Commenting on Sen. John McCain's proposal to send more troops to Iraq, The New York Times' Anne Kornblut claimed that "McCain is proving that he is nothing if not an independent-minded maverick on this." In making that assertion, however, Kornblut ignored the fact that McCain's plan may be politically convenient, as others have alleged.
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On the December 5 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut, commenting on Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) call to send more troops to Iraq, claimed that "McCain is proving that he is nothing if not an independent-minded maverick on this." But in making that assertion, Kornblut rejected an alternative conclusion that others have drawn about McCain's proposal: that it is politically convenient. Because McCain's plan is likely neither practically nor politically feasible, some have noted that McCain can be confident that the proposal will not be implemented and can therefore blame any subsequent failure in Iraq on a failure to accept his recommendation.
As Media Matters for America has noted, McCain himself has asserted that the fate of the U.S. effort in Iraq will be decided in a matter of months, and yet he has acknowledged that sending 20,000 more soldiers into the region would require increasing active forces by 100,000. Media Matters has also noted that questions have been raised about McCain's Iraq position and its political expediency. For example, National Public Radio senior news analyst Cokie Roberts noted on the November 20 edition of NPR's Morning Edition that the military is unlikely to adopt McCain's proposal because, she said, referring to a comment by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the "Army is so depleted." For that reason, she stated, McCain's plan is "a somewhat convenient position, because he can always say, 'No one tried to win the war the way that I suggested to win it.' " Roberts added: "I think that this is a position that is useful for Senator McCain."
From the December 5 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
SCARBOROUGH: And Anne, feeding off of what you said earlier in the segment, that also seems to help Senator John McCain, who seems to be standing alone in American politics, claiming we need more troops in Iraq right now -- and if we don't put more troops in Iraq, then John McCain can say, "Watch out, this civil war will become regional."
KORNBLUT: Look, Senator McCain is proving that he is nothing if not an independent-minded maverick on this. He's certainly out there on a limb in advocating more troops. But again, this -- it's interesting seeing both Senator McCain and Senator Clinton both on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is obviously going to take a hard look at Iraq going forward. [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL], of course, is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It's giving each of them a platform to talk about this in a different way.