After Four Years of Certainty, McCain ‘Not Positive We Can Win’ In Iraq

macDuring debate in the Senate last month, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attacked his colleagues who demanded a strategic redeployment out of Iraq by asking, “The terrorists are in this war to win it. The question is, are we?”

It appears McCain’s answer to his own question is no. At a fundraiser for his presidential campaign last night, he conceded, “I’m not positive we can win this fight”:

“I’m not positive we can win this fight,” he told about 150 people at a $50-a-person fundraiser in a Highland Township barn. “But I believe we’re winning. The Anbar province is dramatically better and Baghdad has some neighborhoods that are much more secure.”

McCain’s doubts come after four years of predicting easy victory in Iraq:

— “Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” [CNN, 9/24/02]

— “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

— “[I]t’s going to be long, tough, very difficult, but … we can win.” [PBS, 11/10/05]

— “I believe that we can succeed and I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic.” [CBS, 4/8/07]

— “We’re going to win. We will. We will never surrender.” [AP, 4/18/07]

Previously, McCain has attacked senators who have expressed doubts about the mission in Iraq like those he voiced yesterday, accusing them of “embrac[ing] the policy of surrender” and “waving a white flag to al Qaeda.”

Jordan Grossman