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December 05, 2005

McCain on Meet the press

MR. RUSSERT: Senator, the war in Iraq. The president said that we will accept nothing less than complete victory. What is complete victory?

SEN. McCAIN: Complete victory at least in my view is a flawed but functioning democracy in Iraq. I think it's hard to expect us to have a perfect democracy there but one that the people of Iraq will support, economic development, restoration of infrastructure and law and order and the Iraqi military and security personnel being able to take over most of the responsibilities for Iraqi security. And I think it's going to be long and hard and tough.


Emphasis mine.

Stray Thought: Russert asked John McCain : "We send kids to boot camp and send them to Iraq to fight. Why can’t we do the same with Iraqi kids?" (paraphrased)

One can only hope Russert was doing what I do here sometimes - pose a question I know the answer to (or answer one incompletely) as a setup to make someone (like you guys) look good, and more importantly, participate. I mean, good grief, I can train all the Privates and Lieutenants I can stuff through training in 90 days. But it takes a decade to grow the backbone of the Force... the NCOs and the Captains and Iron Majors who do the bulk of tactical planning, and lead and supervise (and most importantly, flex and adapt) the execution of same.

Of course, McCain knows this too (hence my hope it was set-up by Russert, and not an astounding attack of "d-uh" – McCain noted that Iraqi kids are being trained and sent out to fight and are improving at it. I just wish he'd completed the statement with the bit about what it takes to grow an Army's heart and soul. Combat is a tough teacher, and the Iraqis, if they keep their hearts in it, will do in a couple of years what it takes a decade to do in peacetime (just as the hugely expanded US Army did in WWII) - but they have to get those couple of years. He alluded to it, but didn't close the deal, here:

SEN. McCAIN: Well, we are recruiting Iraqi young people and they are serving, and they are taking significant casualties. As you know, one of the sort of not too perceptible changes that has taken place-- there's more attacks now on Iraqis than there is on American military. So they are serving, they are dying, they are fighting, and yes, there's a problem with leadership. The NCO is nothing like what we have in the United States Army. But we have also seen some pretty good performances in places like Fallujah, Mosul and others. But again, we are paying--continue to pay a heavy price for not having enough troops to bring the situation under control, which allowed places like Fallujah and others to become hotbeds and centers of insurgent activities.

You can read the whole bit here. I'm not a big fan of the Senator, but we do mesh pretty well on the issue of Iraq.

Continuing in this theme... Ramesh Ponnuru had this bit on The Corner yesterday:

"WHAT WOULD JFK HAVE DONE?" [Ramesh Ponnuru]

That's the question Theodore Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. are asking about Iraq. Gosh, I don't know. Maybe he would have had our allies assassinated? Maneuvered us unnecessarily to the brink of nuclear war.

S&S strike a false note early. "What did we not hear from President Bush when he spoke last week at the United States Naval Academy about his strategy for victory in Iraq?" they begin. "We did not hear that the war in Iraq, already one of the costliest wars in American history, is a running sore." No, I suppose we didn't hear that. Nor did the president confess to being a dimwitted, arrogant, narrow-minded fundamentalist. Which he would have had to have done to give the perfect Bush speech, as written by these worthies.

Do S&S persuade anyone that Kennedy would have pulled out of Vietnam, if only he had lived?

Again, emphasis mine. I don't have the time to fight through the economics of the war - except to note that to date, unlike in Vietnam, we've managed to do this without a huge inflationary spiral, and people who use raw dollar amounts in economic comparisons that span decades are at best clueless, at worse, intellectually dishonest. I'm sure someone around here *can* work through the dollars side of things.

But lets talk about the cost figure that comes to most people's minds... and compare it to the only war the Left seems able to remember...

Casualties. Let's take a look at a graph produced by the fellas at Bastard Sword (and if you take this graphic for your own use - make sure you credit (with links) Bastard Sword, *not* me - even if you are linking to me for this whole thing, link to them in *your* post as well!)

casualltiesbymonth.gif

For source data, go visit David at Bastard Sword.

Heh. Defeaticrats, indeed.