John McCain said in May that Barack Obama "really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq".
I guess he must feel quite differently about Obama's experience, knowledge and judgment about the issue of Afghanistan, though, since less than two months after making that claim he has decided to copy and adopt Obama's Afghanistan policy position.
I guess the question would be why someone so experienced and knowledgeable about foreign policy would have to steal his ideas from someone who has no experience or knowledge in that are... ???
obsidianwingsMcCain On Afghanistan
Yesterday, Josh Marshall wrote:
He's right. A bit of documentation:"Obama has been saying for almost a year that more troops are needed in Afghanistan. McCain has said that wasn't the case, that Iraq was the central battleground in the war on terror. Moreover, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says that we need more troops in Afghanistan but we none are available unless we pull substantial numbers out of Iraq -- which McCain is ruling out.
So let's all say it out loud: McCain is now copying Obama's position on Afghanistan.
And with troops that he doesn't have since he's against pulling any out of Iraq."
July 6, 2008:"Asked if the U.S. would send more troops to Afghanistan, McCain responded, "The British have said that they will be sending additional troops, taking troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan.
"If it's necessary, we will, and I'm sure we would be agreeable, but the focus here is more on training the Afghan National Army and the police, as opposed to the increased U.S. troop presence.""
December 2007 (in Foreign Affairs):"Barack Obama and John McCain are proposing sharply different strategies to seize the initiative from a resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, positions that underscore the two leading presidential candidates' competing visions of how to wage the war on terrorism. (...)
If elected, Obama says, he would immediately withdraw thousands of ground troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan to help undermanned US forces defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. (...)
However, McCain, a former fighter pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, says Iraq, not Afghanistan, is the "central front" in the war on terrorism. He believes that NATO and Pakistan must do more in Afghanistan until the United States can draw down its commitment in Iraq - a position which tracks Bush administration strategy.
McCain's advisers say that if he becomes president he would build on President Bush's decision to rely on NATO forces - which now have about 20,000 troops in Afghanistan - and would prod Pakistan to take on Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters camped inside its borders."
February 2008:"Our recommitment to Afghanistan must include increasing NATO forces, suspending the debilitating restrictions on when and how those forces can fight, expanding the training and equipping of the Afghan National Army through a long-term partnership with NATO to make it more professional and multiethnic, and deploying significantly more foreign police trainers. It must also address the current political deficiencies in judicial reform, reconstruction, governance, and anticorruption efforts."
July 9, 2008:"John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for November's US presidential race, is to launch a diplomatic offensive to push France and Germany to do more to help British forces in Afghanistan.
Mr McCain has told The Sunday Telegraph that he plans to bang European heads together. "I'll go over there and sit down with them," he said, to discuss what he sees as "Nato's failure to do the heavy lifting in Afghanistan"."
"Just one week ago":"While John McCain has vociferously supported the surge strategy in Iraq, he has been less vocal about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. He called on NATO and other allies of the U.S. to send more troops today, but stopped short of advocating additional American soldiers be deployed to the region until he spoke with commanders on the ground.
“I would like to have our allies make a bigger commitment, both in personnel and other ways,” he said. “I’d like to hear from our military leaders, our chairman of the joint chiefs, as well as the military commanders there.” (...)
McCain’s rival, Barack Obama, has made sending additional troops to Afghanistan one of the cornerstones of his foreign policy."
Until yesterday, McCain has only advocated sending NATO troops. This may be because as long as we stay in Iraq, we have no additional troops to send. (Though McCain also thinks that "Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq." Oddly enough, there's also this: "The most "critical" difference between the two candidates, McCain said, is Obama's belief that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are disconnected." All very confusing.)"McCain said just one week ago that the way to solve the situation in Afghanistan was to look at "a broad variety of areas" -- none of which were an increased troop presence, but instead included some things that were absent from his speech today, including "the effectiveness of the Karzai government, ungovernable areas, ungoverned, uncontrolled areas of the Afghan-Pakistan border.""
Democrats have been saying for years that we need more troops in Afghanistan, and that one of the huge costs of invading Iraq was that it diverted attention and resources from Afghanistan. Offhand, the first time I can think of that Obama said this was in his speech opposing the invasion:
Or this, from 2007:"You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings."
Or this, from 2006:"Moreover, until we change our approach in Iraq, it will be increasingly difficult to refocus our efforts on the challenges in the wider region - on the conflict in the Middle East, where Hamas and Hezbollah feel emboldened and Israel's prospects for a secure peace seem uncertain; on Iran, which has been strengthened by the war in Iraq; and on Afghanistan, where more American forces are needed to battle al Qaeda, track down Osama bin Laden, and stop that country from backsliding toward instability."
Just so it's clear who took what position before yesterday."Drawing down our troops in Iraq will allow us to redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq and elsewhere in the region as an over-the-horizon force. This force could help prevent the conflict in Iraq from becoming a wider war, consolidate gains in Northern Iraq, reassure allies in the Gulf, allow our troops to strike directly at al Qaeda wherever it may exist, and demonstrate to international terrorist organizations that they have not driven us from the region.
Perhaps most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan, where our lack of focus and commitment of resources has led to an increasing deterioration of the security situation there. The President's decision to go to war in Iraq has had disastrous consequences for Afghanistan -- we have seen a fierce Taliban offensive, a spike in terrorist attacks, and a narcotrafficking problem spiral out of control. Instead of consolidating the gains made by the Karzai government, we are backsliding towards chaos. By redeploying from Iraq to Afghanistan, we will answer NATO's call for more troops and provide a much-needed boost to this critical fight against terrorism."