Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Woodshed

Juan Cole determines (accurately) John McCain as having "Rumsfeld Disease":

The greatest fallacy of all is in McCain's assumption that short-term changes in the Baghdad security environment, produced by deploying an extra US division there, can necessarily be translated into long-term gains. It is much more likely that guerrillas are just lying low and will come right back out when the Americans draw back down (the US can't keep an extra division in Iraq forever.)

McCain is typical of the hawks of his generation, which lost the Vietnam War. For many of them, a war on Iraq promised vindication and restoration of pride. It had all the delights of a Rambo movie, but the advantage of being real. The problem is that in both cases, Vietnam and Iraq, the US fought local nationalisms dressed up in universal ideologies (Communism, Islamism & Baathism). It is a losing proposition, for the most part. Local nationalisms mostly win out these days.