Friday, May 30, 2008

Is there anything McCain actually DOES know about Iraq?

I'm trying to avoid political rants outside my main areas of professional knowledge, but I am really starting to wonder about the old duffer.

We've already seen (from several statements) that he doesn't appear to know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

Yesterday he asserted that US troops in Iraq are back down to pre-surge levels in Iraq, which is not true. They're at 155,000, pre-surge was 130,000. This isn't just nitpicking - everyone who follows the issue in the newspaper knows that we are still at surge levels.

He doesn't know that the Iranians are in many ways our allies in Iraq. E.g., both we and the Iranians support the Iraqi government - which notoriously prefers them to us - reflecting that Sadr is more nationalistic and independent. He does not appear to grasp this, although in Republican circles this hardly singles him out.

His hilarious walk through that Baghdad market a year ago deserves to be remembered forever, indeed even if he loses the election. The version where the camera pulls back to show the whole scene remains the best clip I've seen on youtube, other than (a) the Tyree catch and (b) the Battle of Kruger. It showed a truly startling inability or unwillingness to see facts on the ground when they were staring him in the face (in the person of all those snipers and gunships that were protecting him).

I am frankly perplexed by all this. It seems to me that a person with a normal IQ who is interested in foreign policy and who simply reads the newspapers ought to know a lot more about Iraq than he evidently does. I assume he has at least a normal IQ. Is the explanation psychological?

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