Robert Wright and Jim Pinkerton raise an important issue -- it's very clear from the record that John McCain strongly supported the dispatch of additional troops to Iraq, but it's not at all clear that he supported the suite of counterinsurgency tactics that he now wants us to believe is what the term "the surge" refers to. Indeed, the basic shape of the Anbar Awakening -- talk to your enemies, make concessions to bad guys to get them out of the terrorism business, etc. -- doesn't sound at all like the kind of thing McCain supports philosophically.

I'm open to being corrected on this point if anyone has evidence of McCain saying something like "we really ought to be reaching out to the insurgency and negotiating with them" during or before the summer of 2006 then I hope they'll let me know. But fundamentally the tactical turnaround that led to a lot of the successes north of Baghdad doesn't actually seem to have been anything McCain was calling for.

UPDATE: For example, here's a June 2006 speech on Iraq where McCain lays out his views and doesn't call for anything like the Anbar Awakening tactics.

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