This is the title of a very smart article by Michael Gordon in today's
Times "Week in Review."  Of course, the real war hardly ever meets the
campaign on the hustings where the candidates utter their slick bromides
-- and pretend that their "solution" would be neat and easy, effective and

Gordon observes that John McCain has given the most detailed and
comprehensive analysis of where we stand in Iraq.  Maybe that's because
he's a military man and is able to face the tough choices as if he himself
were in battle.  To be sure, the contrast between him and his Republican
competitors is a stark one.  "Victory" was Rudolph Guiliani's answer to
what should be done in Iraq.  And now one believes what Romney says anyway.

The analyses by the Democrats are also irrelevant.  That's because they are
tailored not to the actual situation in Iraq and how it affects and will
affect both the Iraqi population and American power over the long-run but
to the politics of their mini-constituencies.  Anyway, the Democrats try
not to talk about the war anymore.  And that's because what they said would
happen has not...and what they said would not happen has.

Anyway, Gordon's piece is illuminating and truth-telling.