Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Endless War in Iraq: Reality Check

This is not a political blog, but it's going to look like one off and on, at least until November. That's because a political process will determine who is the next American president. And the war on terror will be influenced, for good or ill, by whoever winds up in the Oval Office.

Presidential Candidate Wants Endless War!

A DNC fundraiser mailing warns about a presidential candidate who seems cruel and heartless as Atilla the Hun: "On the war, McCain scoffed at Bush's call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying 'Make it a hundred!' " But wait, there's more: "We can't afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq."

Time for a reality check.

A non-partisan group's website,, takes a look at McCain's apparent desire for a replay of the Hundred Year's War. FactCheck is a new one to me, and seems to be a pretty good source of information.

For example, there's an informed discussion of a scare campaign run by a GOP-affiliated group. "Defense of Democracies" ran ads last month, claiming that FISA had lapsed. (Not true: see FISA, the Patriot Act, and the Protect America Act: Who's Protecting Whom from Whom?." ( March 13, 2008).)

Beware the Sound Bite

Back to the DNC and McCain's "endless war."

McCain did say " 'Make it a hundred!' " on January 3, 2008, a town-hall meeting. Part of it (thirty seven seconds) are on a YouTube video. I'll grant that "They" could have faked the video, but I don't think so. has an informative post about McCain's "endless war" and other topics, "Smear or Be Smeared?" (February 8, 2008). Here's part of what they say:

"... His actual words are posted in a video on YouTube. Far from advocating 'endless war,' he said the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would be 'fine with me' provided that they're not being killed or wounded. Here's the full quote:

" 'Make it a hundred. ... We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as American, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It's fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintained a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.'

"It should be noted that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, despite their frequent talk of withdrawing from Iraq, have said repeatedly that they would maintain at least some troops in a combat role in Iraq for some time, possibly their entire term of office.

"There's little doubt that McCain is less eager than either Clinton or Obama to bring troops home without further suppression of insurgent attacks. But it's a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage 'endless war' based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea." [emphasis mine]

Who Should You Vote For?

I haven't made my mind up yet, so I certainly wouldn't try to advise anyone else. However, I'll say this: I'd rather have a president who knows something about 20th century history.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.