McCain on the surge - Granite Grok

McCain on the surge

THE most important to me in this Presidential race is the Global War on Terror.  Actually, this is very much misnamed, now that I have learned more and seen more in the years since that violent attack on September 11, 2001.  Given that, it should be renamed to the Global War on Islamofascism, or the Global War on Radical Islamism, as it is clear that the Islamofascists hate us. 

Why?  Because we do not believe what they want us to.  Islam means submission, and in their eyes, it must be total and without reservation.  When they look at our Western liberal democracies, they see "me" orientedness – not Allah oriented and certainly not a sharia law oriented  environment.  They want nothing else than for us, unbelievers and infidels, to either convert or die.

There are no in-betweens.  There is no space for diplomacy – oh, perhaps for a short time, but only as a hudna – a time to regroup, strengthen, and then carry the battle forward.  And their battle is not just military in nature, nor just terroristic in tactics, but will be waged using our own  laws and traditions as well (re: taxi refusals to seeing eye dogs and unwillingness to scan pork products in stores).  Any way that their agenda can be pushed, to force acceptance of their sharia law, will be used.

Senator McCain is willing to bet large – he is willing to sacrifice his last shot to gain the office of the President on our safety.  While some may believe that his concentration on the War is nothing more than a tactic, I see it differently.  While there are stances of his with which I disagree with, this is NOT one of them.  If it came down to one issue, and one issue only, on this I would vote for Senator McCain – he sees this as being past politics – it is about the safety of our country.  Yes, in a heartbeat, I’d vote for him if this was the only issue.

Mr. Pelley of 60 Minutes, I feel, tried to put a hit piece on McCain and tried to put him in a bad light. My take on his trying to trap Senator McCain can be seen below – a liberal journalist already predisposed against any war, is willing to put the defense of American liberal ideals (the traditional liberties of our society – at risk.

McCain Discusses Iraq Market Visit

Senator John McCain says the House, the Senate and the majority of the American people are all wrong when it comes to Iraq.

Certainly, I believe him about the House and the Senate – they have shown lately that the Democrats in power wish to recreate their Viet Nam hey day once again.  And I agree with what I have seen – if they cut the funding, they will be casting themselves out into the hinterland – history will repeat itself.

I also believe that while most Americans may want us out of Iraq, they want it as Victors first – not retreaters – then leave.

But let me point out – after WINNING WWII, our troops are still in Germany and Japan, 60 years later.  And we are still in Bosnia a decade later having won nothing.  This I blame on Europe for not willing to defend itself or its ideals- lots of words, lots of rhetoric, lack of action.

He set out to prove it last week by walking into the heart of Baghdad. What he said about security after that walk set off front page outrage in the media. Correspondent Scott Pelley and a 60 Minutes team were the only reporters with McCain.

Of course outrage seethed in the media!  It went against their template of "we’re losing" and now, on concert with the Dems version of "we cannot win".  And why not be outraged with him?  After all, they lionized him last time around, helped him create and maintain his "maverick" monniker – and then he puts them on notice! He’s not playing with them this time – this time, he played them.

McCain is gambling his bid for the White House on success in the war. When Pelley sat down with him in Iraq, he said Americans can’t lose their nerve now, just when he thinks there’s reason to hope.

"I believe that we can succeed and I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic. Those who say ‘Just withdraw,’ then you say, ‘What next?’" Sen. McCain says.

"I wonder at what point do you stop doing what you think is right and you start doing what the majority of the American people want?" Pelley asks.

This last question is the crux of the difference between Liberals (and the media is chock full of them by any and all studies I have ever seen). There is much to be said to be standing on principle, and I give McCain LOTS for doing so, even when it hurts.  Especially when it hurts!

And Pelley gives no indication of WHY the American people have grown tired – fed a constant diet of nothing but bad news and death counts of our Armed Forces.  We are an optimistic people, generally, but after years of nothing but negative, even an optimist would crack.

What makes me believe that what Senator McCain is saying is right is simple – I read the first hand accounts coming from the milblogs and other non-MSM related media outlets – we hear not the stories of courage, of faithfulness, and of putting yourself second behind your mates.  We hear not the stories of "random acts of kindness" and of sacrifice of our service members towards each other – and to the Iraqis.  We don’t hear the stories of reconstruction, of improving conditions; all we hear is the media’s drone of negativity.

