Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Off To Neverland

John McCain's recent performance on the Situation Room is so utterly divorced from reality. He is uttering nonsense to Wolf Blitzer that is simply not true. He actually expects the American people to believe that parts of Baghdad are safe enough for General Petraeus to travel in an unarmed Humvee.

BLITZER: If the situation a year from now, senator, is what it is basically today, what will that say to you?

MCCAIN: Well, it won't be. It won't be. It'll be either better or worse.

BLITZER: Well, what if it's worse?

MCCAIN: No military -- no military person...

BLITZER: What if it's worse?

MCCAIN: Then obviously we're going to have to examine a set of bad options. But I am confident it won't be. I am confident hell won't freeze over. I am confident we can succeed if we stay with this -- with this strategy. And if I'm wrong, we've got a lot more problems than anything that it does to my political reputation.

BLITZER: Here's what you told Bill Bennett on his radio show on Monday.


BLITZER: "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today."


BLITZER: "The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq."

You know, everything we hear, that if you leave the so-called green zone, the international zone, and you go outside of that secure area, relatively speaking, you're in trouble if you're an American.

MCCAIN: You know, that's why you ought to catch up on things, Wolf.

General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee. You want to -- I think you ought to catch up. You see, you are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don't get it through the filter of some of the media.

But I know for a fact of much of the success we're experiencing, including the ability of Americans in many parts -- not all. We've got a long, long way to go. We've only got two of the five brigades there -- to go into some neighborhoods in Baghdad in a secure fashion.

Hilarity ensues when Wolf Blitzer repeatly asks CNN Iraq correspondent Michael Ware if McCain's statements are true. Ware tells Blitzer he might have trouble hearing him because of the gun battle behind him.

BLITZER: Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, speaking here in THE SITUATION ROOM within the past hour.

Let's go live to Baghdad right now.

CNN's Michael Ware is standing by -- Michael, you've been there, what, for four years. You're walking around Baghdad on a daily basis.

Has there been this improvement that Senator McCain is speaking about?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd certainly like to bring Senator McCain up to speed, if he ever gives me the opportunity. And if I have any difficulty hearing you right now, Wolf, that's because of the helicopter circling overhead and the gun battle that is blazing just a few blocks down the road.

Is Baghdad any safer?

Sectarian violence -- one particular type of violence -- is down. But none of the American generals here on the ground have anything like Senator McCain's confidence.

I mean, Senator McCain's credibility now on Iraq, which has been so solid to this point, has now been left out hanging to dry.

To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I'd love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll.

And to think that General David Petraeus travels this city in an unarmed Humvee. I mean in the hour since Senator McCain has said this, I've spoken to some military sources and there was laughter down the line. I mean, certainly, the general travels in a Humvee. There's multiple Humvees around it, heavily armed. There's attack helicopters, predator drones, sniper teams, all sorts of layers of protection.

So, no, Senator McCain is way off base on this one -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael, stand by.

There's a development on the floor of the Senate that we want to go

Blitzer goes back to Ware.

BLITZER: We're going to stay on top of the ramifications of this.

But I want to go back to Baghdad right now. CNN's Michael Ware is on the scene for us, as he has been for the past four years.

Michael, when Senator McCain says that there are at least some areas of Baghdad where people can walk around and -- whether it's General Petraeus, the U.S. military commander, or others, are there at least some areas where you could emerge outside of the Green Zone, the international zone, where people can go out, go to a coffee shop, go to a restaurant, and simply take a stroll?

WARE: I can answer this very quickly, Wolf. No. No way on earth can a westerner, particularly an American, stroll any street of this capital of more than five million people.

I mean, if al Qaeda doesn't get wind of you, or if one of the Sunni insurgent groups don't descend upon you, or if someone doesn't tip off a Shia militia, then the nearest criminal gang is just going to see dollar signs and scoop you up. Honestly, Wolf, you'd barely last 20 minutes out there.

I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.

I don't know who is more hysterical? Does Blitzer know of any journalists in Baghdad that go out for coffee. Wolf must think Starbucks has set up shop in Iraq.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for the video.

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