The findings seem to cast doubts on McCain's frequent assertions that the United States is "on a path to victory" in Iraq by underscoring the deep uncertainties of the situation despite the 30,000-strong U.S. troop surge for which he was the leading congressional advocate.
The McClatchy reporters know McCain has never declared victory. When McCain speaks about Iraq he points to major declines in violence and progress in the Iraqi Parliament -- all objective measures. McCain has never declared victory. In the next paragraph watch as the McClatchy reporters reluctantly admit what the entire country must know:
But McCain could also use the findings to try to strengthen his argument for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq until conditions stabilize.
Excuse me, that has always been McCain's argument. Defeat al-Qaeda, reduce the violence, give the Iraqi people a chance to get on their feet before we leave. And John McCain has warned about the dangers of pulling out too soon. Here is McCain speaking at the VFW on victory in Iraq this past spring.
Victory in Iraq is finally in sight. A great deal depends on the decisions and judgment of the next president. The hard won gains of our troops hang in the balance. The lasting advantage of a peaceful, Democratic ally in the heart of the middle east could still be squandered by a hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines.
McCain is much more in command of the facts about Iraq than Barack Obama or the untrustworthy reporters at McClatchy.