McCain says Afghanistan withdrawal has to be tied to ‘success,’ forgets he declared victory years ago.

Following President Obama’s speech last night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) predictably hit the airwaves. On CBS immediately after the speech, McCain praised the decision to add more troops but said that setting a timetable was wrong because “[s]uccess is what dictates dates for withdrawal.” “If we don’t have that success and we only set an arbitrary date it emboldens our enemies and dispirits our friends,” he added. Watch it:

However, according to McCain, the U.S. achieved “success” in Afghanistan years ago:

– “Could I add, it was in Afghanistan, as well, there were many people who predicted that Afghanistan would not be a success. So far, it’s a remarkable success.” [CNN, 3/2/05]

– “Afghanistan, we don’t read about anymore, because it’s succeeded.” [Charlie Rose Show, 10/31/05]

– “Nobody in Afghanistan threatens the United States of America.” [Hannity & Colmes, 4/10/03]

Since the conditions on the ground clearly had no impact on McCain’s decision to proclaim “victory,” all the President really has to do to achieve victory in Afghanistan, based on McCain’s example, is to just arbitrarily say it. More on the Wonk Room.