07/31/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Surge or the Surge?

John McCain's latest argument is to somehow try to retroactively argue that by "surge" he meant "counterinsurgency strategy" and that the counterinsurgency strategy and thus the surge actually went back to 2006. Here is the video:   

One problem.  Just two months ago McCain came under attack for saying this:

"I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it's succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels." 

Of course, U.S. forces hadn't drawn down to "pre-surge" levels.  They are only now just getting back to 140,000, which is still above pre-surge levels.  But that's besides the point.  What was McCain referring in that moment?  Was he saying "We are drawing back down to where we were before Colonel McFarland started using counterinsurgency tactics in Anbar as part of the Anbar Awakening."  No, that is completely and patently absurd.  He meant that we are coming back down to pre-January 2007 numbers when the "surge" actually began.

In fact, he added later:

"The surge, we have drawn down from the surge and we will complete that
drawdown to the end -- at the end of July. That's just a factual

According to this statement John McCain is basically asserting that the surge is over.  But based on his own definition today the "surge" actually equals the counterinsurgency strategy.  So, is the counterinsurgency strategy over?  I think that might be news to General Petraeus.

Basically this is one of the most pathetic attempts of political spin that I have seen in quite a while.  Let's face it.  When John McCain went on CBS he completely bungled the facts and demonstrated that he had no idea of how the surge and Anbar Awakening played out.  His attempted explanation today by somehow claiming that by "surge" he actually meant the counterinsurgency strategy that was going on months before the troop increase, might make sense if he hadn't spent the past few months defining and referring to the surge as the troop increase that began in early 2007.