Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.
John McCain says that partly because of his persistent support of the surge, we are now winning the Iraq war. He defines victory as an Iraq that is a democratic ally. Yet he advocates continued US military support to an Iraqi government led by Shiite religious parties committed to the establishment of an Islamic republic. He takes a harder line on Iran than President Bush, but supports Iraqi factions that are Iran's closest allies in the Middle East. He praises the Awakening and but seems not to have realized that the Iraqi government is intent on crushing it. He has denounced the Obama-Biden plan for a decentralized state but has said nothing about how he would protect Iraq's Kurds, the only committed American allies in the country.
George W. Bush has put the United States on the side of undemocratic Iraqis who are Iran's allies. John McCain would continue the same approach. It is hard to understand how this can be called a success—or a path to victory.
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