He recently disparaged Sen. John McCain, as well as Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, for their temerity in arguing — as President Obama and Frank Rich have as recently as this summer — that Afghanistan remains a war of necessity. Rather than offer a serious argument for why that is no longer the case (and his assertion that the war of necessity has quite suddenly and exclusively relocated to Pakistan does not count as serious), Rich did all he has the character and talent for: project his own unattractive attribute onto his targets…

For Rich, the prospect of failure in Afghanistan was just a club with which to beat the Bush administration and candidate McCain, and, having done its job, is now not worth our attention. Were Rich an honest columnist, he would care more for the integrity of his argument than for its success in scoring points off his opponents’. He might acknowledge that, even if you think him more often wrong than right, McCain has been right on occasions when Rich was wrong, and has often put what he believed to be the interests of his country before his personal and partisan considerations. He would debate the issue without maligning the record of an opponent who has risked more for his beliefs and his country than Mr. Rich has or will ever be expected to, and has earned not blind deference to his views but surely the presumption of sincerity.