He's walking back his hundred years comment, as he surely must. But it's a remarkable sentence:
“And by the way, that reminds me of this hundred year thing. I was asked in a town hall meeting back in Florida, how long would we have a presence in Iraq? My friends, the war will be over soon, the war for all intents and purposes although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years, but it will be handled by the Iraqis, not by us, and then we decide what kind of security arrangement we want to have with the Iraqis ... "
Now what does this mean? How do you separate "the war" from the occupation and the insurgency? I think you could make an argument that we won the war four years ago but lost the occupation. But war is politics by other means. What does McCain mean by the end of the war, then? Does he mean the vanquishing of al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity that was not in Iraq in any great numbers before we invaded? Does he mean the pacification of the country - a task that is clearly beyond anyone. Does he mean Shiite control of the south? But that's already a fact. I don't know what he means, except that he understands that if he runs on waging this war in Iraq for his entire term, he won't get elected.
My friends, if you'll pardon the expression, I think the GOP nominee may have just declared victory. Which means the battle will now be over how to spin the exit. Funny how quickly that "war" ended, isn't it?
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