I think Tim Fernholtz makes several good points in response to what Ross says about the alleged “false choices” in our Iraq policy. From way back in 2002 the main intellectual and political drivers behind the Iraq War have envisioned a very long-term, very ambitious undertaking in that country. And from way back in 2002, they’ve mostly understood that while this kind of thing can work for the odd Weekly Standard article or Commentary blog post, it’s not a viable political agenda. So politicians have been slicing the salami into digestible bits.
It’s true, of course, that electing John McCain doesn’t, in reality, actually commit the United States to a 100 year effort at semi-colonial control over Iraq — a McCain administration would have no real capacity to tie the hands of its successors in distant decades. But unless you want that kind of enduring entanglement, you have to stop entangling at some point, and there’s really no time like the present (or, rather, early 2009 when we’ll have a new administration).