Thursday, June 12, 2008

A difference of policy

A commenter wrote to say that McCain's "not too important" comment is not "outrageous" when read in context. The commenter went on to say that McCain "was saying that when the troops come home is less important than when hostilities end." This comment, combined with some reactions in the media prompted me to respond.

First of all, I think the commenter is right -- McCain's quote is not "outrageous" on its face. But what it shows is a fundamental disagreement on policy. I watched Susan Rice, Obama's senior foreign policy advisor, respond to McCain's quote. She correctly pointed out that this is the latest example of McCain misunderstanding the situation in Iraq. The word Rice used was "confused." She pointed out that McCain was "confused" about the difference between Sunni and Shia and had to have Joe Lieberman correct him. She noted that McCain was simply wrong when he claimed that the number of troops in Iraq had been "drawn down to pre-surge levels."

McCain's latest comments were not false, but they did demonstrate a lack of understanding. We -- the public and the military -- were told that this war would take a few months. Five years later, we still have 150,000 troops committed there, with no sign that anything is being done to bring them home. Meanwhile our government is banging the drums for more war, and getting further committed to the war we never completed in Afghanistan.

McCain's comments show a difference in policy. The commenter is right that the end to hostilities is important, but that end is no where in sight. After five years of stretching out our military, after four tours of duty, after over 4,000 deaths and no apparent political progress, saying that bringing the troops home is "not too important," may not be outrageous, but it sheds light into McCain's thinking. And when, as Rice described, it is presented along with several "confused" and false statements, it shows that McCain's perceived strength is really just bad policy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The new "100 years"

This morning on the Today show, "100 years" said that it's "not too important" to bring troops home from Iraq. He said what is important is the decrease in casualties. He went on to justify his comments by saying that American troops are still in Korea, Japan and Germany. This is precisely the argument he tried to make when saying that there might be a military presence in Iraq for "100 years." He said American troops scattered throughout the world is "all fine."

Harry Reid has released a statement condemning the comments. If the Democrats are smart, this clip will become the talk of the political world for the next week.

In his article about McCain's quotes, Mike Allen over at the Politico, inexplicably wrote that "McCain explained his remark, but it could be very damaging when taken out of context." Unbelievable. The quote is very damaging given the context. What a ridiculous way to report the story.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Obama might be a terrorist

Media Matters picked up on a segment on Fox News in which host E.D. Hill discussed the meaning of the fist bump Barack and Michelle Obama had on Tuesday night. In leading into the discussion, Hill asked if it was a "terrorist fist jab." That's actually what she said.