Friday, July 18, 2008

McCain to Declare Victory in Iraq

John McCain is edging toward a declaration that the U.S. has won in Iraq, Fox News reports:

John McCain took one step closer to declaring victory in Iraq Thursday, telling Missouri residents and later reporters that the U.S. military has “succeeded.”

The presumptive GOP nominee usually couches his language and argues the troop surge is “succeeding,” but on Thursday he emphasized that strategic success has already been achieved.

The rhetorical development comes as Barack Obama prepares to travel to Iraq for the first time as a presidential candidate and to Afghanistan for the first time ever.

“I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded,” McCain said first at a Kansas City, Mo., town hall meeting.

He then reiterated the line for reporters aboard his campaign bus.

“I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq — not we are succeeding — we have succeeded in Iraq,” he said. “The strategy has worked and we now have the Iraqi government and military in charge in the major cities in Iraq. Al Qaeda is on their heels and on the run,” McCain said.

He added that progress on the ground is still tenuous.

“The success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed, and it’s still — if we do what Senator Obama wants to do, then all of that could be reversed and we could face again the chaos, increased Iranian influence and American loss and defeat,” he added, noting that he hopes his Democratic rival comes around to his view during his visit to the war zone.

Obama has in recent days argued that the Iraq war is a distraction, and that more U.S. resources must be devoted to fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and securing loose nuclear material. Democrats accuse McCain of wanting to prolong a war with virtually no end.

At a second press conference called to clarify conflicting messages in the campaign about its view of Obama’s trip overseas, McCain elaborated again on his declaration of success.

“We have succeeded in Iraq. We have succeeded and if we continue the strategy we will win the war,” he said. “This is a fragile victory. This is a fragile success. … If we will continue this, we will win this war.”
That's not quite declaring total victory, but it's close. McCain wants the majority of troops home before declaring complete success.

See also, "
Victory in Iraq: An Update."