Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Patrick Cockburn: White House strategy is to help McCain win in November

I spoke yesterday about how, in the past, the Republicans have used military campaigns abroad to win elections, even if it meant undermining peace in Vietnam or freeing American hostages in Iran.

And how Vladimir Putin is convinced that the US was behind Saakashvili's decision to invade South Ossetia was, in part, to help John McCain win the November election.

Well, today Patrick Cockburn, one of the few journalists who remains on the ground in Iraq, claims that the handing back of Anbar province is being done for the exact same cynical reasons.

The hand- over by the US military of control of Anbar province, once the heartland of the Sunni rebellion, to Iraqi forces is a case in point. The US will keep 25,000 American soldiers in Anbar, so the extent to which the Iraqi government will really take over is debatable.


Much of what the White House is now doing is done to help the Republicans in the presidential election. The aim is to give the impression that Iraq has finally come right for the US and victory is finally in its grasp.
The surge is promoted as the strategy by which the tide was turned and it is true that the Sunni uprising against the US occupation has largely ended.

But it has done so for reasons that have little to do with the surge or American actions of any kind. Crucial to the success of the government against the Mahdi Army has been the support of Iran. It is they who arranged for the Shia militiamen to go home.

It takes real cheek for Mr Bush to claim yesterday that "Anbar is no longer lost to al-Qa'ida" since during the last presidential election in 2004, he was claiming that the media was exaggerating the success of the insurgents.

There is an astonishing amount of gall to Bush now claiming that Anbar has been saved when he has previously insisted that the media were exaggerating what was happening there.

But, by claiming to hand it back to the Iraqis - whilst retaining 25,000 troops there and doing no such thing - Bush can only have one aim. To help McCain claim that the surge is working and advise against moving out too quickly.

Click title for full article.


Todd Dugdale said...

The Anbar withdrawal is a dangerous gamble. This is an overwhelmingly Sunni province with a minority Shia government - the Sunnis boycotted the elections. The Shia government has not been guaranteeing security; rather, it has been the Sunni "Awakening" forces and U.S. troops that have been doing that. And the "Awakening" movement is in the process of being disbanded against their will. All we offered them was a steady paycheck, and soon that will be gone. The Administration is gambling that it won't blow up before the elections.

But in the big picture, Iraq is a weak issue for the Republicans. The majority has said in polling that Iraq was a mistake to begin with.

If you were to loan me your car and I take a sharp curve too fast and have a wreck, would it prove that I was "right" when I made the decision to take that curve at high speed if the car was repaired six months later? Not really.

Iraq is seen as an expensive mistake that the public just wants to end. It was never that they thought we couldn't "win", which is why this spin that we have "won" will not gain any traction.

Kel said...

I'm pleased to hear you say that Todd. I would hate for people to be fooled by this nonsense.

Ingrid said...

Kel, I copied and pasted this whole post WITH the links of course included.You're just too brilliant a commentator! I hope people will check your site out as you've been brilliant upon brilliant..I cannot stand to watch the RNC..so you must have a strong stomach..
anyhow, you're so spot on that I almost forget that there are plenty of mindless R voters who'll vote, as you mentioned in another post, for anyone/thing (?) that's (R)..



Kel said...

Ingrid, are you trying to make me blush?

No seriously thanks for the kind words, I do appreciate them.

an average patriot said...

Well well hi Todd! Ingrid pointed me here. Funny but I talk of this often and was going to post on it the other day but too many other things were happening.
At this point Bush has set the foundation for so much future war you can only guess which one is going to tip fist!