The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, December 08, 2006

Last Neocon Standing

McCain's insistence that the war in Iraq can only be addressed by more force, more lives, and more billions amounts to him adopting a position that even Bush is backing away from, and it's getting disturbing. But in spite of the widespread acknowledgment that "the same, but more of it" is no solution at all, McCain is receiving his usual plaudits from a press corps that can't get enough of the guy.

McCain's willingness to call for a deeper commitment to the war, however, has won praise and admiration even from those who have come to feel that he is wrong, simply because his views are unpopular. Wrote columnist George Will, a recent critic of the neocons, McCain brings a "steely" moral clarity to the Iraq debate. But there are more skeptical ways to assess the senator's "straight talk" about Iraq.

Despite his bullish claim that more combat troops are available for deployment, McCain almost certainly knows the contrary to be true. Last month the Washington Post (a newspaper whose editorial page strongly supports the war) reported that top military officers and defense analysts think that McCain's escalation scheme is "implausible" and probably impossible. Not only would increasing troop levels inflict severe stress on the already strained Army and Marine Corps, but the results would be far less significant than the senator has suggested. For someone who constantly touts his concern for soldiers and their families -- and who is no doubt sincere -- the former POW sounds strangely oblivious to the extreme price they pay during repeated rotations back into Iraq. He also sounds ignorant of the long-term danger to the American military posed by the war's costs.