"Fight the War, Or Bring the Troops Home"
Time columnist Joe Klein has a simple suggestion for what John Kerry ought to be saying about Iraq: blast Bush for fighting an incompetent, no-win war, and challenge him to get serious about ending the Sunni insurgency or admit the whole thing's been a failure. Klein even scripts a debate line for JK: "Fight the war, Mr. President, or bring the troops home."
Though Klein framed this advice as a retroactive critique of what Kerry's actually been saying on Iraq, TNR's Noam Scheiber endorses the approach as an avenue the candidate can still pursue. And I would add to his comments that it's (a) consistent with Kerry's sharp critique of administration war leadership in Afghanistan, past and present, and (b) consistent both with Kerry's earlier proposal for a larger troop deployment in Iraq, and his more recent argument that we need an end-game for the Iraq engagement. Sure, the Bushies would call it a "flip-flop," but they're going to do that with anything Kerry says on any subject.
I'm sure the CW will be that Kerry dare not try to out-tough Bush on Iraq for fear that it will "de-energize" all those anti-war Deaniacs he's counting on in November. But as I recall, the Good Doctor himself often said that stabilizing post-war Iraq was a mission in which the United States could not afford to fail.