While talking about the war in Afghanistan yesterday, John McCain predictably went after Barack Obama, saying Obama “has no strategy.” It was an odd attack, given the fact that McCain had just flip-flopped on his Afghanistan policy, and embraced Obama’s strategy as his own.
Here’s McCain yesterday, talking about his plan to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, in order to bring an Iraq-like strategy to the country.
The key quote, of course, was pretty straightforward: “[O]ur commanders on the ground in Afghanistan say that they need at least three additional brigades. Thanks to the success of the surge, these forces are becoming available, and our commanders in Afghanistan must get them.”
What’s important to realize, though, is that while Obama has been arguing for a year that he wants to send additional troops to Afghanistan, McCain has always held the opposite position, opposing the deployment of more U.S. troops, and arguing that any additional troops come from NATO.
Yesterday, however, McCain reversed course, change his position, and embraced Obama’s policy as his own. As Josh Marshall explained, “So let’s all say it out loud: McCain is now copying Obama’s position on Afghanistan. And with troops that he doesn’t have since he’s against pulling any out of Iraq.”
But it gets worse. McCain has actually held multiple positions on Afghanistan in the last seven days.
Last Tuesday, McCain did not want to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
By yesterday morning, McCain said he does want to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
Almost immediately after giving his speech — literally just minutes after the event — McCain said he didn’t exactly mean what he’d said in his prepared remarks, and argued that the additional troops could come from NATO, not U.S. forces.
And then a few hours later, McCain refined his policy a little more, saying the additional troops would come from NATO and U.S. forces.
Remember, the premise of John McCain’s presidential campaign is a) his expertise on foreign policy and national security; and b) his consistency.