Wednesday, July 30, 2008

With regards to the surge, Dick Polman has it right:
In the interests of a political detente, maybe Barack Obama should admit that he was wrong about the '07 troop surge in Iraq, and John McCain should admit that he was wrong about the '02 decision to invade. But since neither candidate is likely to budge, perhaps the big question for voters should be: In hindsight, whose misjudgment was worse?
The difference is that one guy was wrong about a tactic. The other guy was wrong about a fundamental national security decision.

McCain, naturally, wants the electorate to focus exclusively on the surge. And, yes, as it turns out, he was basically right about the surge (while overstating its prowess, as we shall see in a moment). But the surge, lest we forget, was basically a last-ditch tactic that was designed to mitigate a national security disaster, to get the conflagration under control. McCain was an early, unquestioning enabler of the invasion that sparked the conflagration. He helped set the whole house on fire (at a cost thus far of 4125 American lives and half a trillion dollars), yet now he wants to be reap political reward from the fact that he helped hose down some of the flames.
Obama needs to stop heeing and hawing concerning this question and forcefully make the point(s) Polman is making. It's typical that the Dem who has been so right on an issue does not stress it enough; if McCain had voted against the war, we'd never hear the end of it, it would be his #1 bragging point. But Obama was right from the start and he should stress that emphatically and proudly, and repeatedly.

It's similar to an investor who avoided buying a stock at $30 and another who correctly decided to sell that same stock weeks later at $12 before it went to $5. Are you going to credit more so the investor who avoided a $7 slide from $12, or the one who avoided the decline from $30 to $5? Let's get real people!

Also, we don't need a president who's good at mopping up messes he helped to create. We need one who has the judgement and wisdom to keep us out of messes, period. That in itself would be a refreshing change.

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