Interesting analysis from Robert Reich:
John McCain's Real Plan for Iraq, by Robert Reich: I talked with John McCain Sunday morning in the green room just before “This Week.” I asked him why he continued to call for more troops for Iraq when he must know it's a political non-starter. He said he thought it important for the morale of the troops.
McCain gives every impression of meaning what he says, which is one of his greatest assets. But I simply can’t believe this one. What’s most important for the morale of the troops is knowing they’ll be coming home soon, not hearing some politician say we need more troops when there’s no possible chance of that happening.
I think McCain knows Iraq is out of our hands – it’s disintegrating into civil war, and by 2008 will be a bloodbath. He also knows American troops will be withdrawn. The most important political fact he knows is he has to keep a big distance between himself and Bush in order to avoid being tainted by this horrifying failure. Arguing that we need more troops effectively covers his ass. It will allow him to say, “if the President did what I urged him to do, none of this would have happened.”
McCain is smarter on this score than Dems who intend to engage in post-Baker Commission “what we must do now” bipartisanship. It may make Dems feel relevant and important, but it will also make them complicit in the impending failure. ... HRC will be drawn in, as will Barak Obama and all other Dem notables who will feel it necessary to participate in a “plan.”
In the end, McCain alone will be able to escape blame. At least, that’s what I think he’s thinking.
Pin the failure on the donkey. How should Democrats respond? Assuming prominent Democrats insist on supporting the "plan," they should assert strongly that because of bad policy up to this point by the administration, policy implemented with the full support of people like McCain, the "plan," though likely to fail, is the best option we have according to the consensus in both parties (as opposed to a few neocons behind closed doors and their enablers like McCain). That is, in response to:
“if the President did what I urged him to do, none of this would have happened.”
Why not say the president has already done what you and others told him to do and this is where we ended up? Are we supposed to believe you suddenly got wiser? When he talks now about increasing troop levels, ask him why he wasn't calling for more troops when it would have mattered, at a time when a true leader would have spoken up and said the administration's policy will not work. There were plenty of people saying that troop levels were inadequate from the onset of the war, where was he? Why didn't we hear from McCain then?
We didn't hear from him because he supported the president's policies. The current situation in Iraq is due to policies McCain supported and Democrats cannot let him avoid responsibility for where we are now, and for whatever happens next as a consequence.