Paul Greenberg

At that infamous congressional hearing when the Surge was still largely an abstraction rather than an accomplished fact, Sen. Obama's co-star at next week's Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton, said it would take a "willing suspension of disbelief" to back General David Petraeus' new strategy. Which may have been the most memorable misjudgment in contemporary military history. And the junior senator from Illinois seconded her motion.

Both senators grabbed the headlines when they were predicting the Surge would never work. Now they're awfully quiet on the subject of General Petraeus and his strategy. Maybe they have some shame after all.

Has either of these armchair generals ever recognized how wrong they were on Iraq? Has either ever apologized to the real general whose leadership has matched the valor and skill of his troops in Iraq? Or praised George W. Bush for having the flexibility to adopt a whole new and better strategy in Iraq? If so, I haven't noticed.

Instead, Barack Obama pretends that it's his patriotism that's being criticized, not his military judgment, which has been more political than military. What a stark contrast with Sen. McCain's record. John McCain was criticizing Donald Rumsfeld in the strongest terms years ago, while Barack Obama was still nuancing like mad. As is his way.

Happily, Mr. Rumsfeld is no longer secretary of defense and we're winning in Iraq. But it was John McCain who stuck to the goal of victory through the darkest days in Iraq and never wavered, while Barack Obama was ready to pull out and hope for the best, which in reality would have been the worst possible outcome.

At one point, Sen. Obama said his policy toward Iraq was much the same as the president's, but that of course was early on, when we appeared to have won a short war.

Never fear: Barack Obama is not about to desert his country's cause in its hour of victory. It is only in times of crisis - when the enemy is advancing and America is divided and defeat seems inevitable, in those times that try men's souls, to borrow a line from Thomas Paine - that Barack Obama fails the test as president - and as commander-in chief.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.