I have long feared that something even stronger than the Lieberman Electoral Strategy will be used against Barack Obama. Joe Lieberman based his "independent" campaign around his heartfelt and very sincere desire to see the troops come home from Iraq. "No one wants to bring the troops home more than I do," was his oft-repeated formulation. Of course, it was never true, but by repeating it enough times it sure ended up sounding true. The people of Connecticut, overwhelmingly against the Iraq War and for bringing home our troops starting immediately, voted into office one of the most dedicated war supporters in the Senate.
In the presidential election it might be even more powerful, since the current President has significant power to bolster the rhetoric. We've always known that the Surge would be temporary, and that as the brigades withdrew we would be treated to victory rhetoric from the President. That's come to pass nicely. The wild card is whether the Bush Administration starts further draw downs before the election. It's my fear that they'll say, "Well, McCain's Surge worked so well that we're going to start drawing down to 100,000 troops" in the month before the election. Once again, there will be a clear choice between "continue the war" and "end the war," but the waters will be muddied by the Administration and by McCain's constant insistence that he "wants to bring the troops home too."
The real strategic goal of the war supporters appears to be nothing more than staying in Iraq. Lieberman perhaps wanted American troops between Israel and Iran to help protect Jewish lands. President Bush might want to stay in Iraq because his advisers told him it would remake the Middle East and bring freedom for millions. Many people, however, want to stay in Iraq so that we can have 150,000 US troops over the second largest deposit of oil in the world. Serious (Republican) people like Alan Greenspan and James Baker have said securing access to oil is the real strategic objective of the war. Of course, anyone suggesting such a thing before the war was regarded as a left-wing nut, smearing our President and our troops. It was called treason.
We were told by the President (who knew it was untrue) that Iraq was an imminent threat to our security, and we had to invade to deal with it. When we learned that it was untrue we were told that leaving would be a threat to our security because violence was high. With violence being low, we were told that leaving would be a threat to our security. Now we're told that even Obama's plan, which has us leaving by 2011, is a threat to our security! Eight years is not enough.
It really begins to look like the plan for Iraq all along was just not to leave.