As is anyone who honestly believes that Iraq is anything like Germany, Japan or Korea. There is a huge difference in the times and the scenarios. For one Hitler was real, as was the bombing of Pearl harbor. There were no lies about either one. As far as I know, no one lied us into Korea and then bombed the hell out of their capitol city as a form of liberation, calling it, very publicly "shock and awe."
Iraq is a country, already bombed to hell and back by Bush I and then put under some of the cruelest sanctions imaginable by the U.N., as backed by the U.S.
Those wanting to overthrow Saddam were betrayed by Bush I, as was Saddam, quite frankly, and the entire Arab world knows it. The Iraqis do not trust anyone named Bush and who could possibly blame them?
So, how is Iraq anything like the pacification of Europe and Japan or the Korean war?
Yesterday we witnessed John McCain beating himself, again, and his performance fit the widely predicted template of the next five months.
The man just cannot keep his mouth shut at critical moments, nor phrase his policies as already commonly understood in politically delicate, which is to say, diplomatic, terms.
Yesterday, as I'm sure you know by now, there came yet another such moment. He was asked in so many words on NBC's "Today" show if by now he had a better inkling as to when, as commander in chief, he might call home our troops in Iraq.
"No, but that’s not too important," replied Mr. McCain, seemingly oblivious to his rather insensitive wording.
Was what he said actual news, in the sense, that is, of being new? No, not really; it was just the way he said it. What he said was, in fact, old stuff, but McCain somehow always finds a way to reword detestable policies in freshly detestable ways -- and thereby keeps them dangling as raw meat.
And that, if nothing else, is what will beat John McCain.
It wasn't enough for him that this is almost an underailable Democratic year, or that he's attempting to succeed his own party's "worst president ever," or that he's confessed he knows little about the Number One issue of the campaign -- the economy -- and proves it every day, or that literally only eight percent of George Bush's major donors are tossing him some cash.
No, those weren't enough of a challenge for the flyboy-macho maverick. So, with goggles fixed and scarf flying, he has added his unruly mouth.
There was, actually, at least the opportunity for news yesterday morning, the pursuit of which journalists, for unknown reasons, persist in postponing.
For I've never heard Mr. McCain pressed in person on the matter of his circular logic.
He says, on the one hand, that we should stay in Iraq for upwards of 100 years, perhaps even longer, but only if American troop casualties are remarkably low or non-existent. This, of course, implies a peaceful Iraq.
On the other hand, he argues that we should never leave -- never surrender, as he puts it -- as long as Iraq is unpeaceful, which could very well translate into the same occupational duration that, ostensibly, only his first stipulation allowed.
In short, he says, we can stay in Iraq on good terms, which can only be achieved through bad terms, whose terms naturally force abiding troop casualties, which is obviously the reason we cannot stay, but which is just as obviously the reason we must -- indefinitely.
Maybe I'm just stupid. Maybe John McCain comprehends some inner and consistent and profound logic in what seems to me simple gibberish -- as contradictory as it is circular. Maybe he's really on to something. But I'll be damned if I can decipher it.
Yet if that's the case, I would also think there is, somewhere out there, a journalist just as dimwitted as I, and one who might feel compelled to actually ask Mr. McCain to clear up his or her confusion.
But no dice. Not yet, anyway. Every time he's asked about when the troops might come home, he offers the same, blissful analogy of Western Europe and South Korea, and the inquisitor accepts it. Next topic.
On occasion, such as yesterday's, he offers it in breathtakingly insensitive ways. I happen to find his logic far more disturbing than the ways in which he expresses it. Nevertheless it's his gaffe-prone mouth -- whether exercised in network interviews or town hall meetings or formal debates -- that will sink Senator John McCain.
Poor man, he just can't help himself.
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.