Thursday, June 16, 2016

Go home, McCain, you're drunk. Or ready to retire.

Toughest opponent John McCain has ever faced in a Senate race, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick. Tougher and smarter.

In other news, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) blamed President Obama for the killing of 49 innocent clubgoers in Orlando:
"Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, Al Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama's failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq. So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies.”
He later corrected himself:
“I misspoke,” McCain said in a press release. “I did not mean to imply that the president was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the president himself.”
He's still completely wrong, of course, as he always is about every subject he addresses.

As we know, the Orlando killer couldn't tell the difference between Isis, its mortal enemy the Qa'eda organization, and the Lebanese Shi'ite political party Hezbollah. Then again that's long been true of Senator McCain, who still thought in 2008 that the Iranian government was training Qa'eda operatives.

Just to be clear at the cost of repeating what most people know by now, the organization that calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Shams was formed in 2006, when the chaos brought about by the US invasion enabled the different Salafi groups including the Qa'eda organization founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the rump troops of Saddam Hussein's shattered army to come together into a single group (following Zarqawi's death) under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It's true that at the time US troops were being withdrawn from Iraq in 2011 in fulfillment of the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated between President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki, ISIS forces were invading Syria. But if the movements of US troops had had anything to do with that, they would have stayed in Iraq to exploit the supposed power vacuum. The forces that went to Syria, which came to be known as the Jabhat an-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) were sent there because that is where they saw a power vacuum, in the civil war being waged on the Sunni majority by President Bashar al-Assad. They had always claimed Syria anyway—that's what the "al-Shams" in the name means. What was happening in Iraq at that time was irrelevant.

The idea that Qa'eda forces "became ISIS in Syria" is almost the exact opposite of the truth, which is that the ISIS forces in Syria came to be Bin Laden–Zarqawi loyalists who rejected al-Baghdadi's leadership from Iraq; in this way ISIS-in-Syria literally became al-Qa'eda, rather than the other way around. (Those also may have been the "moderate Sunnis" clueless McCain got photographed with in May 2013, when his staff "strongly denied that McCain would knowingly pose next to men he knew were responsible for kidnapping pilgrims"—quite right, he didn't "knowingly" do anything, as usual. That's not a recommendation, in my concept of foreign policy.)

During the 2008 presidential campaign McCain insisted that he was a better foreign policy candidate than Obama because of his deep knowledge of the situation and the characters involved; for example, you couldn't question his view that Prime Minister Maliki would accept the continued presence of US troops for years to come:
"What — but if Maliki persists?" Blitzer said. "You're president, and he says he wants U.S. troops out and he wants them out, let's say, in a year or two years or 16 months, or whatever, what do you do? Do you just — do you listen to the prime minister?"
"He won't," McCain said. "He won't. He won't, because he —"
"How do you know? How do you know? How do you know that?" Blitzer interjected.
"— knows that it has to be condition-based," McCain continued. "Because I know him, and I know him very well. And I know the other leaders. And I know — I've been there eight times, as you know. And I know them very, very well."
Upon which Maliki announced that there could be no conditions on US withdrawal, and finished negotiating the deal with Bush that McCain continues to blame on Obama, demonstrating that McCain knew nothing whatever. There were dark suspicions around the National Review that Maliki was doing it specifically because he wanted Obama to win.

More reprehensible than his ignorance, perhaps, is McCain's naked insistence on using his imaginary knowledge of the Iraq situation as a campaign weapon, and trying to conduct foreign policy on his own account behind Bush's back. Who knows how dangerous that could have been if it hadn't been an utter failure?

Come to think of it, do you suppose Senator McCain is directly responsible for what happened in Orlando, through the ignorance he has spread through the nation until it affects even Muslim Americans who should know better? I wouldn't say that, of course. But McCain probably would. I do hope he loses his election.

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