The Los Angeles Times is reporting that, in a speech to be delivered sometime today in Columbus, Ohio, McCain will lay out “what I [McCain] would hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as President.” According to the report, this is the scenario he will describe:
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.
The would-be Commander-in-Chief goes on to describe how, by 2013, he has reduced the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan with NATO’s diligent support. He also predicts that Pakistan will fully adopt the “counterinsurgency tactics that worked so well in Iraq and Afghanistan” and that bin Laden will be captured or killed by the end of his term.
It is often a frustrating concept in electoral politics that a candidate can’t defeat “Santa Claus,” and while liberal candidates have most often exploited this fact by promising the most to voters in terms of economic handouts, McCain has promised the voters an awful lot while outlining relatively no dynamic policy changes to assure that these promises go unbroken.
On a side note, this is not the first time McCain has made broad predictions about progress made in Iraq:
“The conflict is going to be relatively short.” – 3/23/03
“It’s clear that the end is very much in sight. It won’t be long. It, it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” – 4/9/03
“We will probably see significant progress in the next six months to a year.” – 12/4/05
The New York Times also has a report on it here.