John McCain’s website features a timeline to highlight his allegedly awesome judgment about Iraq, but as Matt Duss points out the timeline curiously begins in August 2003 skipping over the entire previous 18 month period during which McCain was a leading spokesman for the idea that invading Iraq was a good idea. Indeed, one could go back to McCain’s record of judgment dating to his 1999 pronunciation of the idea that we should put “rogue state rollback” at the center of our foreign policy and see that the “more force always everywhere” track record is actually pretty poor.
Promoting the surge-rific leadership of John McCain, senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt told the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes that “Iraq is a character issue“:
“Senator McCain’s prescription to correct a failed policy was right. Senator Obama’s was wrong,” Schmidt continues. “They’re not deliberating abstractions. This was a real event that shows whose judgment was right and whose judgment was wrong.”[...]
“To some extent, the debate about Iraq is not a debate about Iraq. It’s about leadership, wisdom, and judgment.”
McCain’s campaign website has a fancy timeline– if only his campaign strategy were as well designed! — showing how and when John McCain was right about Iraq. Interestingly, the timeline begins in August 2003.
So while McCain is certainly not modest about trying to claim credit for the 2007 troop surge — which his site graciously refers to as “The McCain Surge” — he is somewhat more modest about providing examples of his leadership, wisdom, and judgment about Iraq from before August 2003. In the interest of ameliorating this, I’ve compiled a small sample of McCain’s pre-8/03 wisdom:
“Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” [CNN, 9/24/02]
“We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” [CNN, 9/29/02]
“But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]
“But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” [NBC, 3/20/03]
“It’s clear that the end is very much in sight.” [ABC, 4/9/03]
“There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shiahs. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC, 4/23/03]
McCain’s webmaster should feel free to take these and add them to McCain’s Iraq timeline. And contact Think Progress for more!
During an interview with President Bush on Britain’s Sky News yesterday, Sky political editor Adam Boulton noted that while Bush talks “a lot about freedom,” there are many who say that some of the Bush administration’s torture and detention policies represent “the complete opposite of freedom.” But Bush quickly snapped back, saying those criticizing his policies are slandering America:
BOULTON: There are those who would say look, lets take Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, and rendition and all those things and to them that is the complete opposite of freedom.
BUSH: Of course, if you want to slander America.
Watch it (beginning at 15:50):
So, according to Bush, below is a short — but by no means exhaustive — list of those who have suggested that Bush’s terrorism policies represent “the opposite of freedom” and thus have slandered America:
– The United States Supreme Court: The Court ruled last week that “terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to seek their release in federal court” saying that Bush’s policy compromised “the Constitution’s guarantee of liberty.”
– The Federal Bureau of Investigation: An FBI report issued last month said that according to its agents, “[m]ilitary officials at Guantanamo Bay used some aggressive techniques before they were approved, possibly in violation of Defense Department policy and U.S. law.”
– McClatchy Newspapers: An eight month McClatchy investigation found that after the Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned “perhaps hundreds” of men “in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.”
Boulton told Bush that the Supreme Court “ruled against what you have been doing” at Guantanamo but Bush wouldn’t budge, arguing that the district court, appellate court and Congress agreed that Gitmo detainees do not have to right to challenge their detention.
Boulton, a Briton, then had to remind Bush of America’s checks and balances system: “But the Supreme Court is supreme isn’t it?”
Dan Froomkin has more.
Via Spencer Ackerman, a brilliant report from Tom Lasseter about folks sent to Gitmo on terrorism charges who turn out not to be terrorists at all. Unless you’re George W. Bush or John McCain, you’re going to believe that even guilty men are entitled to the due process of law. But as we debate the Bush/McCain position in favor of arbitrary detention, it is worth recalling that one major reason for our procedural rights is that arbitrary and unaccountable power turns out not to be omniscient. Lots of the “terrorists” Bush and McCain want to keep in legal limbo aren’t terrorists at all, but if Bush and McCain had their way, we’d never know that and folks in their situation would have no recourse.
In related news, Lasseter also has a story about systematic abuse at the Bagram detention center where “guards kicked, kneed and punched many of the men until they collapsed in pain,” hung them by their wrists, etc., among other things. Maybe you think this is just terrorists getting what they deserve, but again you can consider the case of Nazar Chaman Gul who was imprisoned and tortured because “When U.S. soldiers raided the house he was visiting, acting on a tip from a tribal rival who was seeking revenge against another man, they apparently confused Gul with a militant with a similar name — who was also imprisoned at Guantanamo, according to an Afghan intelligence official and Gul’s American lawyer.”