Straight talking the Wall Street Journal

John McCain, war critic?

By Tim Grieve
Published September 17, 2007 7:36PM (UTC)
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The Wall Street Journal says John McCain's presidential campaign is making a comeback as it tries to ride "what it perceives to be a sentiment among Republicans that the war in Iraq is turning around."

The Journal acknowledges that McCain's "war pitch is a complex one." "He hammers on how he was among the first Republicans to blast what he calls 'the Rumsfeld strategy' of trying to subdue Iraq with limited means," the Journal explains. "As far back as 2003, Mr. McCain argued that the U.S. needed far more troops in Iraq -- a message, he argues, that the Bush administration didn't hear until the start of this year, pursuing until then a strategy he says was 'doomed to failure.'"


Truth be told, it's all a little more "complex" than that. While McCain may have argued for more troops at the beginning of the war, he seemed pretty solidly in line behind the Rumsfeld strategy as things progressed. Here's McCain on Iraq in 2004: "I'm confident we're on the right course." And here's McCain on Iraq in 2005: "Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course."

The Journal doesn't mention McCain's flip-flopping on Iraq. But that's OK, neither does he. In an interview with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough this morning, the senator declared that he broke with Bush and Rumsfeld on Iraq "from the beginning, after traveling over there in 2003. And I said that the strategy would fail."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Iraq War John Mccain R-ariz.