John McCain said he was surprised that Nuri al-Maliki would abruptly launch an operation against Basra. It seems to me that there are only two possibilities here.Here's my take on it:
Either McCain really did not know and did not anticipate the trouble in Basra, in which case he does not know much about Iraq and isn't better qualified to deal with it than anyone else.
Or, he and Cheney helped put Al-Maliki up to the whole thing while he was there, and now is petrified that someone will hang the fiasco around his neck.
Cheney was the "brains" behind the attack on Basra. And McCain, who was in Iraq with Cheney just before the attack, knows that perfectly well.In fact, if I was John McCain, I might start worrying about being assassinated.
Cheney wanted to get Moqtada's fist off the Basra oil spiggot. His political clock is running down and he wanted to inflict a heavy defeat on Al Sadr so Al-Maliki can push through those Oil Laws before November. That will be the real "Mission Accomplished" moment for Cheney.
One of Al-Maliki's top generals said they needed a few more months before any attack on Al Sadr could be ready. He was threatened with dismissal. Sounds familiar? As Rumsfeld once said, you go to war with the army you've got. Once again, it wasn't good enough.
Blame Cheney. And don't imagine McCain doesn't know what's going on. Cheney is now playing an increasingly dangerous End Game, and McCain's political hopes are riding the storm.
McCain's candidacy is the last desperate act of a political and cultural elite whose ideological, financial and military excesses have crippled the very notion of the 21st Century US Empire they once imagined. That McCain won the GOP nomination shows how this elite group still maintain an iron grip on the party. But if Cheney cannot pull an oil-soaked rabbit out of his hat very soon, McCain's campaign is going to be looking increasingly ridiculous. At that stage, somebody very high up (maybe even Cheney) might decide enough is enough.
Josh Marshall recently mentioned a work of fiction where the Republican candidate is murdered in a violent terrorist attack. Couldn't happen? Just think of the sympathy vote it would deliver to the replacement cadidate:
"Vote GOP #1 - because terrorists don't want you to vote Republican."It would of course help if the alleged perpetrators appeared to be Iranians (at least till after Tehran was bombed).
Meanwhile, Al-Maliki is declaring victory:
"We went to Basra after its people complained of criminals who targeted the government's security, its men, women, clerics, doctors and engineers," he said in a statement broadcast by state television.Latest figures indicate over a thousand Iraqis killed in March, including over 900 civilians. Heckuva job, Nouri.
"The government responded and fulfilled its responsibility. We delivered a painful blow to these gangs. They lost their mind and escaped leaving their weapons in the streets."