Barack Obama is taking a commanding position in the national security debate. Governments in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly prefer the Obama strategy. They clearly reject the McCain idea that appears to support a permanent U.S. mega-presence in Iraq. They strongly support Obama's strategy of a major diplomatic initiative towards Iran to test that option.
McCain's problem is simple: He cannot provide any meaningful support to Afghanistan without also providing some meaningful withdrawal from Iraq. This is basic common sense and basic military strategy grounded in reality.
McCain's problem is political: From day one, he has always shortchanged the real war against terrorism and the war in Afghanistan in favor of the wrong war in Iraq.
McCain was disastrously wrong in 2002, 2003 and throughout these conflicts. Even while he argues the surge has worked, he remains almost obsessed with Iraq, unable to support withdrawals, advocating a 100-year presence, continuing to shortchange the battle against bin Laden and the efforts to stabilize the region, particularly Afghanistan.
Even the most cynical political commentators agree that this trip has been a major success and that John McCain is isolated on the far right hard-line.
Obama favors greater withdrawal from Iraq; he wins. Obama favors greater commitment to Afghanistan; he wins this, too. Obama favors more aggressive efforts to kill those who attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. He wins this, hands down.
McCain does have a résumé advantage, but this is being whittled away day by day by the realities of war and the Middle East.
And on top of everything, Baracks hits a spectacular 40-foot jump shot in front of cheering troops.
When you're hot, you're hot.
Originally posted at TheHill.com