Joe Biden has an important oped today, “The Real Surge Story,” that really goes after Senator John McCain’s continued embrace of military deployments in Iraq.
From Biden’s piece:
If the president’s plan won’t work, what will? History suggests only four other ways to keep together a country riven by sectarian strife:
We allow or help one side to win, which would require years of horrific bloodletting.
We perpetuate the occupation, which is impossible politically and practically.
We promote the return of a dictator, who is not on the horizon but whose emergence would be the cruelest of ironies.
Or we help Iraq make the transition to a decentralized, federal system, as called for in its constitution, where each major group has local control over the fabric of its daily life, including security, education, religion and marriage.
Making federalism work for all Iraqis is a strategy that can still succeed and allow our troops to leave responsibly. It’s a strategy I have been promoting for a year.
I cannot guarantee that my plan for Iraq will work. But I can guarantee that the course we’re on — the course that a man I admire, John McCain, urges us to continue — is a road to nowhere.
Biden’s assessment is quite bleak but realistic.
But what is really odd about John McCain’s position is that he used to believe that a post-invasion deployment force needed to be around the 300,000 troop level that General Shinseki suggested. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who opposes what he has called an “colonial crusade in a post-colonial world”, said that an occupation deployment of more than 500,000 troops could have some impact on the current situation — just to take the counter-point for a moment.
McCain is spending his political capital endorsing a minor surge in troop levels and endorsing sleight-of-hand incremental changes in the duration of deployment terms. He’s staking his political future on a level of US force in Iraq — even if you agreed with his general position — that he never believed was enough to begin with.
— Steve Clemons