Pelley – you sir, are part of the huge problem that exists – not the solution that you believe yourself to be.

"Well, again, I disagree with what the majority of the American people want. Failure will lead to chaos, withdrawal will lead to chaos," McCain replies.
 
With pressure to withdraw building at home, McCain landed in the midst of the Baghdad surge and did something that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.
 
The new commander, Army General David Petraeus, sealed McCain inside the latest armored Humvee, soldiers call it a "Full Up Frag 5," and took McCain on a Sunday drive to the market.

Failure cannot be an option in this war of ideology.  No one has said that this would be short, easy, or cheap.  Yes, years have passed.  Many more will – and the media needs to take the lead of marshalling the American people.  The media itself has this conflated image of itself being the "taker downer of authority " –  shades of ever present Watergate-itis.

Hey guys – don’t you watch your own ratings and readership numbers tanking? While you may be pooh-poohing America’s status, your’s keeps slipping as well.  Trust me, if the Islamofascists win – you will be among the first to lose your privileged status.

Gen. Petraeus wrote the book on the Bush administration’s new strategy. He started eight weeks ago, moving U.S. troops off bases and into neighborhoods to clear and hold the streets. The centerpiece is the al Shorja market. Two months ago it was devastated by a car bomb. Now the Army has banned vehicles and laid on extra security.

Petraeus brought McCain to a rug shop, an ordinary scene, until you step back to see the 22 soldiers outside. Inside, McCain did his own reporting, asking the rug merchant, "In the last two months are things better or worse?"

The merchant said things are better, but, he said, there are snipers in the neighborhood that sometimes paralyze the market.

The tour of the bazaar seemed, well, a little bizarre. The delegation played the role of tourists while surrounded by enormous firepower. The guns, though, couldn’t protect McCain from his own words.

Two months can be a lifetime in politics.  In setting a new direction, initiating a new strategy? Hardly a spit in time.  Yet, there are signs of improvement , and Senator McCain is being held to a fault for looking for some optimism? 

The piece continues, with a recounting of how much force (armored vehicles, armed soldiers, and helicopters) were needed for Senator McCain to take his walk in backing up his earlier words of:

 

And he said this on the radio: "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today."

And gets taken to task by the piece.  You know, I really do believe that McCain, if allowed, would have strolled around regardless of the display of force protecting him.  Right – what General, in his right mind, is going to let the terrorists have pot shots at one of the most important people in the US?  Again, the media is trying to find dirt in all the wrong places.  McCain does do unscripted stuff (I saw that first hand as the ‘Grok team attended one of his NH Town Hall appearances – non-favorable things come to light when anyone can ask anything – but McCain dutifully and honestly answered every question – even if this conservative wasn’t thrilled with the answers.  You HAVE to give him kudos for that!).  And when you do that, things are going to be "misspoken" – gee, a fact that the media just lapped up last go around….
 

"I understand why they would provide me with that security but I can tell you if it had been two months ago and I’d asked to do it, they’d a said, ‘Under no circumstances whatsoever.’ I view that as a sign of progress," McCain tells Pelley.

The fact is, here is Senator McCain is trying to show progress, and the media is having none of it.

"You mentioned in an interview that General Petraeus sometimes goes into Baghdad in an unarmored Humvee, and that there were neighborhoods you can walk though without being concerned for your safety," Pelley asks the senator.

"There is no unarmored Humvee, obviously that’s the case," McCain says. "I’m trying to make the point over and over and over again that we are making progress. There are signs of progress. But it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough."

 
[snip]
 
He’s worried that the market misspeak is distracting from his conviction that the strategy is working after years of mismanagement by the Bush administration.
 
[snip] 

Success of the surge is critical to the campaign. But at home, for the moment, voters aren’t convinced.

I ask one question – other than the durge of the daily American death count, how much news does the media actually give us?  I am convinced that the media is acting as the choke point, intentionally, to be able to shape the news now so that the future news will be what they want.  Reporters of news?  No, they want to shape American public opinion…..no, objective news went out the window years ago.

