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Ignoring Victory

This short item, buried deep inside USA Today should not go unnoticed:

October could be the first month of the Iraq war when no U.S. servicemembers will have died in combat in Baghdad.

As of Thursday, the Pentagon had reported 13 U.S. troops killed in combat and non-combat incidents this month in Iraq. If the number holds, it would tie July for the lowest monthly U.S. death toll of the 5½-year-old war.

This is, of course, very good news (which is exactly why it’s getting little attention). It also highlights the great irony of John McCain’s involvement with Iraq. Had the surge in Iraq been a disaster, McCain would not be a viable candidate. But now that Iraq is getting better – much better – nobody cares anymore. What McCain didn’t really understand when he entered this race is that no matter what happens in Iraq, the war is a political loser for him. Failure – his fault. Success – voters are moving on. Perhaps the right position on Iraq, politically speaking, was to either: oppose it, like Obama (failure – he got it right and it remains an issue very much in the news. Success – and nobody cares, so it doesn’t really hurt Obama), or ignore it (failure – it’s Bush, not me. Success? Great, lets move on).

But if that’s the lesson politicians are going to learn, who’s going to be the one supporting – actively supporting – the next war. You know, this is probably not the last one.



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