"The conflict is...going to be relatively short."
-John McCain, March 23,2003
"I would argue that the next three to six months will be critical."
-John McCain, September 10 2003
"We will probably see significant progress in the next six months to a year."
-John McCain, December 4, 2005
"There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq."
-John McCain, March 26, 2007.
The next week, McCain did go for a stroll in Iraq, accompanied by 100 American soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead. McCain and his colleagues also wore body armor.
"The next six months are going to be critical."
John McCain, September 12, 2007
Meanwhile, Watergate reporter Bob Woodward has a new book out. An article in The Washington Post suggests that "the surge" was not what reduced the violence in Iraq from apoclyptic to mere our of control. At least least three other factors were:
"as important as, or even more important than, the surge." They include "a series of top-secret operations that enabled them to locate, target and kill key individuals in groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni insurgency and renegade Shia militias, or so-called special groups," paying off the "so-called Anbar Awakening," and Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's order to "his powerful Mahdi Army to suspend operations, including attacks against U.S. troops."