Sen. McCain and Rep. Pence on Iraq: Delusional RepublicansIf it isn't disappointing enough to watch Sen. John McCain do anything and everything to pander to the far right of the Republican Party, his recent assessment of Iraq, along with Indiana Rep. Mike Pence's, reveals a fundamental disconnect between Republican visions of grandeur (Cheney still calls Iraq a remarkable "success") and the realities on the ground. In particular, Rep. Pence, upon visiting a Baghdad market, stated that it reminded him of "normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime." Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Sen. McCain "declared that his ability to walk freely around the marketplace was a sign of a significant improvement in security in Iraq." McCain even went so far as to declare that ""Gen. Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee." In contrast to McCain's rose-colored glasses, though, CNN's Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware, who has lived in Iraq for four years, quickly responded, "[I]n the hour since Sen. McCain's said this, I've spoken to military sources and there was laughter down the line. I mean, certainly the general travels in a humvee. There's multiple humvees around it, heavily armed." Sorry, Sen. McCain, no apology for misspeaking is going to suffice in justifying these bizarre, out-of-touch assessments of the situation in Iraq.
In fact, the marketplace where Pence and McCain took their leisurely stroll has often been the site of heavy bombings, and locals were less than kind in response to these two prominent Republicans delusional assessments. On the same day that both men were traipsing through the Baghdad market, schoolchildren were bombed in Kirkuk, unfortunately. Meanwhile, daily attacks on Baghdad's green zone have actually gone up rather than gone down, recently.
Pence and McCain should stop carrying water for the Bush administration and making blind assertions on the "success" of the Iraq invasion and instead focus on solutions for getting us out of this awful war.