One of the things that bugs me most of the present Administration (besides being, you know, totally incompetent at just about everything except funneling money to their big-business friends) is their total disdain for the Constitution and just about everything good that this country has stood for during its history. I find it funny that the Right so often hurls the “you hate America!” charge at the Left, when they are actually the ones who seem to despise everything about this country. So there was Joe Lieberman, sitting next to John Kerry on Meet The Press. (I guess he was taking a break from being McCaniac’s Jimeny Crickett, whispering corrections in McCain’s ear like Nancy used to do when Ronnie would make some stupid statement.)Lieberman was on one his usual rants (sounding, as he usually does, like he’s about to burst into tears), about how Barack Obama must “admit that The Surge worked,” citing the decline in violence in Iraq. When John Kerry (and Tom Brokaw, proving that a real journalist doesn’t just toss softballs at his guests) pointed out that the great Sunni “Awakening” – where the Sunnis in Anbar decided to stop shooting at the Americans and start shooting Al Qaueda in Mesopotamia, which threatened to turn their mostly-secular society into a Taliban-style fantatical theocracy — actually took place before the surge started, Lieberman snapped that this was “disrepectful of our troops” and suggested Kerry should apologize.
This is the typical Bush-Rove tactic of waving the flag and “suporting the troops” that has typified Republican campaigns for some time. It also totally ignores the facts. (Well, that and the fact that we’ve been paying the Sunnis, which may also have something to do with them deciding to side with us. No matter. If we can send money instead of men and women over there, I’m all for it).
The other big cause in the drop in violence in Iraq is, of course, the decision by Moqtada al Sadr to reign in his militias in Bagdad. This may have had something to do with his realization that the level of indiscrimate violence by Shia against Shia was turning the people against him, and quelling the violence was his last chance at actually achieving some political clout in the current Iraqi government. Again, something that happened independent of The Surge.
Neither of these facts in any way minimize the job that American troops have done. And certainly the surge helped the situation. That was, after all, what it was supposed to do: give the Iraqis a chance to finally get their shit together. We have no way of knowing if “The Awakening” and al Sadr’s change of heart would have happened without The Surge. They might well have; they may even have progressed more rapidly. We’ll never know.
But there’s something more insidious in what both McCain and Lieberman suggest when they claim that “The Surge” is totally responsible for anything good in Iraq. It’s this notion that we’re the great saviors of Iraq and, by implication, that the Iraqis are just too stupid to tend to their own country. Thus, the opposition to accepting Maliki’s timetable for withdrawl. We’ll withdraw when we say so, dammit! We know what’s best for you. They have also suggested that the Iraqis can’t be trusted to keep Al Qaeda out if we leave. The “Awakening” certainly seems to indicate otherwise, and in any case, the “Al Qaeda” in Iraq is not the group that attacked us, nor are they ever likely to be able to “follow us home.”
And then there is Lieberman’s abominable “…one candidate, John McCain, who has always put his country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.” Beyond shameful. The same old Karl Rove tactic of questioning someone’s patriotism. Is there anything that Barack Obama has said that indicates he does not put the interests of the US first? (If anything, he’s a little too quick to jump on the gingoism bandwagon for my tastes).
The people of Connecticut should be hanging their heads in shame at sending this sniveling, whining gasbag back to the Senate. And to think he almost wound up being Vice President! Lieberman actually votes with the Democrats on just about everything else. John McCain is so far from the causes that Lieberman aspouses, one has to question to mental actuity at work here. But then the same can be said about McCain. But that’s another blog post for another time.