Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Burying Iraq as an Issue

At the Republican Convention, the public desire that dominated the elections two years ago--to get out of Iraq--will be low on the agenda, buried under John McCain's rhetoric about "victory" with "honor."

But as a New York Times editorial points out, McCain is alone in trying to sell that grotesque claim:

"Iraq’s leaders are pushing a timetable that would have American troops out in 2011.

"Even President Bush--who had long scorned the notion of a withdrawal deadline as defeatist--looks set to go along...

"That leaves Mr. McCain as the stubborn man out.

"While the war is no longer front-page news, thousands of Americans are still fighting and dying there. The war is costing American taxpayers $10 billion a month--that is $10 billion that cannot be spent on health care, education and many other urgent priorities.

"Mr. McCain told veterans on Aug. 11 that he would end the war, but intended to 'win it first' and assured them that 'victory in Iraq is finally in sight.'

"He needs to explain what he means by victory. A free and democratic Iraq, as Mr. Bush originally promised? That would take generations. Even after spending nearly $700 billion, the United States will be lucky to leave behind a marginally functioning central government in a very fragile country."

McCain on Iraq recalls the loony character in the World War II movie "Arsenic and Old Lace" who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and keeps rushing up the stairs blowing a bugle and yelling "Charge!" Meanwhile, real bodies are buried in the cellar.

That character's Panama Canal was the product of a disordered mind, but Iraq is real and American voters should get an explanation from McCain or take away his bugle.

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