McCain on the ISG

by Jonah Goldberg

His full response is here . Here’s part of it:

I applaud the ISG’s endorsement of a surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad. Such a step is long overdue. But the coalition should not characterize such a redeployment as “short-term” or place a timetable on its presence. Our troops should be sent to Baghdad – or anywhere in Iraq – in order to complete a defined mission, not to serve until some predetermined date passes. By placing a limited timeframe on our military commitments, we would only induce Iraqis to side with militias that will stay indefinitely, rather than with the U.S. and Government of Iraq. Such a step would only complicate our considerable difficulties.

In addition, I agree with the report’s emphasis on an internal Iraqi political settlement that can bring the various sects and groups together. But security is the necessary precondition for a political settlement, and Iraq will continue to suffer pervasive insecurity so long as there is an insufficient number of security forces on the ground. Iraq requires not only politicians willing to make difficult choices, but also clear signals that the government is the sole source of authority in the country. Only by cracking down on independent militias, reducing criminal and terrorist activity, and protecting the population and key infrastructure – none of which can be accomplished without more troops – can a political settlement begin to take hold.

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