McCain’s War

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For all the discussion of the various Democratic plans to handle Iraq, it’s worth saying that they all have the common element of aiming to de-escalate American involvement in that country. John McCain’s plan, by contrast, is to pray really hard that the additional forces provided by the surge find a pony. “I have no Plan B. If I saw that doomsday scenario evolving, then I would try to come up with one. But I cannot give you a good alternative because if I had a good alternative, maybe we could consider it now.” What’s more:

He said that if the Bush administration’s plan had not produced visible signs of progress by the time a McCain presidency began, he might be forced — if only by the will of public opinion — to end American involvement in Iraq.

There are, in short, no circumstances whatsoever under which McCain would end the war on the grounds that John McCain thought ending the war was the right thing to do. He’ll end the war, if at all, only in response to unremitting public hostility and his own political opportunism. This, too, is essentially the line David Brooks trotted out in his pro-McCain column — that there’s no quantity of resources that shouldn’t be wasted in Iraq no matter how high that’s too much to expend on any possible chance of success, no matter how long the odds or how tortured the definition of success.