Face The Nation: Withdrawal Of Troops In Iraq Helps McCain

[media id=5773] [media id=5774] (h/t Heather) Actually, it's hard to think of anything that the talking heads inside the Beltway Bubble think would

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Actually, it's hard to think of anything that the talking heads inside the Beltway Bubble think would hurt John McCain's chances. But this is so slippery and the terminology so vague that it's troublesome to see the potential to sway a lot of low information voters. With the news that we are considering drawing down forces in Iraq, beginning in September (reg. req'd), Roger Simon of The Politico, who never met a Republican for whom he wouldn't apologize, insists that this "October Surprise" will help John McCain.

SIMON: Yeah. It may be an October surprise in July. I think anything that signals that the war in Iraq is generally winding down would be good news for John McCain. He has always said that he wants to leave Iraq, too, but he wants to leave it with victory and honor. And if a drawdown of troops is seen to be militarily justified because we're winning, because the surge is working, and not political trickery because Republicans need it for the fall elections, then that is likely to be effective.

So how many caveats did you count? There's a lot of stars that have to line up just so to make that work, but let's focus on the purposeful vagueness and empty rhetoric.

McCain has ALWAYS said that he wants to leave Iraq? Does anyone ever explain how you can leave an occupation (remember, we "won" the war back in 2003) with "victory"? Is there any honor to that?

'The surge is working' meme is working my last nerve as well. Yes, violence is down within Baghdad (where the majority of those escalation-designated troops were sent), but outside of that area, in Kirkuk, Diyala, Mosul and Fallujah? Not so much. And is it considered a "win" when we're talking about 4.5 million Iraqi refugees?

What happens if the "drawdown" (which is Beltway speak for returning to pre-surge levels) is NOT militarily justified but politically justified? Is it still a "drawdown" if we're simply moving them to Afghanistan where violence and attacks has jumped lately? Will it still help McCain when the number of troop deaths in Afghanistan increase even more, like today's attack in Kabul?


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Transcripts below the fold

SCHIEFFER: Joining us now with a campaign quick check: Roger Simon, the chief political columnist of Politico and our old friend.

Roger, what do you make of this? Suddenly we're talking about drawing out more troops out of Iraq and before the November elections. Now, you just heard Ed Gillespie say this has kind of always kind of been in the works, and in fact, I suppose....

Mr. ROGER SIMON (Politico): Right.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that is right. But suddenly they're starting to talk about it. What do you make?

Mr. SIMON: Yeah. It may be an October surprise in July. I think anything that signals that the war in Iraq is generally winding down would be good news for John McCain. He has always said that he wants to leave Iraq, too, but he wants to leave it with victory and honor. And if a drawdown of troops is seen to be militarily justified because we're winning, because the surge is working, and not political trickery because Republicans need it for the fall elections, then that is likely to be
effective.

Now, as you accurately pointed out, this may be a shifting of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. But even that, fighting in Afghanistan is just less politically charged than fighting in Iraq. Afghanistan, the country from where the 9/11 attacks were launched, where there is a clear linkage with our military operations there and fighting terrorism--a linkage which never really existed in Iraq--it is a more "acceptable" war, if you will, to the American people.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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