Back in January, John McCain made a startling admission and a puzzling assertion.

“I believed the initial invasion was going to be easy,” McCain admitted today, echoing statements he made before the war. “Most of us did. I believed we were going to be welcomed as liberators. We were.”

Any dipshit with even a modicum of common sense knew that we would not be greeted as liberators. We weren’t. But, back in January, McCain was concerned that we might just listen to the public and pull our troops out of the morass he helped to make. He was at the American Enterprise Institute with his good buddy Joe Lieberman. And they were talking about surging more troops into Iraq.

An event at AEI yesteday brought together the intellectual progenitors of escalation: military historian Fred Kagan, retired General Jack Keane and Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman. The focus was not on how to clean up the neocons mess, but on how to deepen it.

“The surge must be substantial and it must be sustained,” McCain told a packed room.

The surge plan was the brainchild of ‘military historian’ Fred Kagan and…oh…what a historian he must be!!

Kagan’s surge worked about exactly as well as progressives predicted it would. We had the bloodiest summer of the entire war and the GAO reports that we only fully met 3 of 18 benchmarks for success. No matter. Kagan thinks the whole measuring success thing is a waste of time.

The GAO report reflects everything that has been wrong with the discussion about Iraq since the end of 2006. Through no fault of the GAO’s, the organization was sent on a fool’s errand by Congress. Its mandate was not to evaluate progress in Iraq, but to determine whether or not the Iraqi government had met the 18 benchmarks. As a result, as the report repeatedly notes, the GAO was forced to fit an extraordinarily complicated reality into a black-and-white, yes-or-no simplicity.

It’s amusing to have a Bush apologist criticize someone else for trying to fit their analysis into a ‘black-and white, yes-or-no simplicity’. Kagan goes on to coin a new term.

One of the most striking things about the GAO Report is its failure to take adequate notice of the Anbar Awakening and the general movement within the Sunni Arab community against Al Qaeda In Iraq and toward the Coalition. “Anbar” appears twice in the document, both times in a comment noting that violence has fallen in that province, but without reference to the turn of the Sunni population against the terrorists. That omission is unfathomable considering the significance of the movement among Sunnis over precisely the time in which the GAO was researching and producing this report.

The Anbar Awakening is actually little more than a bunch of Sunni sheiks accepting weapons, bribes, and intelligence about how to murder or neutralize other Sunni Arabs. When they get done murdering and neutralizing other Sunni Arabs they will turn their guns back on the Americans and the American’s Shi’ite puppet regime in the Green Zone. Here’s a little tip about Anbar province. It contains some familiar locations: Ramadi, Fallujah, Haditha, and Abu Ghraib. We met our fiercest resistance in Anbar province precisely because its people were the ones that lost their position of favor and privilege they had enjoyed in Saddam’s Iraq. Remember when we disbanded Iraq’s army? Good. That’s more than the President can say. Most of the high ranking officers in that army were from Anbar province or neighboring Salah ad Din province (home of Tikrit).

And do you know what else? Those officers were overwhelmingly members of the secular Arab-nationalist Ba’ath Party. Because they were secular they had no problem drinking beers with Christians or letting women dress casually, go to college, and pursue professional careers. That is not an attitude conducive to getting along with Saudi Arabian Salafists, Wahhabists, or Al-Qaeda sympathizers. When Saudis showed up to help fight the Americans, they were tolerated…for a while. But the Iraqi Sunnis have realized that time is running out on the U.S. occupation and they are on the wrong side of a lop-sided civil war. The Sunnis are accepting our weapons so that they can use them against the central government. As part of the deal for getting these weapons they are refraining from attacking American troops and cleaning up some of the obnoxious moralizing Saudis in their midst. There is no Anbar Awakening in the sense that Kagan implies.

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