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Imagine this: Barack Obama and John McCain are debating in October.

Senator McCain says: ‘As I said at the time, early in the war we made mistakes in Iraq. But we’ve learned. We’re on the right track. The surge is working.’

Obama says: ‘It that’s correct then tell me one thing – give me one example of something – we have accomplished by attacking Iraq that has helped us defeat Al-Qaeda.’

Republicans want the debate about Iraq to be about the surge’s success. But Senator Obama may not give them that debate. Instead, he may say conquering Iraq is, for example, the equivalent of conquering Spain in World War II. Franco was a Fascist. And it would have been nice to depose him. But it wouldn’t have helped defeat Hitler. So, Obama’s answer to McCain saying, ‘We need to win in Iraq,’ may be, ‘Then tell me how that will defeat Al-Qaeda?’

And Senator McCain’s answer to that question may determine the outcome of his campaign. Because he’s said we may need to stay in Iraq, as we have South Korea, for years. And it’s going to be hard to justify that unless he can prove it will help defeat Al-Qaeda.

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