Dick Knows

24Jul08

You wouldn’t guess it from the hype, but McCain actually would be the guy who would end the war quicker and with the fewest casualties. Dick Morris spells it out.

It’s literally true that if McCain is elected, there will be fewer US deaths in Iraq than there will be if Obama prevails. By pulling out only when it’s safe to do so, McCain would finish the job and allow a peaceful transition to a stable democratic government. If we pull out too fast – and then have to go back in – the casualties will be many times those we now face.

McCain’s challenge is to cut through the emotion of anti-war angst, fueled by ‘wrong direction’ anxiety. And to redefine the discussion about Iraq away from the past and what to do next.

The Republican needs to shift the debate to Iraq’s future. Neither Obama’s belaboring of his previous opposition to the war nor McCain’s attacking the Democrat’s opposition to the surge is relevant – both lines are history lessons best left in the classroom. What voters want to know is: What now?

How does McCain answer their question?

McCain needs to hammer at one basic theme: that Obama’s pullout plan will lead to a third Iraq war. The Democrat wants to keep substantial numbers of troops next door, to go back into Iraq if necessary. McCain should stress that a premature withdrawal will lead to a collapse – losing the hard-won stability in Iraq, opening the door to an Iranian takeover and al Qaeda revival, and potentially forcing a new US invasion.

Obama isn’t a peace candidate, McCain can say – just an advocate of a deferred war. Just as the first President George Bush left the ingredients in place for a second war when he failed to depose Saddam Hussein in 1991, so Obama will fail to finish the job and invite yet another war if he abandons Iraq before our gains have been consolidated.

McCain can fire his consultants and just read Morris’ columns. It’s that simple to put Barack on the defensive.

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