To the extent that national security plays a role in this election–and unlike many observers, I am not convinced that it will not play a significant role–it should be recalled over and over and over again that when it came to discussing and analyzing the prospects of the troop surge in Iraq and the implementation of the attendant counterinsurgency strategy, one side got it right and another got it completely and entirely wrong.
Each side is represented by one major party candidate for the Presidency of the United States. I’ve called the attention of readers to this before, but consider once again the words of Machiavelli:
Of no little importance to a prince is his choice of ministers, who are good or bad according to the prince’s intelligence. In forming an opinion about a ruler’s brains, the first thing is to look at the men he has around him, for when they are adequate and loyal he can be considered prudent, because he recognizes those who are competent and keeps them loyal. When they are otherwise, the prince is always to be estimated low, because the first error he makes, he makes in choosing advisers.
If Machiavelli was right, then when one goes into the voting booth, one ought to recall both which candidate showed the most impressive amount of brainpower both when it came to predicting and gauging the surge’s success and when it came to selecting friends with the best judgment possible on the surge’s success. The candidate who scored the highest in this competition has a strong claim to being the one best prepared to take on the challenges and rigors of the Presidency.
And fortunately, Peter Wehner identifies who that candidate is in the link above.