Thru John I see McCain is taking heat: first he said we'd have to leave if a sovereign Iraqi government instructed requested us to, and now his advisor's telling us that Senator
McCain has always said that conditions on the ground — including the
security threats posed by extremists and terrorists, and the ability of
Iraqi forces to meet those threats — would be key determinants in U.S.
When it comes to defending John McCain, I admit to a certain enthusiasm gap. But here's something that seems pretty straightforward to me: the US knows that Iraq can order us out, and Iraq knows we have a lot of bargaining power when it comes to leaving certain token but significant forces behind. So McCain is right to admit that Iraq can send most US troops packing -- and should, should its government so decide -- but that the US has the interest and the leverage to negotiate a residual presence that costs a lot less in blood and treasure.
This strikes me as about the best of both worlds. When you boil it down, the problem with occupying Iraq has nothing to do with 'empire' and everything to do with the costs of 'empire.' You drive those costs down -- and the numbers in personnel that drive them -- and you drive down 'empire'. I'm cool with this, and I think I'm on the side of the vast majority of Americans of both parties on that.
MORE...In other words, what the WSJ Editors said...if what they mean by a 'significant' presence is what I think of as an insignificant one. Somehow I suspect they mean something pretty different. But, again, 30,000 troops, for example, is significantly lower than our current deployment, and Americans deal in round numbers. The American people and the Editors may wind up agreeing on what I still consider too heavy and costly a footprint. Another possibility: everyone winds up agreeing the size and cost of the future footprint are amiably low. Key takeaway: such a sunny ending (no pun) will be the consequence of America's best and classic assets -- luck and pluck -- not the visionary genius of any of our Supreme Leaders.
Senator McCain has always said that conditions on the ground — including the security threats posed by extremists and terrorists, and the ability of Iraqi forces to meet those threats — would be key determinants in U.S. force levels.