McCain: Ignorance is Strength and Anyone Who Says Otherwise Hates the Troops

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Spencer Ackerman has some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan on the record against the McCain campaign's sleazy new slanders against Barack Obama. It was while over there that I saw this truly stunning post from McCain campaign blogger Michael Goldfarb in which he tries to argue that to point out that McCain doesn't know when the Anbar Awakening happened is per se to attack the troops.

But to be as clear as possible, there were American soldiers serving in Iraq for years long before the surge began. To observe that something or other (say, the Anbar Awakening) couldn't possibly have happened because of the surge (because it happened before the surge) is by no means an effort to "deny American troops credit" for their work. The very Colonel (now General) McFarlane whose work McCain was citing as evidence of the success of the surge really did do good work, as did the men under his command. It's just that their work didn't have anything to do with the surge. Which is what Barack Obama was saying. And it's what John McCain was ignorantly denying.

Now the irony here is that the origins of this whole farce is McCain's efforts to hog credit himself for the adoption of improved counterinsurgency tactics. He "knows how to win wars," remember, and the evidence for that is supposed to be his embrace of the surge. But he can't even get basic facts straight.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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