Here’s a video of an informal press conference McCain held in Michigan.
The audio is a little tough to hear, so to clarify, McCain insisted that “we have succeeded” in Iraq. In fact, he said it multiple times: “I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded.”
(It reminds me of the time Marge Simpson told Bart that Springfield is “a part of us all. A part of us all. A part of us all.” She then explained it would help him remember and believe the line if she repeated it this way.)
OK, McCain probably misspoke again. He must have meant that he thinks Bush’s strategy is “succeeding,” not has “succeeded,” right?
Wrong. He's now referring to Bush's Iraq policy in the past tense, as if the war is over.
McCain added on the campaign bus: “I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq — not we are succeeding — we have succeeded in Iraq.”
Gotcha. It’s over. We won. The policy worked — not is working, but worked. Good to know.
In a political context, McCain had a series of rhetorical options. He could say that we will succeed in Iraq, but Americans have grown impatient. He could say that we’re in the process of succeeding, but that’s not quite good enough, either. So, McCain just made up his mind — we’ve already succeeded. We may not know it, and this victory may be limited to McCain’s over-active imagination, but it happened. Just trust him and don’t ask any questions.
Can we get out of Iraq, then? Apparently not: “The success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed.”
I have to say, I thought “success” was going to look a little more successful, but maybe that’s just me.
McCain, like Bush, considers this “mission accomplished.” I guess neither want to be taken especially seriously.