Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) inaccurately claimed that the surge was responsible for beginning the Sunni revolt against al Qaeda in Iraq’s Anbar province: “Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening.” This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough attempted to defend McCain’s comment:
Anybody that would argue the Sunni Awakening would have survived in Al Anbar province without the surge…is so ignorant of the facts on the ground in Western Iraq, in Al Anbar province and what the Sunni sheiks were doing throughout 2007 — they’re too stupid to be on television. [...]
The Anbar Awakening started in the fall of 2006. World War II started in December of 1941. That battled continued. The invasion of Normandy happened three years later. Good things happened. The surge happened six months later, and that’s when things started getting better in Anbar province.
Also during this segment, Scarborough attacked liberal bloggers for correcting McCain’s error, saying they were probably “just sitting there, eating their Cheetos” and saying, “Let me google Anbar Awakening!” He added, “Dust flying — Cheeto dust flying all over. They’re wiping it on their bare chest while their underwear — you know, their Hanes.” Watch it:
First of all, McCain did not simply tie the surge to the Anbar Awakening. He said that the Anbar Awakening began with the surge. As several bloggers pointed out, this claim is completely false. The Awakening began in September 2006; President Bush didn’t even announce the surge until January 2007. Things were getting better in Anbar long before the surge.
Additionally, as Colin Kahl writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, the Awakening was driven not by sheiks’ confidence in the surge, but by their belief that the United States would soon be withdrawing from Iraq. “U.S. forces had to convince the Sunnis that they were not occupiers — that is, that they did not intend to stay forever,” writes Kahl.
And for the record, ThinkProgress does not regularly eat Cheetos, nor do we blog in our underwear. But we do use a Google now and then.
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