Just read Steve Coll’s edifying and nuanced profile of David Petraeus and it occurred to me that there’s been kind of a strange flip between the two parties on Iraq. There was a time when Republicans all wanted to talk about “the way forward” in Iraq and a lot of Democrats basically said “we shouldn’t be there in the first place!” I was one of them, and I think it was a legitimate sentiment. The answer to “what next?” was and is: leave.

But now, the Democrats, and the party’s nominee have a vision for the way forward: begin withdrawal. They talk about it all the time.

And the GOP has….what? That the surge was awesome. That we’re now winning. That we can’t withdraw because that would be an admission of defeat or an insult to our honor or something. But what next? I sat through four days of the RNC and didn’t hear anyone even pretend to answer this question.