Sunday, April 15, 2007

There is no Plan B

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For John McCain, the surge is all there is:

Senator John McCain said that the buildup of American forces in Iraq represented the only viable option to avoid failure in Iraq and that he had yet to identify an effective fallback if the current strategy failed.

"I have no Plan B," Mr. McCain said in an interview. "If I saw that doomsday scenario evolving, then I would try to come up with one. But I cannot give you a good alternative because if I had a good alternative, maybe we could consider it now."

In a discussion of how he would handle Iraq if elected president, Mr. McCain said that the success of the Bush administration's strategy, which seeks to protect Baghdad residents so Iraqi political leaders have an opportunity to pursue a program of political reconciliation, was essentially a precondition for a more limited American role that could follow.

The problem, of course, is that the surge isn't really much of a surge, certainly not enough of one to make much of a difference in the long term. Any "success" is merely temporary and illusory -- for more on this, see here. (McCain thinks the surge has "a good shot" of succeeding, but he offers no guarantee.)

McCain suggests that as president he would consider withdrawal if the American people "run out of patience" and "demand that we get out". What McCain doesn't seem to understand is that the American people have already turned against the Iraq War and do not support the surge. If you're going to base policy decisions on public opinion, you should at least know what that opinion is.

There is no Plan B and Plan A is a likely failure.

This is what the war has come to.

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