…but when he is, there is no one better to have on your side than John McCain. In today’s New York Post, McCain eloquently demolishes the Senate’s amendment on withdrawal of troops from Iraq:
Anyone reading the amendment gets the sense that the Senate’s foremost objective is the draw-down of American troops. What it should have said is that America’s first goal in Iraq is not to withdraw troops, but to win the war. All other policy decisions we make should support, and be subordinate to, the successful completion of our mission.
Morality, national security and the honor our fallen deserve all compel us to see our mission in Iraq through to victory.
A date is not an exit strategy. To suggest that it is only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near. It alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory, and tempts undecideds to join the anti-government ranks.
Think about this for a moment. Imagine Iraqis, working for the new government, considering whether to join the police force, or debating whether or not to take up arms. What will they think when they read that the Senate is pressing for steps toward draw-down?
Are they more or less likely to side with a government whose No. 1 partner hints at leaving?
The Senate has responded to the millions who braved bombs and threats to vote, who put their faith and trust in America and their government, by suggesting that our No. 1 priority is to bring our people home.
We have told insurgents that their violence does grind us down, that their horrific acts might be successful. But these are precisely the wrong messages. Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.
There is, of course, an awful possibility lurking in the current Washington panic over Iraq. Our enemies gambled that the American people are soft and are not fully committed to the war against terror. They thought that the American people don’t have the patience or the understanding of the stakes involved required to take casualties, especially over a prolonged period of time. They believed that if they simply remained active in Iraq, even at a low level, domestic American politics would, before long, swing against the war. The awful possibility, which seems more likely with every passing day, is that the terrorists correctly judged the American people.
Not all of us, to be sure: John McCain, for example, is assuredly not soft. But, sadly, it has become clear that his view of the Iraq war (and ours) is now the minority view. The implications for the future are not good.