IT’S ALL UP TO DAVE….Fred Kaplan:
The question must be asked: When it comes to national-security affairs — the heart of his campaign, the center of his career — does Sen. John McCain know what he’s talking about?
This is in response to McCain’s clueless recent comment that he wouldn’t move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan “unless Gen. Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that.” And I suppose ignorance is a possibility here. More likely, though, McCain does know that Petraeus isn’t responsible for decisions like this, but didn’t want to answer himself because it’s a tough question and he doesn’t like answering tough questions. And he figured the press would let him get away with it, because they usually do. So he punted, the same way Bush does whenever someone asks about Iraq these days:
Five-and-a-half years ago, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush was occasionally seen carrying a copy of Eliot A. Cohen’s book Supreme Command, which argued that, throughout American history, wartime presidents have often overruled their generals, sometimes with fortunate results. Bush’s message was clear: The Army’s generals were telling then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that they needed more troops for the invasion, but he and Rumsfeld were running the show.
Then, when everything went to hell, the two civilians started piling the burden on the very generals whose advice they’d dismissed. The war plan was “Tommy Franks’ plan,” Rumsfeld said over and over five years ago. Similarly, Bush now says the surge and everything about it is “Dave Petraeus’ plan.” How many troops he needs, and how long they stay there — that’s strictly up to Dave.
I thought it was up to Dick? No?