miércoles, marzo 26, 2008

A McCain Moment: Do You Want Four More Years of This?
By Arianna Huffington

It's not just George Bush's war that McCain wants to continue; it's George Bush's approach.

If our polarized country can agree on one thing, it's that the greatest danger facing America over the next decade will not be Islamic extremism and instability in the Middle East, but rather Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. That's just "common knowledge," right?
So it only makes sense that the media have focused non-stop on this looming threat while paying scant attention to the fact that the presumptive Republican nominee for president apparently doesn't have a clue about what's going on in the Middle East.
And with the U.S. death toll hitting 4,000 (with 25 American soldiers killed over the last two weeks, the deadliest fortnight for our troops
since September 2007), and with another 57 people killed in Iraq yesterday, John McCain's tenuous grasp on what is happening in the region becomes all the more worthy of attention.
For those who were too busy watching Rev. Jeremiah Wright damn America for the 10,000th time to hear about McCain, let's review: at a stop in Jordan last week, McCain made the ludicrous claim that Al Qaeda insurgents were being trained in Iran*. Asked again about it, he
dug in deeper, claiming it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known."
A few moments later, McCain's chief lady in waiting, Joe Lieberman, leaned forward and
whispered in his ear. McCain promptly offered a quick rewrite: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
Now, it's been widely reported that, heading into the Iraq war, George Bush had
no clue about the differences between Sunni and Shia. But that was 2003, and it was George Bush. This is five years later and we're talking about John McCain. But it turns out this acclaimed foreign policy expert doesn't know the difference between Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni insurgents, Iran and Syria. Or, perhaps more charitably, he's doesn't care to know.
Yes, John McCain is a war hero, and yes, we're all grateful for his service during the Vietnam war. But as McCain's embarrassing foreign fact-finding fiascos make clear: having acted heroically in a foreign war does not magically translate into foreign policy expertise and judgment.
Yet every time McCain packs a suitcase, the press automatically anoints him as "presidential." They dutifully did it on this latest trip, even though it came just under a year after McCain's clownish stroll through a Baghdad market, which he declared proof that one could "walk freely" around Baghdad --
while being guarded by three Blackhawk helicopters, two Apache gunships, and 100 armed soldiers.
The fact that the presumptive Republican nominee doesn't grasp the general outlines in Iraq would seem to be a big story. But not to the mainstream media. As soon as they heard that the Straight Talk Express had run off the road, they sprang into action to get the wreckage out of view. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
To the Washington Post, it was
just a "gaffe." CNN let stand the McCain campaign's assertion that he had just "misspoke." Brit Hume, senior member of the McCain Support Team, brushed it off as "blip," and a "senior moment." (Of course, Hume had a very different take on "senior moments" when it came to Jack Murtha.)
Not content with excuses, one of McCain's foreign policy advisors, Max Boot, decided to tout the "misstatement": "What gaffe?" Boot asked,
going on to claim, "there is copious evidence of Iran supplying and otherwise assisting Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni terrorist groups (including Al Qaeda central). The 9/11 Commission itself noted a number of links between Iran and Al Qaeda." And McCain senior foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann claimed there is "ample documentation" for this.

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