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McCain Urges Changes in Bush's Iraq Strategy

Old 11-10-05, 08:08 PM
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McCain Urges Changes in Bush's Iraq Strategy

Reuters:

By Vicki Allen

Republican Sen. John McCain, a major backer of the Iraq war, said on Thursday the Bush administration must make broad changes in its strategy to confront the insurgency in Iraq, and commit more troops and resources to the effort.

McCain, the Arizona maverick who challenged George W. Bush for the presidential nomination in 2000 and is considered likely to make another run, repudiated calls from many Democrats for a plan to start withdrawing troops from Iraq.

In his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he also praised the resolve of Bush, whose poll ratings have plummeted partly on discontent over the Iraq war.

McCain stood firm in his dispute with the White House over legislation he has proposed outlawing torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of U.S. prisoners. Vice President Dick Cheney is working in Congress to exempt the CIA from such a formal ban.

"We're either going to have a blanketed uniform standard or we're not," McCain said in answer to a question. He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same to Americans.

A senior member of the Armed Services Committee, McCain said the administration must take a new approach in Iraq that he said would require more U.S. troops and would "take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties."

The United States has 150,000 troops in Iraq. More than 2,050 U.S. military personnel have been killed there.

Instead of trying to shift forces around the country to secure all of Iraq from insurgents, McCain said the Pentagon should concentrate on securing and then holding insurgent strongholds.

"Our forces cannot hold the ground indefinitely, and when they move on to fight other battles, the insurgent ranks replenish and strongholds fill again," McCain said. "Our troops must then re-enter the same area and refight the same battle."

Instead of focusing on killing and capturing insurgents, he said the Pentagon should protect local populations to create "secure areas where insurgents find it difficult to operate" and areas where "civil society can emerge" through reconstruction and political progress.

McCain criticized the Pentagon for rotating generals in and out of Iraq instead of benefiting from their knowledge and experience. He also said the Iraq effort had been too concentrated in the Pentagon, and should be shared among other key agencies.

To build Iraqi forces to eventually replace U.S. forces, McCain said the United States should insist units be diversified among ethnic groups to help unite the country, even though that would be more difficult and time-consuming.

He said the administration must redouble efforts to rebuild support for the war domestically, and more accurately portray events on the ground "even if they are negative."
_____________________

The secure area strategy didn't work very well in Vietnam.
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Old 11-10-05, 09:31 PM
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Is McCain a dumbass? I'd rather vote for Bush again than have this crazy man in office.

Yeah, let's inhibit torture techniques and be fluffy nice because someday we'll have terrorists beheading Americans.
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Old 11-10-05, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Yeah, let's inhibit torture techniques and be fluffy nice because someday we'll have terrorists beheading Americans.
I agree with you
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Old 11-11-05, 12:27 AM
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Me think the senator is preparing his launchpad for 08.
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Old 11-11-05, 02:28 AM
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I wonder how many of the democrats who constantly say they would vote for McCain will drop into this thread.
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Old 11-11-05, 03:42 AM
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The issue of torture aside, he is making a lot of sense when it comes to general strategy in Iraq. The parallels between Iraq and Vietnam are just getting stronger. One of the biggest mistakes U.S. forces made then and are still making now is operating under the notion that there are a finite number of insurgents which can be killed off and, presto chango, no more insurgency! Wars have always been won by taking and *holding* territory, not by hit and run tactics.

As for those of you who support torturing enemies of the state... Please remember that dehumanizing enemies of the state to the point where torture is publically condoned is one of the hallmarks of facsist regimes. Atrocities happen in war, but when average citizens are willing to accept them rather than be ashamed of them, alarm bells should be ringing about the regime in power.
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Old 11-11-05, 05:37 AM
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As for those of you who support torturing enemies of the state... Please remember that dehumanizing enemies of the state to the point where torture is publically condoned is one of the hallmarks of facsist regimes.
I think the biggest problem w/ the whole torture debate is that there is no set definition on what torture includes. I heard McCain last night on the Newshour and for all his talk about supporting this cause he says some psychological techniques (isolation for example) are ok... some people still consider that torture though.
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Old 11-11-05, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
I think the biggest problem w/ the whole torture debate is that there is no set definition on what torture includes. I heard McCain last night on the Newshour and for all his talk about supporting this cause he says some psychological techniques (isolation for example) are ok... some people still consider that torture though.
Well, the Bush administration has defined torture as, "When the pain is physical, it must be of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure. Severe mental pain requires suffering not just at the moment of infliction but it also requires lasting psychological harm."

So when you see Washington trying to get CIA special exemptions from restrictions against torture, it's not so they can do sissy stuff like sleep deprivation, isolation, or sonics. Not that the CIA isn't already torturing people to death ... It's just that the pressure is building up and one of these days they might actually have to prosecute one of their own agents if what they're already doing isn't made legal.
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Old 11-11-05, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Nutter
Well, the Bush administration has defined torture as, "When the pain is physical, it must be of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure. Severe mental pain requires suffering not just at the moment of infliction but it also requires lasting psychological harm."
Which is why Bush can blatantly lie like he did last week when he says The US does not torture. He's pulling a Clinton and redefining the word for his own purposes. Evidentally, unless it hurts as bad as death or organ failure, it's not real torture.
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Old 11-11-05, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I wonder how many of the democrats who constantly say they would vote for McCain will drop into this thread.
I probably wouldn't vote for McCain, but I agree with the broad strokes of what he says here.
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Old 11-11-05, 05:12 PM
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I agree with him that we probably need more troops - depending on how quickly we can train the Iraqi forces; and, how effective they are in their mission.

I disagree with the 'secure area' strategy. That didn't work in Vietnam. I don't see it working in Iraq.

As far as torture - I think it depends a lot on individual definitions of what constitutes torture. Does sleep deprivation constitute torture? I don't believe so, but others seem to think it does. Does the playing of loud music constitute torture? I must admit that I would believe it does if it's rap. Does showing a prisoner one of his 'comrades' being executed constitute torture? I don't believe so. Others don't agree. Certainly no one can claim isolation constiutes torture.
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Old 11-11-05, 05:42 PM
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I agree that McCain is wrong about the "Secure Area" strategy, and I should have pointed that out when I said I agreed with the broad strokes of what he said.

The amendment that was recently introduced in the Senate to ban torture by U.S troops ties the term torture to the Army Field Manual, so it's not as if it would create an open-ended term subject to individual definitions of what constitutes torture.
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Old 11-11-05, 06:02 PM
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Senator Graham (R/SC) seems to be rather influential considering he's been in the Senate for a relatively short period of time.

Of course he was a JAG - I can't remember whether it was Army or Air Force - for a considerable length of time.

I wish his Republican colleagues in the House were more like Senator Graham.
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Old 11-11-05, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Of course he was a JAG - I can't remember whether it was Army or Air Force - for a considerable length of time.
Air Force. 6 years active duty (1982-1988); since then, he's been in the Air Force reserves and/or the South Carolina Air National Guard. He was called up and served in the first Gulf War.
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Old 11-11-05, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2

I wish his Republican colleagues in the House were more like Senator Graham.
You mean gay?

Actually, that would probably help.

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