It's difficult to listen to McCain surrogate Randy Scheunemann's criticisms of Barack Obama without being reminded of George W. Bush's immortal words, "Fool me twice ... you won't be fooled again." Because when it comes to fooling the American people, Scheunemann's been closely affiliated with some true masters of the form.
On Monday, Scheunemann, a foreign policy adviser to to McCain, told the national press that Obama wants America to "lose" the war in Iraq. Although its difficult to know what words like "win" and "lose" actually mean at this point in Iraq, his words were dutifully repeated in print on television and online. Scheunemann said that Obama failed in his duty as a Senator to support our troops by voting to "defund our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq" simply to "placate the left wing of the Democratic Party" and "win an election."
Yes, his comments are strange, since opposition to the increasingly unpopular conflict in Iraq can't be easily assigned to an extremist viewpoint. Besides if Obama simply wanted to "placate the left" in order to seize the election, he would have voted against a questionable FISA bill that guts the Fourth Amendment and grants immunity from civil action to telecommunication companies that have allowed the President to engage in warrantless domestic wiretapping. But as strange as Scheunemann's rhetoric may be, it shouldn't be terribly surprising.
For years, Scheunemann has worked alongside Ahmad Chalabi, the international confidence man who provided the Bush Administration with most of the bogus information used to build a case for invading Iraq. Chalabi, you may recall, repaid the administration for its patronage by giving top secret US intelligence to Iran.
If that's not enough to raise an eyebrow, how about this? On 9/11, Scheunemann was working as a consultant on Iraq for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who'd somehow been led to believe that the invasion would be a "cakewalk" and that American troops would be greeted like heroes.
He's also the man who introduced Chalabi and his ilk to McCain.
Scheunemann's not the only questionable McCain adviser to grab headlines recently. Charlie Black, the campaign surrogate who recently caught flac for suggesting that the GOP might benefit from another terrorist attack against America, is also tied to both Chalabi and to the CEO of Blackwater International, the controversial private military contractor employed by the U.S. in Iraq.
Because McCain was a POW in Vietnam, the media tend to let him off easy on questions pertaining to foreign policy and the military. But these surrogates who advise McCain and speak for McCain are not former POWs. They aren't mysteries either. They have a history, and that history connects them with disastrous ideas, war profiteers, and at least one charlatan who took U.S. taxpayer money then sold our secrets to a presumed enemy.
Maybe it's disrespectful to McCain's military service to ask about the credibility of his military advisors. But it's even more disrespectful to every American soldier who died in Iraq not to ask, isn't it?
-- Chris Davis