By- Suzie-Q @ 12:05 PM MST
From: Carpetbagger Report
Posted May 30th, 2008 at 8:30 am
War supporters often find it tricky to praise events on the ground in Iraq. Invariably, they seem to praise war conditions in such a way that ends up embarrassing them, and undermining their point, in ways reminiscent of Baghdad Bob insisting that the U.S. “invaders” are nowhere near Baghdad.
Take John McCain, for example, speaking at a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin yesterday.
“So I can tell you that it is succeeding,” McCain said. “I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr city are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks.”
McCain’s timing couldn’t have been much worse to brag about the “quiet” in Iraq.
Right around the same time McCain was boasting of the “quiet” in Mosul, “Another suicide bomber driving a police vehicle struck Iraqi commandos earlier Thursday in Mosul, killing three of them and wounding nine other people, according to battalion commander Capt. Aziz Latif. The victims were from a unit sent from the southern city of Kut to participate in the Mosul crackdown, Latif said.”
And then shortly after that, just outside Mosul, “A suicide bomber killed 14 police recruits and two policemen in northern Iraq on Thursday, police and military sources said. An attacker wearing a military uniform detonated an explosive vest near a police recruiting centre where about 200 applicants queued at Sinjar, near Mosul, police said. Ten police recruits and five police officers were wounded, police and military sources said. Sunni insurgents have carried out frequent attacks on police recruits, killing hundreds.”
And what about McCain’s claim that we have “drawn down to pre-surge levels”? That’s actually not true, either, at least not yet: “The increased U.S. presence in Iraq — which topped out at about 170,000 troops — is expected to go down to 140,000 by the end of July. U.S. officials plan to keep 15 combat brigades in Iraq through the end of the year, though ongoing assessments could allow commanders to change those numbers.”
As Nico Pitney concluded, “Clearly, McCain’s various congressional trips to Iraq haven’t made him infallible on the issue.”
Is it me or is it odd that McCain can’t seem to talk about Iraq at all without managing to get the facts wrong? I realize McCain wants to use the war as the basis for campaign attacks against Barack Obama, but McCain may want to reevaluate that strategy — or at least brush up on his talking points before the next town-hall meeting.