The Magazine

Warring Campaigns

McCain and Obama trade blows over Iraq.

Jun 23, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 39 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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But this, too, is a risky line of attack for Obama, whose campaign staff often discuss Iraq in a manner that suggests they are utterly unaware of the changes that have taken place there over the last 18 months. Last week, on the same conference call, Obama military adviser Richard Danzig, a well-spoken former secretary of the Navy, spoke of "increasing sectarian violence" in Iraq. And Obama's website makes claims about the surge that are both misleading and false. Judging by the "Iraq" section of the site, Obama seems to believe that Iraq is still in the midst of a "civil war," a talking point even the most ardent war critics have dropped, and that the reductions in violence "do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006." They do.

All of which brought this response from McCain adviser Mark Salter. "It's sort of comical for Barack Obama and his foreign policy team to falsely accuse John McCain of confusion when they all seem to be suffering under some kind of mass delusion."

One fact emerges from all of this carrying on: Iraq will remain a major issue through the fall.

Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.