From The Carpetbagger Report:
In late May, John McCain announced his belief that U.S. troops in Iraq “have drawn down to pre-surge levels.” That was clearly not the case. But instead of simply acknowledging the error, the McCain campaign insisted the senator was actually right, just so long as we overlook “the tense of the verb.”
Here we are, two months later, and in a dramatic error, McCain told Katie Couric that it’s “just a matter of history” that Bush’s “surge” policy “began the Anbar awakening.” That, of course, is backwards. But instead of simply acknowledging the error and correcting the record, McCain has decided to parse the meaning of the word “surge.”
[…] McCain appeared in the cheese aisle of a Bethlehem, Pa., grocery store yesterday, to explain why the surge isn’t really the surge, and why his obvious error was actually completely right.
“A surge is really a counterinsurgency strategy, and it’s made up of a number of components,” McCain said. “And this counterinsurgency was initiated to some degree by Colonel McFarland in Anbar province relatively on his own.” A reporter asked, “So when you say ’surge’, then you’re not referring just to the one that President Bush initiated; you’re saying it goes back several months before that?” McCain replied, “Yes, and again, because of my visits to Iraq, I was briefed by Colonel McFarland in December of 2006 where he outlined what was succeeding there in this counterinsurgency strategy which we all know of now as the surge.”
At this point, based on his cheese-aisle spin, McCain is contradicting:
* Gen. Sean MacFarland’s own assessment of what transpired in Anbar province;
* McCain’s own remarks about the start of the surge policy;
* and McCain’s own definition of what a counterinsurgency is.
And where does that leave us? McCain’s argument effectively boils down to this: “The surge is whatever I say it is, on any given day.”
(Video clip of Captain Underpants at above link)
Shawn Brimley tries to bring common sense to bear on this: “The word “surge” has always been used to as shorthand referring to President Bush’s decision to deploy about 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq in early 2007, the first of which did not arrive in Iraq until later in the spring.” McCain is arguing, I guess, that “the surge” doesn’t refer to the manpower boost more formally termed the “surge of forces” by the military. Instead, “surge” is, perhaps, short for “counterinsurgency.”
The main problems here would be that nobody uses “surge” that way (indeed, John McCain has a long history of using the term “surge” the same way as everyone else) and also that the short form of counterinsurgency the abbreviation-mad military uses is “COIN.”
Captain Underpants has canceled all weekend appearances while doctors desperately try to get the knots out of his tongue.