The War's End

Matthew DeLong reports that John McCain says the Iraq War is already over and yet that means we need to . . . keep fighting the war forever:

]I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq, not we are succeeding we have succeeded in Iraq. 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, but the success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed, and it’s still – if we do what Sen. 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.

It's an intriguing perspective, I guess.

It's worth noting that minimizing Iranian influence in Iraq as a war aim is a pretty tough cookie. Iran, unlike the United States, is adjacent to Iraq. Unlike the United States, in other words, Iran doesn't have any plausible way to be indifferent to what happens in Iraq. Iran can have a friendly relationship with the Iraqi government, or it can have a hostile relationship with the government of Iraq, but it can't be indifferent -- the Iranians don't have any other continents to live on. So if we are determined to keep large forces in Iraq checking Iranian influence, then the Iranians are going to do their best to undermine that. And the only way to keep checking that influence over the long-run is going to be for us to be continually meddling in Iraqi affairs. But no need to worry about that since we've already succeeded.