McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say was the headline in a New York Times story this morning. From the article:
BAGHDAD, April 2 — A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.
Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, said the Shorja market was “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana.”
“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”
The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.
[sarcasm] Yeah, a "normal outdoor market" here in America has rooftop sharpshooters, armored Humvees, attack helicopters hovering overhead and the shoppers have to wear bulletproof vests. [/sarcasm]
It's amazing how quickly political fortunes can change. John McCain may become the new Baghdad Bob for his seemingly similar detachment from reality.