In a big speech on Thursday morning, John McCain laid out his vision for what he hopes to have done by the end of his first term as president, if he's elected to the job.
The speech painted a rosy picture, to say the least. With McCain as president, in just four years the war in Iraq will be won and most U.S. troops will have come home, the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, will be stopped, the American economy will be growing, quality of life across the world will be up, the world food crisis will be over, U.S. public schools will be "much improved," healthcare will "become more accessible to more Americans than at any other time in history," the U.S. will be well on its way to energy independence, the country's southern border will be secure, the practice of using presidential signing statements to hamstring legislation the president doesn't like will have ended, ugly people will become more attractive, sunsets will be more colorful, the air will smell sweeter, lines will be eliminated and massage booths installed in DMVs across the country.
Out of the whole speech, it was McCain's message on Iraq that has gotten the most attention so far. That message was:
By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.
All of this sure would be nice, of course, but McCain added no specifics on how he would accomplish it. And, at Democracy Arsenal, Ilan Goldenberg points out that even before the U.S. invasion, McCain was making rosy predictions about the short-term future of Iraq that have turned out to be badly off.
The McCain camp has also released an accompanying ad, which can be viewed below.