Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a likely presidential contender, leveled one of his harshest assessments yet, saying U.S. troops are "fighting and dying for a failed policy." He renewed his call for more U.S. troops in Iraq and said it is immoral to keep them fighting at the current deployment levels.The article, regrettably, does not give Senator McCain's estimate of the "deployment level" at which it would be morally acceptable to keep The Troops fighting. I'm not hard to get along with; I would agree with Sen. Straight Talk that such a level exists. I doubt, though, that I could get him to agree with me about what that level is: exactly zero.
Wait, though -- there's more:
On ABC's "This Week," McCain reiterated his argument that the United States faces a catastrophic setback in Iraq unless it deploys more troops to reduce sectarian violence and stabilize the country. "We have to have additional forces, or we will be playing whack-a-mole," he said.Here, too, the story is frustratingly incomplete. It fails to tell us whether any of the "This Week" sages asked Mr. McCain to identify the classic arcade game we'd be playing with the requisite additional forces; we're left to guess. I'll guess "Death Race 2000," or maybe the unforgettable "Space Invaders."
And then there's Congressman Charles Rangel:
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) has long advocated returning to the draft, but his efforts drew little attention during the 12 years that House Democrats were in the minority. Starting in January, however, he will chair the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Yesterday he said "you bet your life" he will renew his drive for a draft.Now, there's a man who really has a way with words. "You bet your life?" No, not your life; more likely, some callow 19-to-26-year-old's life. Yes, yes, I know he doesn't really want the draft back; he just sees this as a way to make "political leaders" (i.e., presidents) "think twice" about optional foreign wars. Would I seem ungrateful to Rep. Rangel if I suggested that there are more straightforward ways to induce that second thought? You might try refusing to fund such a war, Congressman; after all, the purse strings are supposedly in your institutional hand. You might try removing war criminals from the offices that they infest. Oh, but that's just not practical, is it? No, much better to bust out the Ironic Gesture. Besides, remember that there's the Non-Military Alternative
"I will be introducing that bill as soon as we start the new session," Rangel said on CBS's "Face the Nation." He portrayed the draft, suspended since 1973, as a means of spreading military obligations more equitably and prompting political leaders to think twice before starting wars.
Finally, one of the New Bosses illustrates the deep commitment of the Democratic Party to the principles of peace:
And Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, repeated yesterday his view that troop withdrawals must begin within four to six months.I don't get this one either. American soldiers are either in Iraq to accomplish some particular task, or they are not. If not, complete and immediate withdrawal is an obvious imperative; there's no reason in the world why it should start later than this afternoon, or why it should take more than two weeks at the outside. If they are: the only "mission" which will definitely be accomplished by staying for six months is, well ... staying six months. What, Sen. Levin, do you say to the survivors of the numerous soldiers who are regrettably certain to be killed during your six months' "grace period?" What do you say to those who are merely maimed -- have their arms or legs blown off? The questions, I admit, are rhetorical -- we already know what he'll say. The content-free stuff of a thousand Memorial Day speeches, no doubt.
The varying proposals underscored the extent to which key policymakers remain at odds two weeks after voters registered deep discontent over the war and restored Democrats to power in Congress.
Here's hoping for bad dreams and indigestion for many of our public nuisances this week.