Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thompson For McCain

The sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and Fred Thompson has endorsed John McCain over former Representative J.D. Hayworth for the Arizona Senate seat currently held by the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee. Thompson always has been reputed to be close to McCain, perhaps reflected in the failure of the former U.S. Senator (Tennessee), actor (Law and Order), and radio commentator (Paul Harvey News and Comment, The Fred Thompson Show) to make more than a token pursuit of the presidential nomination himself two years ago.

Thompson always has been a conservative, whether in the economic, cultural, or foreign policy realms, but also an establishment figure in the Republican Party. It is hardly surprising for him to have endorsed the incumbent, nor for him to emphasize the object of McCain's passion, foreign policy (or as the right-leaning mainstream media would have it, "national security," implying that the more liberal or dovish couldn't possibly support the security of the nation). But the former Tennessean did make an interesting leap of faith when he announced

I’m for John McCain. I hope he gets re-elected. I’ll help him get re-elected if I can. It’s more important for me, and I believe for the country, to have McCain’s leadership and the respect that he brings to bear on an issue. When he takes the floor on a national security matter. When he takes the floor and leads the intellectual effort the for the surge. When, without his efforts, I don’t think we would have ever had a surge and therefore we would never have had a victory in Iraq....

The (pro-Iranian) government is more stable than previously and casualties are down. But "victory" in Iraq? Leila Fadel reports in Wednesday's Washington Post:

But this time, there will be no outsider acting as a buffer between the warring sects. U.S. military officials acknowledge that as Iraq regains sovereignty, their influence is waning. A senior U.S. military official who has spent years in Iraq said he fears that as the drawdown begins, American forces are leaving behind many of the same conditions that preceded the sectarian war.

"All we're doing is setting the clock back to 2005," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a stark assessment. "The militias are fully armed, and al-Qaeda in Iraq is trying to move back from the west. These are the conditions now, and we're sitting back looking at PowerPoint slides and whitewashing."

This may be overly pessimistic. Or not. Certainly, this is not what General Douglas MacArthur meant when he wrote "There is no substitute for victory."
But neither is the deterioration of security and stability the anonymous official perceives akin to "victory" in the modern, less ambitious, sense.

1 comment:

Dan said...

The point is that McCain led the charge for the surge, constantly criticizing the Rumsfeld strategy and calling for a drastic change intended to strengthen the Iraqi government and reduce the threat of the insurgency. He is not solely responsible, but he deserves credit for helping to bring about efforts without which we would have never had any chance of a victory.

Today, the situation is still fragile and the gains we've made could evaporate if the iraqi government fails to keep the factions together, which is no easy task. Then again, it all depends on how we define victory.

Why This Comment?

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