Not only is Ali Frick write to point out that John McCain wasn't nearly as strong a dissenter from Bush's tactical vision in Iraq as his campaign likes to say, but it can't be emphasized enough how purely tactical his criticisms of the Bush administration were. Tactics are, of course, an important subject. But Iraq represents a fundamental error of strategy -- in short, a bad idea, not a good idea that was poorly implemented -- and on the strategic issues McCain has differed from Bush only insofar as McCain got to these ideas first and adheres to them more rigidly than Bush does.
He was the original political defender of "rogue state rollback" as the centerpiece of America's approach to the world, after all, and as best one can tell he still sees things this way and still sees the specter of appeasement lurking behind every effort to deal with problems constructively.
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