Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fire John McCain

Time to give Senator John McCain the FJM treatment:

McCain: Why We Can -- And Must -- Win the War In Afghanistan
By John McCain

(Editor: We gave Sen. McCain a voice recorder, and asked him to elaborate on his essay. We inserted his comments between the lines of the actual essay, which are rendered in bold.)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For the first time since September 11, 2001, America is having a vigorous national debate about how to succeed in Afghanistan. This debate is entirely worth having. Whenever America sends its citizens into harm's way, it must do so with eyes wide open.

You see, I ain't asking ya. I'm telling ya. This thing's gonna get done. I just want you to have your eyes open.

(Chuckles) This reminds me of when I was a kid, hangin out with old pops on the farm.

Me: "Let's step in this pile of shit."
Pops: "Whoa, hey, let's talk about this."
Me: "Good idea! That way, when we step in this pile of shit, we'll know what we're stepping in!"
Pops: "Huh? No, wait...I meant that we shouldn't step in shit."
Me: (Looking confused.) "What?"
Me: Steps in shit.

No biggie. Had one of the servants shine my shoes that very day.

Though no veteran would ever think of himself as "pro-war,"

For example, I, John McCain, am a veteran, and I will prove that I not "pro-war" by writing a pro-war essay for CNN, which follows a military career where I made war in Vietnam, and then led the charge for the war in Iraq, justifying that war by claiming that the Iraqis were responsible for the anthrax attacks in the post office.

I believe that the fight in Afghanistan is critical to our national security.

Those Taliban sure do like to project their military might across vast oceans, and ride their motorcycles filled with homemade bombs right up the ramparts of freedom. Right up to the front door of my beer distributorship. Can't have that.

Our goals there are achievable...

Of course, after 8 years of achieving virtually nothing, this may seem like a bold statement. But I am not afraid of a bold statement. Remember what I said back in 2000?

"I´d institute a policy that I call "rogue state rollback." I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments."

Also, I thought Sarah Palin would make a great vice-president.

and success is worth the continued sacrifice.

Not sacrifice for me, of course. Sacrifice for our dead and maimed soldiers, for the thousands of innocent Afghans who will be killed and maimed, for the taxpayer, for the average Afghan citizen, yes. But not for me personally. Or for anyone in my family, because they don't need to join the Marines to pay for groceries for their kids. But I can promise you, that, while sitting in one my seven luxury mansions, I will feel the pain just as though it was mine.

We must succeed in Afghanistan for many reasons, but one stands above all: the world walked away from Afghanistan once, and it descended into a cauldron of violence, hatred and human rights atrocities that served as the base for the worst terrorist attack in history against our homeland.

Of course, none of those terrorists were ever actually based in Afghanistan, but who's counting? There are violent people there! They hate people! And their human rights are atrocious. We really should kill them all. Of course, I don't mean this in a pro-war sort of way.

We cannot let that happen again, and we cannot let the Taliban and its al Qaeda allies conquer Afghanistan once more.

Furthermore, there are at least 100 Al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan. The whole country is virtually swarming with them!
Yes, I know that most Al Qaeda operatives are in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia? But who cares? We're talking about Afghanistan, dammit! Attack, Attack, Attack! Face...(Editor: Choking sounds, audible heart rate increase) Kill! Bomb, Bomb, Bomb!

Sorry. Don't take that as being pro-war. I'm a veteran, damn it all!

Failure of this kind would also destabilize the entire strategically vital region, including nuclear-armed Pakistan.

I'm going to repeat this over and over, even though there is no evidence that leaving Afghanistan will do anything to destabilize Pakistan, and even though many experts believe that leaving them alone will result in them sorting out their own problems.

Nice little region you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it...

We know what it takes to succeed in Afghanistan: a resolute commitment to the principles of counterinsurgency, which turned Iraq around during the surge.

I know this because I still believe that Iraq and Afghanistan are the same country. I am an expert in foreign policy. I was a prisoner of war once, dammit. I spent five and a half years in a cage in Vietnam, eating maggots, being beaten with cane sticks, and reading Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Remember when I said that Iraq and Pakistan shared a border? Or when I referred last year to the Czechoslovakian energy crisis, even though Czechoslovakia hadn't actually existed in 16 years? Or how about when I referred to the Georgia-Russia incident last year as "a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression."

I personally told Sarah Palin about how Putin liked to rise up!

I am confident that properly resourced counterinsurgency policy,

Meaning, according to the Army Field Manual, around 500,000 more US troops, or about 10 times the number we have now.

adapted to the unique culture and geography of Afghanistan,

Of which, I, John McCain, know absolutely diddly-squat

can lead to success there. Our entire military chain of command supports this approach, as do our NATO allies, which they made clear at their recent defense ministerial meeting in Bratislava.

