Here's the key text:
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.
I was curious as to how McCain and his campaign came up with "2013." Did it sound long enough to be realistic regarding Iraq, but short enough to be politically palatable to the American public? It sure sound better than 100 years! As I commented in Buck's post, it also means McCain is saying that he'll give you "victory" in Iraq — if you elect him not once, but twice.
That specific point can be argued somewhat, since McCain mentions January 2013, the end of his hypothetical first term, but that would of course be after the November 2012 election. And the "2013" reference was not some throwaway. You can read and watch McCain's full speech at his site here, or watch a series of YouTube videos starting with this one. But also check out this press release based on that speech and hawking "2013" throughout. The same page also plays this McCain ad:
All shall be well, or at least better, under McCain by 2013 — Bush's third term.
I find McCain's claims of "clarity" pretty funny, since his hallmark has been a lack of clarity and soundness on virtually every issue, and certainly on Iraq. Give him some points for articulating a vision, I guess, although I found his strategies for achieving these results poor, vague or non-existent. To me, this sounded more like a bedtime story. Among the many glaring questions that come to mind is, how the hell is McCain going to pay for our occupation in Iraq when his vision of "victory" is nowhere in sight and given the current cost of 2-3 billion per week?!?
I already covered McCain's vague and unrealistic stances on Iraq at length in John "100 Years" McCain, including all the ballyhoo about that particular statement. His latest speech is basically just more of the same, and the "100 Years" post essentially rebuts him on every claim he's making now. The BH and VS categories on Iraq have some other pretty relevant stuff debunking much of the Bush-McCain rhetoric on Iraq. But the key factors to remember regarding McCain are these:
He does not have a exit strategy on Iraq.
He does not even want an exit strategy on Iraq.
Not only is it highly unlikely that his policies, costly in terms of lives and treasure, will achieve his 2013 goals, it's quite likely they'll make them worse.
That's not to mention that:
A new poll by ICR found 68% of Americans want Congress to use the power of the purse to bring all troops home from Iraq within the next six months. This is up from 54% last September.
And the public is right. Bush, McCain and the neocons have had over five years now on Iraq. They've gotten to call the shots almost entirely as they've wanted to the entire time, and by any standard, and in so many, painful ways, they've been a failure. Many people have died and suffered as a result. America, Iraq and the world can't afford five more years of cowboy diplomacy abroad, Republican mismanagement at home, and bedtime stories from the bullies in the bully pulpit.
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)