Given the general fogginess of his strategy thinking, it comes as no surprise to see that both John McCain and his key advisor Randy Scheunemann don’t really seem to have any understanding of the fighting that played out in Basra over the weekend. All of McCain’s thinking about Iraq seems dominated by a desire to achieve “victory” and, consequently, he’s unable to grapple with the reality of a multifaceted situation.
For some reason he thinks that helping Nouri al-Maliki help Iranian-backed militias fight other Shiite militias constitutes rolling back Iranian influence and al-Qaeda. Because, basically, he thinks Iran is bad and al-Qaeda is bad, whereas we are good. Maliki is working with us, so he must be good, too, and whoever he’s fighting must be the bad guys — i.e., al-Qaeda and Iran. Nevermind that this has little relationship to reality, it fits with McCain’s desire to see an honorable struggle in which we eventually prevail through gritty determination.