[Marxism] McCain-Lieberman push for more war in Wash. Post

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun May 16 06:00:03 MDT 2004

Note that McCain and Lieberman insist that all that is involved in the
torture/sex abuse crimes at Abu Ghraib is "the soldiers who committed
these atrocities" and thus "marred the reputation of our country."

They reiterate the calls for a substantial increase in US troop levels,
denounce the settlement in Fallujah, and for US help to Iraqi liberals
(supporters of the occupation) in the election.

I take this  is a sign that a Kerry-McCain ticket is a growing
possibility  -- a fusion ticket for a nation at war, selected at the
Democratic convention, but representing both the Democrats and a
significant section of Republicans on a program for continuing the war
against Iraq despite the growing signs that the Bush administration is
beginning to come apart. So far, Kerry has only proposed McCain as his
Defense Secretary while saying nothing about his vice presidential

What we need now is a big antiwar demonstration in Washington, and one
possibility for this is to move in behind the June 5 demonstration
called by ANSWER.  There are other possibilities, but the opportunity
should not be missed because of tensions between other groups and
ANSWER.  US out of Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!
Fred Feldman  

What Must Come Next 

By John McCain and Joe Lieberman
Sunday, May 16, 2004; Page B07 

The photos and reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib have understandably
commanded America's attention. The soldiers who committed these
atrocities have marred the reputation of our country and have made the
lives of American personnel in Iraq more dangerous and difficult. Their
crimes have led some observers to question our presence in Iraq and the
justness of our cause. 
Yet we will have exponentially magnified the mistakes made in Abu Ghraib
if we allow these abuses to destroy our goal of a free and democratic
Iraq. Success in Iraq remains possible, and it is more necessary now
than ever. While the path to success must involve a number of steps, a
few are absolutely critical. We have a security problem and a political
problem, and we need solutions for both. 

On the security side, we must begin with an immediate and significant
increase in our troop levels. We should sharply increase the number of
troops, including Marines and Special Operations forces, to conduct
offensive operations, and add other types of forces, including
linguists, intelligence officers and civil affairs officers. Relying
solely on reservists, guardsmen, extended rotations and troops in the
country to fill the security gap will not be sufficient. The Pentagon
should strongly consider redeploying large numbers of troops from our
bases in the United States, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. They are needed
in the short to medium terms to stabilize key areas, turn the tide
against the insurgents and return a sense of tangible authority to the

We will also continue to see instability increase as long as we make
security pledges that are left unfilled. Our retreat from Fallujah has
emboldened the insurgents and convinced some Iraqis that America lacks
the will or the means to enforce its demands. While it is difficult to
criticize tactical decisions from Washington, our personnel in Iraq must
show the determination to keep their promises. Our troops can display
full resolve only by exercising the military action necessary to back up
the words of political authorities. Part of this determination must mean
a quick end to all independent militias in Iraq. The country will never
be stable as long as bands of armed fighters roam. The coalition
authorities should fold into the new Iraqi army the vetted members of
some militias, and the rest must face a choice: Disarm and disband or be
forced to do so. 

While we pursue a revamped security strategy, we also need to deal anew
with the political situation in Iraq. With no one yet identified to lead
Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty, and with some questioning even
the date for the handover, there is a dangerous political vacuum. This
has resulted in uncertainty and instability, and an increasing sense of
"us versus them," in which the "them" is the coalition. We need to
reduce the uncertainty as soon as possible by clearly announcing now our
plan for events after June 30, beginning with a commitment to the
turnover date. Were we to decide now that the United States will
continue the occupation beyond June 30, we would feed the suspicions of
all those who believe that we are in Iraq for conquest rather than

The June 30 handover must mean more than the transfer of policymaking
power from Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters to the new U.S.
Embassy. It must also mean something more than handing power -- whether
over government ministries or military forces -- back to the Baathists
from whom we rightly wrested it a year ago. The handover should
represent a short-term transfer of sovereignty to a caretaker government
that will quickly pave the way for elections. No Iraqi government can
derive legitimacy simply through selection by the United Nations or the
United States. Real legitimacy is derived only from the free choice of
the Iraqi people. 

For this reason, we should strongly consider moving up the date of the
planned elections from January to this fall. Iraqis currently have
little opportunity to turn their political desires into government
decisions, and Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish Iraqis all fear losing out in a
political process dominated by outsiders. In this atmosphere, some have
turned to violence, and more may follow. The political focus in Iraq
should revolve around waging and winning elections, not around currying
favor with or opposing the United Nations and the United States.
Accordingly, the United States and the United Nations should move ahead
as quickly as possible with a full plan for democratic elections, one
that will ensure that Iraqi liberals can compete fairly in local
constituencies with Islamists organized nationally. 

In Iraq our national security interests and our national values
converge. Iraq is the test of a generation, for America and for our role
in the world. We will endure setbacks, as the past weeks have painfully
illustrated. But our focus must remain on our ultimate objective:
helping to fashion a responsible and representative Iraqi government,
with legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqis and the world. We do not have the
luxury of time. 

John McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona. Joe Lieberman is a
Democratic senator from Connecticut. 

C 2004 The Washington Post Company


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