McCain on Al Qaeda in Iraq

My Econospeak colleague – Barkley Rosser – says the McCain line that the surge is working is quite wrong:

John McCain will be pushing the line that the “surge has worked,” based on declines in attacks on US troops and declines in violence in Baghdad and al-Anbar Province, even as violence is again on the increase in some other parts of Iraq, and basic political and economic settlements remain unachieved. The problem is that neither of these declines in violence has had very much to do with an increase in the presence of US troops, although the case is stronger for Baghdad than for al-Anbar. In Baghdad the decline in violence would ultimately have happened because the main source of it was ethnic cleansing and the rise of sectarian segregation. This is now basically complete, with few integrated neighborhoods left and with many Sunnis fleeing both Baghdad and Iraq. A city that was 2/3 Shi’i, is now about 3/4 Shi’i, with the US effectively aiding this outcome. The turning of tribal sheikhs against al-Qaeda in Iraq in al-Anbar Province has had nothing to do with increased US troops (although providing arms probably helped) and everything to do with al-Qaeda in Iraq stupidly killing sons of some of those sheikhs. Ironically, one of the biggest neocon hawks, Charles Krauthammer, has effectively admitted this. He criticized Dems in Congress for saying the 2006 election changed things by pointing out that this change of attitude had happened prior to the election, even as McCain and crew are claiming it came later in 2007 with the US troop surge. Not so. Bottom line is that the violence situation has been naturally self-stabilizing, making it much easier to engage in large-scale withdrawals of US troops without destabilizing Iraq beyond what it is anyway.

McCain also wants us to believe that if we leave soon that Al Qaeda will rule Iraq. But the Shi’i despise Al Qaeda and the Sunni extremists have turned against Al Qaeda. CNN is reporting that Al Qaeda has turned on these Sunnis:

Video provided to CNN shows an al Qaeda in Iraq firing squad executing one-time allies – fellow Sunni extremists – who were not loyal enough to the terror organization, coalition military analysts said. In the video provided by coalition military officials, armed men wearing masks are shown standing behind nine kneeling men, all of whom are wearing blindfolds or hoods with their hands presumably tied behind their backs. The video shows the men being executed. “Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is foreign led and foreign dominated here inside Iraq, is killing off other Sunni groups that are certainly not supportive of the government of Iraq, currently, or of the foreign occupation, but are not sharing the same ideology that al Qaeda in Iraq has,” Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said. The video was recovered late last year during a raid on a compound near Samarra that was being used for killing and torture, a coalition official said. A number of documents – some found in the same raid – bolster the coalition notion that al Qaeda in Iraq is waging a violent campaign against its former allies, intelligence analysts said.

So these former allies of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda are at war with each other. Why the hell do we need our soldiers in the middle of this mess? As they knock off each other, the Shi’I becomes even more dominant in Iraq. Time to declare victory and come home. Alas, one party’s nominee is either too dumb to understand this or has decided to engage in the Bush-Cheney strategy of lying to us so we’ll be too scared to vote for anyone else. Either way – John McCain shows himself less and less fit to be our next President with each passing day.