McCain Declares Victory In Iraq: De-Baathification Law Means ‘We’re
John McCain (R-AZ) repeatedly and misleadingly labels any gains in Iraq as breathtaking
victories. As early as November, he said that “we’ve
succeeded militarily.” Last week, he declared that “the
After the Iraqi government this weekend passed its new de-Baathification
law — which “would allow thousands of former Baathists who were not involved in
past crimes against Iraqis to fill
posts in the Shiite-dominated government” — McCain added “political reconciliation”
to his victory list. At a campaign stop today, McCain said that the new law is evidence
that “we’re succeeding politically”:
Now, six months ago, the Democrats were saying we’ve lost the war militarily. […]
My friends, you would have to suspend disbelief to believe that it’s not. So then
they said, after we succeeded militarily, Well, you can’t succeed politically. You’re
not moving forward politically. Well, now we’re succeeding politically.
The right wing is now echoing McCain’s victory celebration. The National Review writes:
“Yesterday we were losing in Iraq, today
we are winning.” The law has “shown us what real political reconciliation
The law’s language hardly
guarantees true political reconciliation. Juan Cole observed that legislation
was actually spearheaded by the
most anti-Baathist groups, and opposed by former Baathists:
If the new law was good for ex-Baathists, then the ex-Baathists in parliament will
have voted for it and praised it, right? And likely the Sadrists (hard line anti-Baath
Shiites) and Kurds would be a little upset.
Instead, parliament’s version of this law was spearheaded by Sadrists, and
the ex-Baathists in parliament criticized it.
Additionally, barely 150
members of the 275-seat parliament attended the session. The New York Times also
notes that the law may actually end up undermining
the U.S. strategy of incorporating Sunnis into security forces, as it may exclude
more former Baathists than it lets back in, particularly in security ministries.
The U.S. embassy in Iraq was “notably
cautious,” refusing to comment a full day after the legislation was passed.
UPDATE: Spencer Ackerman has