[snip]

And above all is the McCain mantra that the Republican party has been spending the country into ruin. "We let spending get out of control to a degree where it led to corruption," he says.

How did it happen?

"We lost our way. We began to value power over principle," McCain says.

"It’s not the party that you hoped it would be?" Pelley asks,

"Absolutely," McCain says. "Nor is it the party that Ronald Reagan hoped we would be."

This is talk that does my heart good.  I do believe that the Republicans have lost their way – the lure of power did corrupt the party to the detriment of its principles.  Once that happens, bad things can only follow.  And did.

McCain correctly identifies the problem – when power is craved without  relation to principles and fail to carry out what they said they will, those that voted you into power will figure it out. 

And remove you.

"CBS News did a poll in March, and asked people, ‘How old do you think the President of the United States should be?’ More than half said in his 50s. Would you hazard a guess how many thought the president should be in his 70s?" Pelley asks.

"I don’t like this line of questioning at all. I find it offensive. I’m sure that it was a small, it was a small number. But, let me respond to that right away," McCain replies.

"It was zero, Senator," Pelley points out.

"Okay, zero. But, the fact is that it’s how you display yourself. I work seven days a week, 12, 14, 16 hours a day. I didn’t see anybody in that town hall that was worried about my age. It’s how you conduct yourself that’s gonna be the key to it," McCain says.

At 70, he works even on the way to the barber. He seems inexhaustible. If McCain is stiff, it’s from the crippling injuries he suffered after he was shot down and then tortured in North Vietnam in 1967. There has been no return of the skin cancer that he battled seven years ago, but it left him with long scars which he covers with a joke.

Sorry, while age has to be considered, this is a "sandbag job", gotcha journalism.  I believe that no one could be found that can refute the notion that McCain is a workaholic.  While his age might be up there, look around at our senior citizens – alive longer, but also functioning better as well.  Go ahead, compare his outlook and demeanor to almost anyone else.

In his office, American history is a family portrait, five generations at West Point or Annapolis. Relatives include generals and admirals.

"This is my father in Vietnam when he was commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific," McCain says, pointing out a photo.

And now McCain’s family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son, 18 years old, headed to Iraq.

His son Jimmy volunteered to serve. Why?

"’Cause he’s a fine, patriotic American," McCain says.

Asked if he tried to talk his son out of it, the senator says, "No. But I really don’t talk about him or my other son very much. I think my son is no different than the thousands and thousands of other sons and daughters who decide they wanna serve their country. And I’m not sure it’s much more complicated than that."

Very telling, this line of questioning.  WHY would Senator McCain WANT to talk his son out of volunteering? McCain himself IS a war hero – he served his country willingly, was captured and spent years as a POW – he deserves our thanks and our gratitude.  Given all that, why does this journalist even think of asking such a thing? 

This shows the utter cluelessness of some journalists – so I’ll go off on another rant – yes, there are those that are willing to volunteer for low pay, hard times, and dangerous work.  Why?  

Simple – they love this country and want to defend her.  It may be more than that and Lord knows there can be lots of reasons, but it can be just that – a feeling of a duty to this country to keep it and its citizens safe.  ‘Nough said. 

My son served in the Marines – and not coming from a military family or background, I was thrilled and proud.  I see it as an honorable profession and calling – and we are far from being a poor and uneducated family.

 

[snip]

60 Minutes flew with McCain to Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni insurgency. On a U.S. base there he met with a Sunni sheikh whose father and two brothers were killed by al Qaeda. The sheikh told McCain that his tribe and others are now joining the U.S.

"Whoever points a gun at any American soldier, it’s like he points a gun at our families, at our military, and it’s the same thing," the sheik said.

To McCain it was a sign of progress, but he understands there’s still a war to fight. Over the two days of his visit, eight Americans were killed in action.

"Senator, are you betting your candidacy that the surge strategy is going to work?" Pelley asks.

"Oh, I think that may be the case. But I don’t worry about it or think about it," McCain says. "There’s too many young people who have sacrificed too much for our country and their sacrifice is far more important than any than any ambitions of mine. And I’ve said a few times I’d rather lose a campaign than lose a war."

A man of convictions – and on this, he gets my support.