Steve Benen, Crooks and Liars: Here’s a video of an informal press conference McCain held in Michigan.
The audio is a little tough to hear, so to clarify, McCain insisted that “we have succeeded” in Iraq. In fact, he said it multiple times: “I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded.”
(It reminds me of the time Marge Simpson told Bart that Springfield is “a part of us all. A part of us all. A part of us all.” She then explained it would help him remember and believe the line if she repeated it this way.)
OK, McCain probably misspoke again. He must have meant that he thinks Bush’s strategy is “succeeding,” not has “succeeded,” right?
Wrong. He’s now referring to Bush’s Iraq policy in the past tense, as if the war is over.
McCain added on the campaign bus: “I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq — not we are succeeding — we have succeeded in Iraq.”
Gotcha. It’s over. We won. The policy worked — not is working, but worked. Good to know.
In a political context, McCain had a series of rhetorical options. He could say that we will succeed in Iraq, but Americans have grown impatient. He could say that we’re in the process of succeeding, but that’s not quite good enough, either. So, McCain just made up his mind — we’ve already succeeded. We may not know it, and this victory may be limited to McCain’s over-active imagination, but it happened. Just trust him and don’t ask any questions.
Can we get out of Iraq, then? Apparently not: “The success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed.”
I have to say, I thought “success” was going to look a little more successful, but maybe that’s just me.
McCain, like Bush, considers this “mission accomplished.” I guess neither want to be taken especially seriously.
NOTE: In this same informal McCain press conference (7/17/08 Grand Haven, MI) McCain commented on the unannounced timing of a high-security trip by Barack Obama to Iraq, "saying he believed his Democratic rival was going this weekend."
... Obama said last month he would go to both Iraq and Afghanistan soon. But his campaign has given no dates, seeking to cloak the trip in a measure of secrecy for security reasons."I believe that either today or tomorrow -- and I'm not privy to his schedule -- Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators" who make up a congressional delegation, McCain said...
John Aravosis, AmericaBlog.com: There's a reason these trips aren't announced in advance. We don't want to give our enemies in Iraq a heads up on when to attack the coming American dignitaries. It's beyond indiscrete. It's obscene that McCain would leak something like this. Imagine the uproar if any Democrat ever leaked details of an upcoming trip to Iraq by Bush or Cheney or McCain or any of that crowd. There'd be hell to pay. Just more evidence that McCain is no longer the level-handed man that many once thought him.