Obama still claims, without rebuttal, that while the surge succeeded, it failed to bring about the "political reconciliation" intended. This is patently false. In addition to meeting or making progress on nearly all of the 18 political benchmarks set by Congress, the Iraqi government, just last week, set a time for provincial elections -- perhaps the most important benchmark. McCain never mentioned it. Instead of a fledgling democracy and a potentially strong Muslim ally in the Middle East in the war on terror, Obama wanted a precipitous withdrawal. As former Secretary of State James Baker said, "If we picked up and left right now, you would see the biggest civil war you've ever seen." Even the liberal, anti-Bush Washington Post recently published an editorial pointing to Iraq's continuous improvement, and criticized Obama for his insistence on a timed withdrawal: "Democrat Barack Obama continues to argue that only the systematic withdrawal of U.S. combat units will force Iraqi leaders to compromise. Yet the empirical evidence of the past year suggests the opposite: that only the greater security produced and guaranteed by American troops allows a political environment in which legislative deals and free elections are feasible."
Obama claims, without rebuttal, that he consistently opposed the war. Did he? Obama, after his anti-war speech in 2002, later said he understood why senators voted for the Iraq war and admitted he was "not privy to Senate intelligence reports"; that it "was a tough question and a tough call" for the senators; and that he "didn't know" how he would have voted had he been in the Senate. More than a year after the war began, Obama said, "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage." Given Obama's 97 percent record of voting with his party, why accept the idea that this cautious get-along, go-along "present"-voting former state senator, now U.S. senator, would have defied the majority of his party -- including all of his fellow senators running in the presidential primaries -- and voted against the war?
McCain foolishly "suspended" his political campaign to go to Washington and deal with the economic crisis. But when the polls show the other guy ahead, and he leaves the debate with no blood, no ambulance -- you lose.
McCain wants to "put his country first." The best way is simple: Get aggressive and win the election.