John McCain and Joe Lieberman have written a very good editorial on Iraq policy, in which they point out that thanks to the implementation of the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy–again, let us note that the President-elect and Vice President-elect opposed both of these policies and have not yet admitted error–there is an opportunity for bipartisan consensus to be created at long last when it comes to Iraq. Both invite the incoming Obama Administration to do what it can to foster this consensus.
To my mind, it would be tremendously helpful to follow the McCain-Lieberman recommendations and continue to have Ryan Crocker serve as Ambassador in Iraq, to rely on the judgments of Generals Petraeus and Odierno when it comes to formulating troop withdrawal plans and to stop pushing for artificial withdrawal dates and funding cutoffs through Congress.
We shall see whether the incoming Administration takes up the McCain-Lieberman offer. If it does, it shall have sufficient cover to pursue an effective Iraq policy–something the Bush Administration has not had and something that will help further American interests in the Middle East as well as setting Iraq firmly on the path towards normalcy. Of course, it is entirely possible that the incoming Administration will opt instead to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In which case, I hope that the President-elect is prepared to see his poll numbers drop.