Saturday, September 27, 2008

Projected McCain claims in debate

Democracy Arsenal predicted 10claims that John McCain would make in the September 26 debate at Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi).
10 Claims John McCain will make in tonight's debate
Posted by Max Bergmann

Here are ten claims to watch for from John McCain tonight:

Claim 1: McCain will say his foreign policy is different from that of George W. Bush. Reality: On the critical issues, ranging from advocating the invasion of Iraq only days after 9/11 to declaring premature victory in Afghanistan, to saber rattling on Iran and refusing to use tough diplomacy, John McCain's policies are in lock step with those of George W. Bush.

Claim 2: John McCain will tout his judgment, saying he hates war. Reality: John McCain has taken a dangerously aggressive approach to foreign policy advocating attacking six different countries in the last eight years. Moreover, McCain retains many of the same Neocon advisors who pushed for the war in Iraq in the first place.

Claim 3: McCain will say he has long been a critic of the war in Iraq. Reality: McCain was an early supporter of the Iraq War, linking Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction. He supported the Rumsfeld strategy of going with a minimal number of troops and said the war would be "easy." He continued to argue for staying the course until 2006.

Claim 4: McCain will take credit for the "surge" and argue that the troop increase is responsible for the entire decline in violence and that as a result we have succeeded. Reality: Military leaders have acknowledged that there were numerous reasons for the reduction in violence including the Anbar Awakening and political engagement with Muqtada al-Sadr. In fact, McCain confused the sequence of events in Iraq arguing that the troop increase caused the Anbar Awakening, even though the Anbar Awakening came first. Moreover, General Petraeus has warned that it is too early to declare victory as John McCain and his allies are doing.

Claim 5: McCain will say he wants to send more troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reality: McCain has continued to make Iraq the number one priority and has not explained how he will keep large troop levels in Iraq while meeting the requirements in Afghanistan and elsewhere laid out by military commander and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He has shown little interest in Afghanistan saying we can just "muddle through" in 2003 and declaring victory in 2005. In fact, McCain had no policy on Afghanistan until July 15, 2008 and Afghanistan did not come up once in all of the major speeches during the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, Barack Obama and progressives have been sounding the alarm for years.

Claim 6: McCain will say he will get Osama Bin Laden and go after Al Qaeda. Reality: John McCain was a strong early supporter of the Iraq war - a war that resulted in assets and focus being pulled away from the hunt for Bin Laden and Afghanistan. While Obama has supported going after high-value targets in al Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan, McCain has criticized Obama for a position that has now become official U.S. policy.

Claim 7: McCain will cite his response to the crisis in Georgia as evidence of good judgment. Reality: McCain recklessly issued bellicose statements without waiting for all the facts, while Barack Obama, other world leaders, and even President Bush took a more measured approach. McCain then went on to claim that "we are all Georgians." In fact, McCain has had a dangerous policy towards Russia for some time, proposing to kick them out of the G8 - a policy that would preclude any cooperation on critical issues such as nonproliferation.

Claim 8: McCain will say that talking to Iran is weak and naive. Reality: There is a bipartisan consensus on the need to talk to Iran. Five secretaries of state including Henry Kissinger and Jim Baker all agreed recently that we have to talk to them directly. Obama's plan calls for tough direct diplomacy in combination with sanctions and other pressures. McCain's plan of refusing to talk is the same policy that George Bush pursued until very recently - a policy that has failed and that if continued will one day force the U.S. to make a no-win decision between attacking Iran or allowing it to attain a nuclear weapons capability.

Claim 9: McCain will say he can work effectively with our allies. Reality: John McCain has a long history of belligerence and heated rhetoric towards our allies. In the run up to the Iraq War he called France and Germany "vacuous and posturing" and referred to them as our "adversaries." Recently he said he might not meet with Spain's Prime Minister and on top of that he is quite unpopular internationally.

Claim 10: McCain will say he will cut wasteful defense spending. Reality: McCain has been all over the map on defense spending. His plan to add about 200,000 ground troops to the military would cost $25 billion a year. Meanwhile, in his budget plan released in July he promised to cut $160 billion from the budget by opposing the Future Combat System, yet he now criticizes Obama's promise to cut spending on that same program. See the data after the jump.

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