OxBlog

Thursday, September 14, 2006

# Posted 8:00 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

McCAIN SAYS BRING THE TROOPS HOME: Yes, McCain. He said:

The United States is mired in an overseas mission with ambiguous obectives and unknown duration...

I and many of my colleagues in Congress reluctantly supported the deployment...

[The president] has promised to provide clear benchmarks for measuring success. Yet...such benchmarks have not materialized...

We have seen mission creep...and the continued absence of a clear strategy of what we must achieve, let alone an "exit strategy" telling us when we can go home...

Regrettably, we are now in the very situation we so wished to avoid: an open-ended commitment with the murkiest of end-goals. Unless we have a clear and achievable set of goals, we should not support an indefinite U.S. military presence.

Of course, McCain wasn't talking about Iraq. After all, you didn't think OxBlog scooped the Washington Post, did you?

No, McCain was talking about Bosnia. The quotations above are from an essay in the Spring 1998 issue of the Washington Quarterly.

The selective way I've presented the material above implies that McCain has a double standard when it comes to foreign occupations -- one standard for Bush's and a much tougher standard for Clinton's. The issue is much more complicated than that, but I did want to illustrate how McCain's critics will spin the issue once they start going through McCain's old speeches and articles.

One very interesting twist to the Bosnia example is that Clinton set a deadline for withdrawal even though McCain was against it. As he does now, McCain argues for clear criteria for success and "against tying our presence to some arbitrary deadline."

The bad thing about deadlines is that they tend to get broken. As McCain writes, Clinton failed to comply with both of the deadlines he set for withdrawal from Bosnia.

Another interesting twist is that McCain explicitly refused to cut off funding for the mission in Bosnia even though he wanted it to end. He explained that "I continue to believe that such a cut-off would be wrong -- it would punish our troops in the field for the failure of the administration."

Ultimately, what McCain called for in his article was not an immediate or even a phased withdrawal (excuse me, "redeployment"), but rather a clear mission that would enable a withdrawal at some point in the future.

At the same time, I'm not going to pretend that McCain approach to Bosnia is fully consistent with his approach to Iraq. His repeated condemnation of open-ended commitments and murky objectives seem incongruous -- especially since we were hardly taking casualties in Bosnia and the ethnic violence had also become negligible.

Then again, the stakes are very different. Yugoslavia wasn't home to violent Islamic fundamentalists bent on slaughtering as many Americans as possible. If we withdraw from Iraq, the war on terror won't end.
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
Sounds like a partisan. Imagine that.
 
"Then again, the stakes are very different. Yugoslavia wasn't home to violent Islamic fundamentalists bent on slaughtering as many Americans as possible. If we withdraw from Iraq, the war on terror won't end."

- It may be true that if we withdraw from Iraq that Islamic fundamentalist will not go away, but it doesn't follow that if we win in Iraq they will go away either. I think we should try to resist confounding the vague GWOT with a regional separatist struggle.
 
"If we withdraw from Iraq, the war on terror won't end."

What?!? I thought we were the cause of violence in Iraq (that and poverty of course). Even if we leave there will still be a bunch of Muslims who want to kill everybody. Noooooooo
 
"What?!? I thought we were the cause of violence in Iraq (that and poverty of course). Even if we leave there will still be a bunch of Muslims who want to kill everybody. Noooooooo"

Dopey non sequitur alert!

If violence continues after Americans leave Iraq, it then follows that Americans did not cause this violence.

Where else can we apply this line of reasoning?

If hearing loss develops after the appearance of an ear infection, and the infection goes away but the deafness remains, it stands to reason that the infection did not cause the hearing loss.

A paper catches fire after touching it with a lit match. The match is removed, but the paper is still on fire. Therefore, it stands to reason that the lit match did not cause the fire.

And so on and so on...
 
Anon, would your examples hold if the hearing loss predated the infection or the fire predated the match? Because the violence in Iraq predates American involvement by quite a bit.
 
Post a Comment


Home