts on ; the ground," the Arizona senator insisted a day after a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed four U.S. soldiers and rockets pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone there, and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide.(NYT)
Yes, it's a whole new definition of 'success,' all right: a well-nigh Bush-like reframing of the entire concept. And this in the face of escalating doubts about the surge's continuing effectiveness.
As Shiite violence rises, U.S. troop deaths also appear to be rising in places such as Baghdad, where the American military is thinning out its presence as part of its drawdown of five brigades. Attacks against civilians in the capital are rising, according to statistics compiled by McClatchy. Next week, the U.S. will finish pulling out the second of five surge brigades. As part of the drawdown, the military has moved battalions out of Baghdad toward more violent areas such as the northern city of Mosul and Iraq's northeastern Diyala province.
As the troop presence has shifted, so has the violence. For the first time since January, a majority of U.S. troops were killed in Baghdad, not in outlying northern provinces. Indeed, the U.S. military reached the death of its 4,000th soldier in Iraq on Sunday, when four U.S. soldiers were killed in southern Baghdad.
So far, this month, 27 soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Of those, 16, or 59 percent, died in Baghdad. In January, 25 percent of U.S. deaths happened in Baghdad, or 10 of 40.
Civilian casualties in Baghdad are also on the rise, according to a McClatchy count. After a record low through November, when at least 76 people were killed and 306 were injured, the deaths began to rise. In December, it crept up to 88 people killed, in January 100 and in February 172. As of March 24, at least 149 people were killed and 448 were injured..(McClatchy)
Sounds like 'success' to me---after all, I've had seven years of Bush to readjust my standards. And in another, positively Rovian moment, McCain has demanded that Hillary---who actually has a pretty solid plan for getting the troops out of Iraq---apologize to General Petraeus for doubting him. Talk about politics as usual. Or rather 'politics as we've grown used to them.'
Which brings up an important point: Any Dem who doesn't think a McCain presidency would mirror many of the worst aspects of Bush's ought to stop for a minute and think about Iraq. That goes for every single Dem currently infuriated to the point of idiocy. You would really, honestly vote for McCain and endless war in Iraq?
[M]y Democrat opponents who want to pull out of Iraq refuse to understand what's being said and what's happening -- and that is the central battleground is Iraq in this struggle against radical Islamic extremism,'' [McCain said]. McCain also said Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were naive and ''dead wrong'' to want to withdraw troops....
McCain told reporters: "I don't think I would change the strategy now unless General Petraeus recommended it. I think he's trusted by the American people, the president and by me. And General Petraeus again showed me facts on the ground where the surge is succeeding."(NYT)
Oh well, if General Petraeus showed him 'facts on the ground where the surge is succeeding'---whatever that means---that's fine then. Let's keep the party going!
Mind you, I'm not saying that McCain would be as bad as Bush---that's just not possible---but while he seems to envision more reasonable tactics, his goals seem much the same.
In a major speech, Sen. John McCain distanced himself Wednesday from President Bush's foreign-policy tactics but embraced Bush's foreign-policy goals.
In a nod to foreign-policy realists, McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, called for the United States to practice "international good citizenship" and reconnect with allies weary of Bush's go-it-alone doctrine. But, embracing neo-conservative thinking, he reiterated his support for the Iraq war and made clear that he would, as president, remain committed to an activist foreign policy bent on promoting democracy and confronting Islamic extremists.
"I am an idealist," McCain said, adding later that he was "a realistic idealist." (McClatchy)
A 'realist-idealist'? He's even starting to sound like Bush. (Remember when Bush gave us 'Islamo-fascist'? I was sitting right there on the sofa the first time he said it. And I and my husband both turned to each other and said, "'Islamo-fascist'? The hell?"
And don't get me wrong: I really like John McCain; of course I do. And I admire him. But now that he's made a hard right turn, I most definitely don't want to see him become president.
So, though I'm as pro-Hillary as it is possible to be, I'd cut off my arm before I'd vote for John McCain.
And yet 22% of the supporters of both Democratic candidates are currently so 'polarized' and so obsessed with the senseless, increasingly distasteful "I'm-rubber-you're-glue" bickering of the two Democratic campaigns that they've forgotten all about who the real rival is. What's the matter with us?
Memeorandum has a depressing note on all the Dems who think they'll vote for the Republican if they don't get their way about who gets the nomination. I'm assuming that they're just talking for effect. Otherwise, we are in a hell of a mess.