Time for Charles' monthly "WE'RE WINNING IN IRAQ, DON'T YOU KNOW!" article. It's almost as if Charles so desperately wants it to be true that just by getting someone else to say it, it will be.
One of the knottiest problems the neocons have (and Charles is a charter member of that group) is how to come up with a working definition of "winning" that doesn't actually entail winning. As a result, they are big on not losing, but can't really tell you what it means to win. They use words like surrender, as if American forces will drop their weapons and hold their hands over their heads in abject subjugation, but the neocons don't ever say exactly who they would be surrendering to. Of course, that's not important in the Orwellian game of rhetoric they are playing. They have vaguely pointed to an Iraq that is free, democratic, and friendly to the West as a general definition of winning, but since there is about as much chance of that happening as there is of it spontaneously happening in Iran, they tend not to go directly there. See, the problem for the neocons is that the Iraqis elected a government full of Iranian spies, and given the choice, they would prefer to live in an Islamic republic under Sharia. In other words, if we did what we have said we were going to do: stand up a freely elected government and leave the Iraqis to their own devices, Iraq would be Iran in six months.
So the neocons point to the forces that would draw Iraq in an undesirable direction, calling them insurgents and terrorists, and generally ignoring the fact that an insurgency can't exist without approval, however tacit, of the indigent population. The Hollywood notion of bullying thugs terrorizing the population is very romantic, but just like every other Hollywood notion of geo-political strife, it is purely mythological. The fact is, and this comes to me from people who, unlike Charles, have actually been there, the Iraqis are simply waiting us out. Yes, they are grateful that we got rid of Saddam for them. Fortunately for us, most of them don't know or remember that it was us who put Saddam there in the first place. But like a tiresome uncle who has overstayed his welcome, most Iraqis wish us well and wish we were gone.
In the end, it isn't that neocons like Charles fear that the Democrats will cut and run from Iraq, it is that they fear the loss of influence they have gained over the last 7 years. It is a simple fact that modern Democrats don't end wars. They manage, through general foreign policy ineptitude to get us embroiled in conflicts all the time. They seem to have a great time lobbing anti-war-rhetoric bombs at Republicans, even when it was they themselves who got us involved. Neither Clinton nor Obama has made any campaign statement flatly promising to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home. Clinton has said the occupation must last until Iraq is stable, vaguely mirroring the neocons' rhetoric, and Obama has said he would favor an expansion of military muscle in the region to suppress Islamic extremism. So the neocons' shrill accusations of Democrats' shaky war nerve is empty rhetoric. Simply put, the Democrats have no intention of giving the neocons the kind of influence they have had under the Republicans (and especially with Bush).
John McCain has already demonstrated that he is, if anything, an even more willing puppet of neocon thought. While George Bush and the neocons have parted company, at least publicly, McCain and the neocons are still in a blissful honeymoon. Given McCain's unbalanced psychological state and his history of throwing allies under the bus at his slightest inclination, the neocons are probably making a deal to sleep with a serial killer, but they deserve what they get in that regard.
The Democrats' rhetoric with regard to the war being already lost has less to do with their view of the war itself and more to do with portraying Republicans and inept and untrustworthy. To that end, they are their own worst enemies. The neocons and the war groupies in the GOP will use that rhetoric against them, portraying them as weaklings and pacifists. Clinton and Obama face a precarious balance in keeping the anti-war extreme left reasonably happy while not alienating the vast middle ground that has bought the Bush Administration's neocon agit-prop on the extreme threat posed to us by Islam. While it doesn't make a penny's worth of difference which of the current contenders achieves the Oval Office, the battle to see who gets there will certainly be...umm...entertaining?