None of these other military people, of course, are pro-war either. And of course, they don't make a living by fighting wars. So of course they are completely neutral.

And I only mentioned Bratislava because I recently learned how to pronounce it, and I feel as though it makes me sound intellectual-learned, almost. Bratislava. It just rolls off the tongue.

Also, it says a lot that NATO supports us. It's not like they're going to contribute any troops or money, but they will give us lots of moral support. Cindy said she thinks that just means that they're going to sit back and laugh at us, but I think don't think the French would ever stoop to that.


I supported President Obama when he called for a counterinsurgency plan in March, and I did so again when he deployed Gen. Stanley McChrystal to lead the command in Kabul.

However, being wrong twice just isn't enough for a McCain.

I agree with our commander's assessment of the security situation as "deteriorating"

This shouldn't surprise anyone. We've only had 8 years!

and that our civilian and military leaders urgently need more resources, including more combat troops, to turn the tide toward success.

Granted, we haven't ever defined what success even is, but I'm sure another trillion dollars, 500,000 more troops, and about 20 years oughta do the trick.

I sympathize with our president, because sending men and women into harm's way is the most difficult decision that a commander-in-chief must make.


(Editor: here we heard sounds of violent spasms, follwed by a couple clicks while the recorder was stopped and then restarted.)

However, Americans are already serving in harm's way in Afghanistan, and the sooner we can provide the reinforcements and resources they need, the safer and more successful they will be.

This is so obvious I can't believe I have to say it. It reminds me of the time one of our mansions burned down. The place was utter chaos- a total conflagration. It was beyond help. We have 100 servants, but there were only 12 inside the house at the time. They were keeping the plants watered. Cindy wanted me to get the 12 out of the house so they wouldn't burn to death, but I said "What? Are you crazy? No! Send the other 88 inside!"

So I am urging President Obama to move as quickly as possible to fully support Gen. McChrystal's request for more troops.

Just don't think I'm being "pro-war" for wanting to send more soldiers into a war that we started.

It is true that the Afghan government is not as strong or credible as we would like,

Haha! Those jokers wouldn't know a government if it hit 'em in the side of the head. But what do I care.

but that should not deter us from committing more civilian and military resources now.

Nor will a mountain of evidence the size of the Seven Summits combined, for I have made up my mind.

Local governments in counterinsurgency environments are usually weak and fledgling.
There is an insurgency in the first place because it seeks to exploit the local population's dissatisfaction with its government. As long as Afghanistan is insecure, it is unreasonable to assume that governance will improve.
That is why protecting the population must be job one right now, and in the immediate term, much of that work must be done by U.S. and NATO troops. As security improves, however, we will be able to train capable, battle-tested Afghan security forces that can defend their country.

We'll do this even though there has really never been a nation of Afghanistan, or an actual Afghan army. But we'll buy one. They'll be so grateful that when we finally leave, in 2037, they'll wait at least 2 or 3 weeks before splitting back up into their tribes and using the weapons we gave them to start fighting one another again.

We can break the insurgency's momentum, enabling Afghans to reconcile with former fighters who are willing to lay down their arms.

I have no idea of how this is supposed to happen. But it sounded good when someone told me the other day. I think it was one of the Israeli dudes.

And we can create an environment of safety in which it is more realistic to expect Afghan leaders to meet the high standards of their fellow citizens and their international partners -- namely, the provision of justice and opportunity, the protection of human rights and a crackdown on corruption.

And then we can all go dancing merrily through the enchanted forest, following the gingerbread trail to the Easter Bunny's house, where I'll meet Goldilocks and be given a bowl of perfectly heated porridge. And a pony.

Ultimately, Afghans will judge the legitimacy of their government not only by the result of one round of voting, but by its performance in delivering basic services.

And by both of those measures, the Afghan government has failed miserably, but I forgot to mention that in my column.

Success in Afghanistan will emerge, as it did in Iraq, when local leaders and citizens are more and more able to take responsibility for governing and securing their own sovereign country without substantial international assistance.

Because I don't believe that tens of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq, as well as billions of dollars in aid to Iraq every month, counts as substantial assistance. Also, I think that as long as Iraqi government buildings are only blown up on weekends, we can call that a success. Also, I still think Iraq is Afghanistan.

This won't be perfect or easy, but it will allow America's fighting men and women to leave Afghanistan with honor, and it will enable Afghans to build a better, more peaceful future. That is our goal,

I know I said it was to keep America safe from terrorists, but that was like 10 minutes ago!

and we must stay in the fight until it is won.

Just like Vietnam.

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