The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.
“Violence still occurs” — this must be what McCain meant when he said that “the war will be over soon…although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years.” Got that? The insurgency will go on, but the Iraq war will have been won. Just like the surge has worked, despite the past month of intra-Shiite violence, suicide bombings, the continuing lack of political reconciliation, and the empowering of Sunni tribal elements hostile to the central government. If this doesn’t look like success to you, it’s probably because you don’t have a reputation to rehabilitate.
In regard to the “smaller military presence,” does this mean that John McCain no longer wants to stay in Iraq for a hundred years? By our count McCain has shifted at least four different times on this question. Has McCain has discarded the fantasy of using Iraq as a permanent base from which to project U.S. power in the region? Wait until the next speech!
If this wonderful outcome McCain describes is achieved, and I truly hope it will be, it will have been achieved because Americans rejected the war policies of John McCain, which effectively amounts to the “sunk cost” fallacy of a gambling addict, with the promise of many future trips to the casino. It’s also worth noting that if a liberal candidate offered this kind of ponies-and-rainbows blather (try harder, Salter!), he or she would be mercilessly attacked, probably by John McCain. But John McCain will probably get a pass, because he’s a straight talker. Have you heard that he hates war?