McCain "Cut-and-Run" from Afghanistan, "Forfeited Gains" and Was Snookered by bin Laden

10/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

No one should put up with any suggestion or statement by John McCain, Sarah "Putin-flies-overhead" Palin, or any surrogate concerning "cutting and running" from Iraq or "forfeiting gains" of the surge. If any of these sources, however, accuses Obama-Biden of not heeding the words of bin Laden that Iraq is the central theatre in the war, they should immediately agree: only Bush/McCain got snookered by following bin Laden's orders.

Not only are the gains attributed to the surge grossly overstated, but McCain was a major cheerleader for shifting resources from Afghanistan to Iraq long before the job there was done. For example, even before the Iraq invasion and occupation was launched, 2/3 of the intelligence resources we had in Afghanistan were moved to Iraq. Capturing bin Laden was, according to Bush's terrorism chief, "a success that has not yet happened".

After surging in Iraq, the Taliban and al-Qaeda are resurgent in Afghanistan. Afghani villagers grow poppy from which heroin and morphine are made, and are primary suppliers of the drug trade. This money not only fuels al-Qaeda terrorism, but the drugs they sell tear away at the fabric of our society.

McCain not only voted to cut-and-run from Afghanistan in favor of the Iraq War, he plumped hard for it. He not only followed bin Laden's deliberately misleading claim of where the central theatre of the war was (i.e., away from himself!), he quoted it.

The gains from the surge itself, like Mark Twain's death, have been grossly exaggerated. The troops, as usual, did their job to curb violence. So did ethnic cleansing. Nonetheless, the situation is so fragile that US troops cannot get down to pre-surge levels.

The Iraqi politicians, as usual, have not done their job. A definite and phased withdrawal may have done a much better job in forcing the Iraqi politicians to resolve differences, and that is, by universal agreement, the only possibility for a satisfactory outcome.

The surge gains have been exaggerated, but it is not even a slight exaggeration to say that McCain, like Bush, "cut and ran" from Afghanistan before the job was done, and "forfeited" the gains. He was, and is, unapologetic. He remains snookered by bin Laden to focus US firepower and resources not on him, but on Iraq.

And, if McCain does not live through a presidency, a woman who honestly believes that Putin's flying through her state's airspace is foreign policy experience takes over.

How much worse can it get?