There's a longish and very good article today by the excellent Robert Parry on his equally excellent site Consortium News. Here are a couple of brief excerpts:
But possibly a larger vulnerability for McCain is the fact that he was a leader in the neoconservative strategy to downplay the political-military challenges in Afghanistan in favor of exaggerating the strategic threat from Iraq.
In recent months, it’s become increasingly obvious that the diversion of U.S. military and financial resources to Iraq over the past five-plus years bought al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies time to regroup and reorganize inside Pakistan.
The United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan now are facing a deteriorating security situation that was highlighted by a brazen Taliban assault on a U.S. military base on July 13 that killed nine American soldiers.
From base camps inside Pakistan, al-Qaeda forces also are believed to be plotting new terrorist attacks against the United States. In addition, political strains inside Pakistan have renewed concerns about the possibility that the country’s nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.
Much of this predicament can be traced back to the hubris that infused McCain’s speech in Munich in February 2002. [. . .]
McCain then reprised what turned out to be the bogus case for invading Iraq.
”Almost everyone familiar with Saddam's record of biological weapons development over the past two decades agrees that he surely possesses such weapons. He also possesses vast stocks of chemical weapons and is known to have aggressively pursued, with some success, the development of nuclear weapons,” McCain said.
“Terrorist training camps exist on Iraqi soil, and Iraqi officials are known to have had a number of contacts with al-Qaeda. These were probably not courtesy calls,” McCain added in the smug, sarcastic tone common to that period.
As it turned out, the “vast stocks” of chemical weapons and the prospect of nuclear weapons were non-existent. The active “terrorist training camps” on Iraqi soil were hostile to Hussein’s secular regime and were located outside Baghdad’s control in areas protected by the U.S.-British-enforced “no-fly zone.”
Evidence collected after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 revealed that Saddam Hussein rebuffed overtures from al-Qaeda, which he regarded as an enemy in the Arab world. Those contacts were not even “courtesy calls.” [For details, see our book, Neck Deep.]
However, in February 2002, at the crucial moment when al-Qaeda’s leaders were on the run and Afghanistan was in desperate need of rebuilding, McCain became a leading advocate for the neocon rush to war in Iraq.
McCain appears to have been “completely wrong” in that judgment, a strategy that has damaged U.S. standing in the world and has played into the deadly hands of Osama bin Laden.
(Complete article -- much recommended! -- is here.)
It's becoming increasingly evident that McCain's much-vaunted "expertise" on foreign policy is a complete chimera. A few weeks ago he was claiming, before his buddy Joe Lieberman managed to get him to briefly stop talking bilge, a bizarre alliance between Iran and al-Qaida. Within the past day or so he's talked about the dangers of the Iraq/Pakistan border, which border is unfortunately unknown to cartography. And, notoriously, he's been pushing a theoretically endless US occupation of Iraq only to find this is precisely what -- duh! -- the Iraqi people and government do not want.
Avoiding pratfalls like this last and the twaddle about Saddam's WMDs requires no special foreign-policy expertise: merely the ability to read non-US newspapers, which, unlike their US counterparts, have not gotten into the habit of happily regurgitating whatever crap Il Buce's Administration feeds them. As example, there was extensive coverage in the UK and Oz newspapers before the invasion of the reports Hans Blix and his team of UN investigators on the ground in Iraq were releasing to the effect that Saddam had indeed destroyed his stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons; these were the same investigators whom Il Buce later falsely stated, with only rare peeps of protest from the US "news" media, had been kept out of Iraq by the Saddam government.
Since McCain's supposed foreign-policy nous is the largest single plank in his platform -- indeed, almost the only plank (even though his campaign website apparently has no page on the topic) -- and since he's being repeatedly demonstrated to be a complete ignoramus on the subject, one wonders quite what his supporters think they're voting for.