In one of the oddest editorials of the campaign season, the Washington Post, which endorsed Barack Obama, takes us through an “irony” in Iraq:
The irony is that the reversal of fortunes came about after President Bush ignored the message from 2006 voters and the Democratic congressional majority they elected. Instead of withdrawing U.S. troops, Mr. Bush launched the “surge” for which Republican John McCain had been pressing. Yet the biggest beneficiary of its success is not Mr. Bush, whose popularity is as low as ever, or Mr. McCain, but Democrat Barack Obama. Mr. Obama gained traction early in the Democratic primary campaign by stressing his opposition to the war and support for a 16-month withdrawal timetable. By the time his general election competition with Mr. McCain began, Iraq had faded as an issue. Mr. Obama’s withdrawal proposal, which would have triggered a catastrophe in 2007 and still looked irresponsible a few months ago, now does not sound that different from what the Iraqi government and the Bush administration have lately been negotiating.
There remain important differences between Mr. Obama’s strategy and that espoused by U.S. commanders and Iraqi leaders. We hope that, if elected, Mr. Obama will embrace the prudent conditionality that those commanders support and at which Mr. Obama so far has only hinted. But today is not the day for detailed policy advice. Suffice it instead today to be grateful that the president-elect will inherit a war that has gone from the brink of disaster to a path toward success — and to give thanks, above all, to the servicemen and women and their family members who have sacrificed incalculably to make that turnaround possible.
It is not just the “servicemen and women and their family members” that the president-elect will owe a debt of gratitude to, but McCain himself. Isn’t that right? So the man the Post endorses–who made the exact wrong call and whom the MSM coddled and protected from much scrutiny on this very subject–should, if he wins, be grateful that McCain was there to do the right thing. But who should be there the next time a hard call is required? The Post recommends Obama, the one whose advice was, luckily, ignored. Obama: the one whose policy would have triggered a “catastrophe,” in the words of his endorser. Got it! It is no wonder the Post–and others who honestly perceive the course of events in Iraq–rely on “hope” and “transformation” to justify their support for Obama.