A war veteran and presidential contender for 2008, McCain seemed to be squarely in the president’s corner during the Senate debate.
In fact, McCain has increasingly hedged his position on the surge, showing full support for Bush’s plan one moment and then pivoting at another moment to point out grievous tactical errors he says are being made by the White House. For example, in front of a conservative audience at the American Enterprise Institute in January, McCain said that while the president was sending the minimum number of soldiers to Baghdad needed to make the plan work, the plan would indeed work. Then, on the Senate floor on Feb. 8, he announced that he was “very doubtful that we have enough troops” there to get the job done. Furthermore, while Bush agreed to an unconventional arrangement in which command for the surge will be split between U.S. and Iraqi military leaders, McCain warned the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 23 that he knew of “no successful military operation where you have dual command.” He has also suggested the Iraqis might not contribute adequately in the operation to secure Baghdad.
At times, McCain has come across as one of the Senate’s harshest critics of the surge plan’s tactics, stopping just short of predicting failure in Baghdad. He has certainly been far more critical of its tactical aspects than Bush’s other main ally in the Senate, Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman, who has stuck to unflagging endorsements of Bush’s war policy.
Nowadays he tells you that he was before the surge before it was the surge, that he says he is in favor of timetables — and then he says he never said it…
Let me know if you can figure out what he really means.