Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), likes to often take credit for the surge. A sort of lone ranger, who well others were darting towards finding an exit strategy including several senators in his own party, McCain stood strong as the sole sage looking towards the future and seeing the success of an increase in troops as well as well as counterinsurgency tactics named after a failed soft drink (“The Surge”, get it), as a path to victory and for us to stay in that sweltering paradise for another century.
But according to legendary Washington Post Reporter and author of the new book “The War within”, Bob Woodward, McCain like he has on so many things, may have been shall we say experiencing a “War within” himself.
Woodward’s latest book about the Iraq war, “The War Within,” portrays McCain as offering a rosy assessment to the public about the surge’s progress while privately telling U.S. officials he thought the country was on the brink of losing the war.
The book describes McCain’s press conference after visiting the Shorja market in Baghdad in early April of 2007. After touring the market — protected by more than 100 soldiers — McCain said, “Things are getting better in Iraq, and I am pleased with the progress that has been made.”
McCain was widely mocked for those statements later after television crews showed the level of protection surrounding him at the market.
But what was not known at the time was how different his private assessment of the war was.
According to Woodward, McCain was invited to visit with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after he publicly made the positive comments at the market. “Rice had expected him to reiterate his optimism, but after some pleasantries, he let loose,” Woodward writes.
“We may be about to lose the second war in my lifetime,” Woodward quotes McCain as saying to Rice. Woodward writes that McCain “launched into a full-throated critique of the State Department’s role” in the war effort.
So much for that ‘straight talk express’, huh? Another article of proof that McCain’s reputation as a “Straight Talking Maverick” that he has carefully cultivated since his primary campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000 is just a mirage. By saying one thing in private and expressing an entirely different and incredibly rosy perspective in public this quite frankly makes McCain look alot like a certain President from Texas. No, not George W Bush. As far as everyone knows Bush has never had a shred of doubt about Iraq or much of anything else. Ironically this ex-Vietnam War POW comes off awful lot like Ex-President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was President through much of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War and the most intense bombing. Like McCain now, Johnson often gave an optimistic assessment and promises of ‘victory’ of the ever more unpopular Vietnam War in public, but behind the scenes had intense misgivings about the War and tactics used to fight it. The real question is what does McCain really think now? Does he really think that an ill defined and vague victory lies just on the horizon, or is it just a line to appeal to neoconservatives and his party’s base?