Republican politicians were out in full force in Iraq, obviously not to fight, but to pontificate. As they chatted with Iraq politicians about the tremendous success of the “surge” a female suicide bomber was blowing herself up and killing 39 people while wounding 54. The violence came as Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Baghdad and just missed Senator John McCain who left after securing enough photo ops to fill several TV commercials. Prime Minister Maliki had separate talks with the two Republican leaders since McCain most probably didn’t want to be photographed alongside the intensely disliked Dick Cheney. President Al-Maliki said he discussed long term security arrangements with Cheney. McCain stressed the importance of maintaining Amereica’s comitment in iraq. “We recognize that al-Qaida is on the run, but they are not defeated.
Cheney credited President Bush’s decision to dispatch more troops to Iraq for the reduction in the level of violence. However, he emphasized “it would be a mistake now to be so eager to draw down the forces that we risk putting the outcome in jeopardy.”
Of course, Vice President did not discuss why President Bush in 2003 refused to listen to the advice of General Shinseki who wanted more troops in Iraq. The Bush/Cheney arrogance is a factor in the needless deaths of thousands of American troops. Both Cheney and McCain insist it would be a mistake to quit before the job is done, but they never quite explain the exact meaning of what would constitute “victory.” Yes, violence is down in Baghdad, but the Iraq government has not established positive relations with Sunni Iraqis. The violence is down, but there is no indication an Iraq army can contain insurgent forces without help from American troops. Does this mean there will not be a “quitting time” in the forseeable future?