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June 10, 2008


Can someone please explain why these quotes are ironic or need explanation? McCain said that we shouldn't fight in wars we cannot win or wars where we're unwilling to commit enough resources to win. Who could disagree?

IMHO these quotes reflect well on McCain. They indicate that he would not go to war lightly.

These statements are in direct contradiction to his currently stated position on Iraq, and his general support of the war.

As for him not going to war lightly, what support is there for that conclusion? Remember his statement, "I'm sorry to tell you...there's going to be other wars."

Raleighite -- thank you for the response.

To me, McCain's position on Iraq seems consistent with the statements that Brendan quoted.

He supports the war in Iraq. He believes that war is winnable, so, his position doesn't contradict his statement that we shouldn't fight unwinnable wars.

I acknowledge that many people believe the war to be unwinnable. McCain's support for the war is inconsistent with their opinion, but consistent with his own opinion.

Before the surge, McCain publicly said we didn't have enough soldiers in Iraq. That is, he criticized the failure to commit enough resources. His position seems consistent with his comment about not fighting wars if we're unwilling to do enough to win.

"If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone."

Polls are consistently showing that a large majority of Americans do not support this war. That seems, to me, to meet the standard of "the nation lacking resolve," so what McCain thinks (about whether the war is winnable) really isn't the issue.

Raleighite, you have a point, but IMHO a small one. Do the nation and government lack resolve? I'd say the government doesn't lack resolve. Lots of people in government have harshly criticized the war, but the government has contined to support the war in the way that matters: they keep voting for its continuation.

It's harder to say whether "the nation lacks resolve", because that phrase isn't precisely defined. Many of those who don't like the war would not favor immediate withdrawal. If someone doesn't like the war but is not ready give up, does that person "lack resolve"? I think not.

However, a big minority do favor immediate witdrawal. These people surely "lack resolve." Is a big minority enough to mean that "the nation" lacks resolve. Possibly.

Still, I think McCain's basic point is that we shouldn't fight a war we cannot win or are not prepared to win. If he were asked about these statements, no doubt he would say that in his opinion, Iraq is winnable and we are now doing what it takes to succeed there. I don't believe that answer would embarass him.

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