McCain used 9/11 to plump for invasion of Iraq, NYT swoons
David Kirkpatrick has a gushy little story in the New York Times about how tough John McCain was after 9/11 when he called for the invasion of Iraq to fight terrorists that weren't there.
What did McCain do to earn Kirkpatrick's praise? Well, according to the article, after 9/11, he immediately went on TV a lot and called for war with as many countries as possible. Only sissies wait for the facts before calling for war.
Within hours, Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria. [NYT]
Taken in context, the story is a valuable reminder of something that McCain doesn't like to broadcast: That he did everything he could to drag America into Iraq.
McCain was an early and forceful advocate of the invasion of Iraq. Actually, there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until after the US invaded. So, McCain's bold plan to attack Iraq in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was either befuddled or opportunistic.
Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!”[NYT]
But McCain's a Republican. As far as Kirkpatrick is concerned, it's the thought that counts. Calling for the invasion of Iraq for no reason was gutsy. Who cares if McCain's decision was flat-out wrong?
McCain was an honorary co-chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. His top foreign policy adviser, lobbyist Randy Scheunemann headed up the committee and served as one of Ahmed Chalabi's top American fixers.
After dragging the U.S. into a ruinous war, Scheunemann used that credential to launch an international petro-influence peddling cartel. All the while, he continued to lobby for various foreign governments, including Georgia. Of course, Scheunemann continued to pressure McCain and other Republicans on his client's agendas, including the expansion of NATO.
McCain wasn't tough on Iraq, he was at best catastrophically wrong and characteristically rash. He says he has foreign policy experience, and he does--experience fucking up.