If there's a better argument for McCain over Obama than their positions on The Surge -- the Gen. Petraeus-led increase in force and counterinsurgency techniques in Iraq implemented in late 2006 -- it would be hard to find. And despite his anti-Bush analysis, Bob Woodward's new book, The War Within, is demonstrating that not only does the President matter, he can determine the direction of the country for decades to come.
Think about it: Lincoln replaced McClelland with Grant, and Grant won the Civil War. LBJ and his Cabinet were cowed by Westmoreland and his terrible strategies in Vietnam, and the US effectively lost the war before Nixon became President and actually had an effective military strategy. And 20 years from now, just as we can regret Reagan's withdrawal of the Marines from Lebanon and curse Carter's vacillation during the Iran hostage crisis, we will point to George W. Bush's determination as the main factor in winning in Iraq.
Unlike nearly every Senator (McCain is a rare exception), the Secretaries of State and Defense (Rice and Rumsfeld), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Iraq Study Group led by James Baker III and Lee Hamilton, and much of the military's top brass, President Bush held firm and decided that the United States had to WIN the war in Iraq instead of claiming victory in the midst of a retreat. He was "out of touch" and his own top generals and admirals worked against implementing their commander-in-chief's orders to increase counterinsurgency tactics. (For more about the turf wars and NSA Steve Hadley's role in winning them for the President, see here).
Bush did the unpopular and correct thing. His decision and Petraeus' leadership have restored the reputation of the American military. And Andrew Jackson's maxim that "one man with courage makes a majority" was proven correct.