McCain and Obama spar over al-Qaida in Iraq

Alright, Obama and McCain are starting to take shots at each other. Not that bad yet, but here we go.

McCain derided Obama’s comments that he would go “back into” Iraq if al-Qaida surfaced there, pointing out that “al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq.'”

Obama fired back saying:

“There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq…”

I’m sorry, but that’s blatantly false. Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists for decades (yes, we did help them against Iran, I know), and al-Qaida, or al-Qaeda, or however the hell you want to spell it, has had Iraqi ties for decades. There was such a thing as al-Qaida in Iraq before we went in. I’m sorry. They were there.

Obama knows this. He’s not a stupid man. He also knows this is a dispute that can go on and on and on. The Iraqi regime under Saddam was not exactly a transparent one.

But, for the record, that statement is simply false. If Obama said that our presence in Iraq had drawn more al-Qaida members there, perhaps I could agree with that. To say that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq before we got there is…being really naive on foreign policy.

And, just a side note, for the love of God, could we all agree on the way to spell al-Qaida? I go with al-Qaeda myself. It’s driving me nuts, though.

Even if you swallow Obama’s comment whole without blinking, the fact still remains that al-Qaida is on the ropes in Iraq at the moment, in large part due to the troop surge that McCain supported (he always supported going in with larger numbers, but Rumsfeld would never listen to those who called for that, preferring his own misguided vision of “smaller, elite units” doing the fighting — and simply ignoring the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force).

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