If Bush takes Obama’s advice about Iraq, that’s … good for McCain?

We need to get some troops of Iraq pronto to shore up the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Where have I heard that argument before?

Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times reports thinking in the Bush Administration and the Pentagon that it may be necessary to pick up the pace of the drawdown in Iraq to shore up the parlous situation in Afghanistan.

That of course is the point that Barack Obama has been making since before the war in Iraq began: that finishing the job in Afghanistan deserves priority, and that given a military establishment stretched to its limits the only source of troops for Afghanistan is the army in Iraq. (See previous post.)

Somehow Myers, or his sources, come to the conclusion that this is politically helpful … to John McCain. Yep. If the Bush Administration does what Barack Obama has been saying should be done, that shows that the Bush/McCain strategy is working.

Note that if a brigade moves out this fall, that gives Obama a three-month headstart on the sixteen-month withdrawal process that (yesterday) was supposed to be logistically impossible.

Of course, if the Pentagon/GOP flack operation persuades Myers’s colleagues that this is good news for McCain, that will make it good for McCain. But only in politics, not in logic.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com