Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, making the case for the “unmistakable progress” in Iraq.
A telling moment in his remarks came when he was arguing why President Bush’s surge “dramatically turned around the situation in Iraq.” Just as he reached this point in his speech, MSNBC cut away to report on escalating violence in Iraq:
McCAIN: Faced with the prospect of defeat, we had two fundamental choices. We could retreat from Iraq and accept the horrible consequences of our defeat. Or we could change strategies and try to turn things around. It was, I believe, a critical moment in our nation’s history, and a time of testing for our nation’s political leadership.
In the year that has passed, our nation showed its strength —
MSNBC: And speaking of Iraq, we do have breaking news out of Iraq, where at least four mortars have been fired into the heavily-fortified Green Zone today. It’s unclear at this time if there are casualties or any major damage. Now the news comes just a day after five U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq. Two, again, inside that Green Zone.
Yesterday’s death toll was “one of the worst daily tolls for the American military in the most heavily protected part of Baghdad.” The New York Times notes that the attacks “were, symbolically at least, a sign that forces hostile to the United States are still able to strike at the American nerve center and seat of government power in the capital of Iraq.”