McCain Doctrine in Iraq Unraveling

John McCain is riding high in the polls right now. As of right now, he seems to be on the inside track to win the Presidential nomination. He is one of the few candidates who is currently leading Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the general election polls. And yet, it turns out that the McCain Doctrine on Iraq is now unraveling.

John McCain, whose campaign was left for dead last summer, was able to revive in part by portraying himself as a heroic figure who stood up and challenged the Bush administration on Iraq and called out Donald Rumsfeld. He was therefore able to attract Republican critics of the war that might otherwise have gone to Ron Paul; he was able to attract them by showing how the war was allegedly mismanaged. But McCain is now a ticking time bomb who is in danger of imploding. He hitched his wagons to the Petraeus Surge so that when there was more stability in Iraq, he could turn around and say that he was right all along. Already, Mitt Romney is drawing even with McCain in the polls in Florida.

John McCain’s political fortunes in this race rise or fall with the success or failure of the “surge.” And given the stories below, it seems that it has not addressed the ongoing violence in Iraq. People may argue at this point that there is a lot more stability in Iraq than there was several months ago. But the current relative stability in Iraq has nothing to do with the so-called “surge.” But it turns out that the current stability, which could unravel at any time, was a result of deals that were brokered by Northern Ireland and South African negotiators and 16 of the main Iraqi political factions. So, even if there was stability, John McCain cannot justifiably claim credit for it in the first place.

Last month, NPR reported on Iraqis going out and shopping during the Eid Holiday. But this brief period of hope has given way to a grim situation in which Iraqis are going without fuel and electricity:

You can’t have one without the other, but with many of Iraq’s power plants shut and refineries stopped, Iraqis have neither fuel nor electricity.

Iraq’s Electricity Ministry is blaming the Oil Ministry for cutting fuel supplies and Turkey for ending electricity imports.

The Oil Ministry says continuous power to its refineries will lead to continuous supplies of fuel.

“We hear a lot of promises but we see nothing,” Baghdad resident Amjad Kazim told Gulf News. Blackouts and long lines at the fuel stations are increasing as subsidized, state-controlled supplies run dry and the black market boosts prices.

In Baghdad’s neighborhoods, black market auto fuel prices have jumped by nearly 20 percent in the past week, according to

There is now only two hours of power a day in Iraq in most parts of the country, thanks to suppliers cutting exports to Iraq. And the fact that Iraq is an importer of oil and not an exporter of oil is significant — that means that the instability is still at the point where it is too risky to try to export oil to sell on the foreign markets. Back when we first invaded and occupied Iraq, we were told that we would have cheap oil. But now, not only are gas prices at record levels, Iraq is now an importer of oil rather than an exporter.

The shortage of fuel and energy in Iraq has led to massive displacement of people above and beyond the current refugee crisis. The article notes that there are homes where 20 people are taking refuge because they do not have electricity at their own homes.

And for all the claims that the McCain Doctrine has provided peace and stability in Iraq, it turns out that the McCain Doctrine cannot even provide basic security for oil installations:

Last week attackers showed their continued success, taking out towers and stations in Baghdad, Baiji and Kirkuk, which cut power from Baghdad and other areas to the north and west.

“Pylons and lines damaged in these areas cannot be repaired,” Sultan told the Azzaman newspaper, because it’s not safe enough for workers, long a target of insurgents, to enter the areas needing to be fixed. Sultan called on the United States to provide better security.

So, it seems that rather than the surge working, it seems that the people who are actively fighting our occupation have simply changed tactics. Rather than targeting ethnic neighborhoods or vanished into the night, it seems that they have adapted by hitting the Iraqi puppet government where they are the least secure — oil pipelines and infrastructure. As a result, foreign companies that were exporting oil to Iraq have decided that it is not worth their while to try to keep exporting oil, knowing that it is just a financial black hole.

And not only is Iraq as unstable as always, it seems that the Bush administration can’t even get their numbers to add up to see if the main benchmarks of the McCain Doctrine are working:

The White House says Iraq’s central government improved its capital budget spending to 24 percent through the first 6.5 months of 2007; the ministries of Oil and Electricity spent 21 percent and 26 percent of its capital budget, respectively.

But Finance Ministry figures passed on by the U.S. Treasury Department say spending has decreased, not increased, to 0.01 percent for the Oil Ministry and 0.004 percent for Electricity Ministry, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report, intending to look at progress in capital spending from 2006 to 2007, concluded the varying data prevented it from determining any success.

The McCain Doctrine, in a nutshell, was designed to buy time for the Iraqi political factions to come together and form a more perfect union. But that is not happening:

New military operations in Diyala province north of Baghdad have exacerbated a growing conflict between U.S.-backed Sunni fighters on the one hand and Iraqi army and police forces on the other.

The U.S. military commenced a large military operation Jan. 8 in the volatile Diyala province. Seven U.S. battalions led an offensive to push out fighters affiliated with ‘Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia’ from the area.

In the current operation, U.S., Iraqi, and local fighters have faced no serious resistance. U.S. military commanders admitted shortly after operations began that anti-occupation fighters were likely tipped off, and fled the area. But the operation has thrown up conflicts within the ranks.

“The military forces comprise the coalition forces, Iraqi police and army, and the popular forces (commonly called Kataib),” political analyst Akram Sabri told IPS in Baquba, capital of Diyala province. “It was found that the local forces are more truculent fighters who can always be relied on. This has made the coalition forces increasingly reliant upon these fighters to the extent that they will one day likely be joined to Iraqi police and army.”

The Kataib Sabri speaks of are what the U.S. military calls “concerned local citizens.” Most are former resistance fighters, now being paid 300 dollars a month to stop attacking occupation forces and to back them instead.

“The new prestige that Kataib enjoy has enraged the Iraqi police and army,” an officer in the directorate-general of police, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “In one operation in a village near Khalis city 15 km west of Baquba, the directorate-general of police contributed just 20 men, while the Kataib fighters numbered 450. This shows how the Americans now rely more on the Kataib than on us.”

The problem is that the so-called Iraqi “government” will never recognize the Kataib Sabri as part of their army. All the Bush administration is doing is fueling the Civil War that is already taking place and that is responsible for much of the violence there. And there is another question that is begging to be asked — what will happen when all of the financial support for the Kataib Sabri dries up? Will their fighters continue to be loyal? Or will they attack our forces again?

And part of the McCain Doctrine involves the invasion of Iran as well as Iraq. This is simply more of the same old politics as usual from that crowd — always refight the battles of the past; if Iraq and Vietnam were such failures, why not attack another country and maybe we will have more resolve this time and exorcise the demons of the past? Except that the latest case for attacking Iran is unraveling:

Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration’s pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush’s latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city’s Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina “serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies.”

This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization’s “red list” for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration’s manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies.

After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.

So, it seems that the McCain Doctrine is in shambles — the “surge” is doing nothing to contribute to the peace and stability of Iraq, while that country is going without most basic services once again. Our main challenge should be to get the word out so that people can see that McCain Doctrine for the charade that it is.


    • Edger on January 27, 2008 at 21:44

    couldn’t come up with good enough lies?

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