July 17, 2007

McCain Rips the Dems and A Few Reps a New Fanny - Good For John McCain

I'm not a big fan of John McCain. If he should, against all odds win the Republican Nomination, I'll vote for him, but I won't like it. Any of the Democrats currently running would be so much worse. But you know, if you are a decent human being, you acknowledge when your political opponents are right, and in this, McCain is absolutely correct. Only a very few Demcrats in the house and only Joe Lieberman in the Senate will listen to what McCain is saying, the rest are too befuddled to either understand him, or too blinded by a quest for raw power to listen in the first place.

McCain Campaign HQ: WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following statement on the Senate floor about the Levin-Reed Iraq Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY ’08:

“Mr. President, I oppose the amendment offered by the Chairman and the Senator from Rhode Island that would mandate a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

“The debate that has taken place on this floor for some months now comes down to this. It is a simple choice. The sponsors of this amendment would have us legislate a withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment, leaving in place only forces authorized to carry out specific narrow missions. That is one choice, to force an end to the war in Iraq and to accept thereby all the terrible consequences that follow. The other is to defeat this amendment, to give General Petraeus and the troops under his command the time and support they have requested to carry out their mission, to allow them to safeguard vital American interests and an Iraqi population at risk of genocide.

“That is the choice, Mr. President, and though politics and popular opinion may be pushing us in one direction, to take the easy course, we as elected leaders have a greater responsibility. A measure of courage is required. Not the great courage exhibited by the brave men and women fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a smaller measure, the courage necessary to put our country’s interests before every personal or political consideration.

“I would like to spend a few moments reviewing the state of affairs in Iraq today. The final reinforcements needed to implement General Petraeus’ new counter-insurgency strategy arrived several weeks ago. From what I saw and heard on my recent trip, and from briefings and reports since then, I believe that our military, in cooperation with the Iraqi security forces, is making progress in a number of areas. The areas where they are operating have not suddenly become safe – they have not – but they do illustrate the progress that our military has achieved under General Petraeus’s new strategy.

“The most dramatic advances have been made in Anbar Province, a region that last year was widely believed to be lost to al Qaeda. After an offensive by U.S. and Iraqi troops cleaned al Qaeda fighters out of Ramadi and other areas of western Anbar, the province’s tribal sheikhs broke formally with the terrorists and joined the coalition side. Ramadi, which just months ago stood as Iraq’s most dangerous city, is now one of its safest. In February, attacks in Ramadi averaged between 30 and 35; now many days see no attacks at all – no gunfire, no IEDs, and no suicide bombings. In Falluja, Iraqi police have established numerous stations and have divided the city into gated districts, leading to a decline in violence. Local intelligence tips have proliferated in the province, thousands of men are signing up for the police and army, and the locals are taking the fight to al Qaeda. U.S. commanders in Anbar attest that all 18 major tribes in the province are now on board with the security plan, and they expect that a year from now the Iraqi army and police could have total control of security in Ramadi. At that point, they project, we could safely draw down American forces in the area.

“The Anbar model is one that our military is attempting to replicate in other parts of Iraq, with some real successes. A brigade of the 10th Mountain Division is operating in the areas south of Baghdad, the belts around the capital which have been havens for al Qaeda and other insurgents. All soldiers in the brigade are “living forward,” and commanders report that the local sheikhs are increasingly siding with the coalition against al Qaeda, the main enemy in that area of operations. Southeast of Baghdad, the military is targeting al Qaeda in safe havens they maintain along the Tigris River, and Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of operations there, recently reported that attacks on civilians in his area of operations were down 20 percent since April and civilian deaths had declined 55 percent. These and other efforts are part of Operation Phantom Thunder, a military operation intended to stop insurgents present in the Baghdad belts from originating attacks in the capital itself.

“In Baghdad, the military, in cooperation with Iraqi security forces, continues to establish joint security stations and deploy throughout the city in order to get violence under control. These efforts have produced positive results: sectarian violence has fallen since January, the total number of car bombings and suicide attacks declined in May and June, and the number of locals coming forward with intelligence tips has risen. Make no mistake – violence in Baghdad remains at unacceptably high levels, suicide bombers and other threats pose formidable challenges, and other difficulties abound. Nevertheless, there appears to be overall movement in the right direction.

“North of Baghdad, Iraqi and American troops have surged into Diyala Province and are fighting to deny al Qaeda sanctuary in the city of Baqubah. For the first time since the war began, Americans showed up in force and did not quickly withdraw from the area. In response, locals have formed a new alliance with the coalition to counter al Qaeda. Diyala, which was the center of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s proposed “Islamic caliphate,” finally has a chance to turn aside the forces of extremism.

“I offer these observations, Mr. President, not in order to present a rosy scenario of the challenges we continue to face in Iraq. As last weekend’s horrific bombing in Salahuddin Province illustrates so graphically, the threats to Iraqi stability have not gone away. Nor are they likely to go away in the near future, and our brave men and women in Iraq will continue to face great challenges. What I do believe, however, is that, while the mission – to bring a degree of security to Iraq, and to Baghdad and its environs in particular, in order to establish the necessary precondition for political and economic progress – while that mission is still in its early stages, the progress our military has made should encourage all of us.

“It is also clear that the overall strategy that General Petraeus has put into place – a traditional counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes protecting the population, and which gets our troops off of the bases and into the areas they are trying to protect – that this strategy is the correct one. Some of my colleagues argue that we should return troops to the forward operating bases and confine their activities to training and targeted counterterrorism operations. That is precisely what we did for three and a half years, Mr. President, and the situation in Iraq only got worse. I am frankly surprised that my colleagues would advocate a return to the failed Rumsfeld-Casey strategy. No one can be certain whether this new strategy, which remains in the early stages, can bring about ever greater stability. We can be sure, however, that should the United States Senate seek to legislate an end to the strategy as it is just commencing – should we do that, Mr. President, then we will fail for certain."

Good for you John, good for you!

Posted by GM Roper at July 17, 2007 09:48 PM | TrackBack

Never could figure out why the GOP turned on McCain......

Posted by BB-Idaho at July 22, 2007 04:37 PM

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