John McCain has back peddled slightly on critiques of Obama’s patriotism, instead attacking under the pretext of judgment.

Yesterday, Senator Obama got a little testy on this issue. He said that I am questioning his patriotism. Let me be clear: I am not questioning his patriotism; I am questioning his judgment. Senator Obama has made it clear that he values withdrawal from Iraq above victory in Iraq, even today with victory in sight. Over and over again, he has advocated unconditional withdrawal – regardless of the facts on the ground. And he voted against funding for troops in combat, after saying it would be wrong to do so. He has made these decisions not because he doesn’t love America, but because he doesn’t seem to understand the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq, how it would risk a wider war and threaten the security of American families. I am going to end this war, but when I bring our troops home, they will come home with honor and victory, leaving Iraq secured as a democratic ally in the Arab heartland.

The neocons have been pushing this “victory” line for quite some time without once pausing to define what victory actually resembles. Further, Obama never took issue with the surge as a viable tactic for reducing violence, but rather that it was one component in a failed strategy. That is, U.S. hegemonic influence in the Middle East with nebulously defined objectives has been a failed strategy for protecting our interests. Even if the political reconciliation ushered in part by the surge ultimately leaves Iraq a “secured…democratic ally” (arguably this would mean leaving at the Iraqi’s behest, which McCain originally supported, but later dropped in favor of continual war), it would still be unclear how doing so had advanced U.S. security goals: Al-Qaeda deepens its roots in Pakistan and there had never been any evidence that Saddam supported Al-Qaeda in the first place. There were never any WMDs. Somehow, this contours of this thinking have been advanced to evince McCain’s superior judgment.

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