He is not talking about Iraq on the campaign trail, but John McCain has a good deal to say in today's Wall Street Journal on the first anniversary of the Surge.
So much, in fact, that he needs his Senate colleague, Joe Lieberman, to help him do the heavy lifting in proclaiming, "The Surge Worked," that "conditions in that country have been utterly transformed...al Qaeda has been beaten back, violence across the country has dropped dramatically. The number of car bombings, sectarian murders and suicide attacks has been slashed."
Yesterday, the US military announced, six American soldiers were killed when a house rigged with explosives blew up north of Baghdad during a new offensive targeting al Qaeda guerrillas, adding to the more than 835 who have died since last February.
The gains in Iraq, McCain tells us, "are thrilling but not yet permanent. Political progress has been slow. And although al Qaeda and the other extremists in Iraq have been dealt a critical blow, they will strike back at the Iraqi people and us if we give them the chance, as our generals on the ground continue to warn us."
If we wait until President McCain takes office next January, perhaps he will tell us then how many troops we will have to keep there for how long (perhaps less than the 100 years he recently mentioned). Maybe he will reveal his plans to speed up the "slow" political progress in a small country that keeps draining the lives of our most patriotic young people and billions of dollars that could be saving and improving lives back here.
In his Wall Street Journal victory lap, McCain concedes that "mismanagement of the Iraq war from 2003 to 2006 exposed our government's capacity for incompetence." Voters are going to want to know how, sharing Bush's blindness about our interests in the Middle East, McCain is going to do better.
Certainly not by making Joe Lieberman his Secretary of State.