"We have incurred a moral responsibility in Iraq," he said in that speech, which he delivered after returning from a week-long trip abroad, including his eighth visit to Iraq. "It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal."
McCain also seems to believe he has a personal moral responsibility to people like Lynne Savage of Wolfeboro, N.H. in the U.S. succeeding in Iraq. Her son, Army Cpl. Matthew Stanley, was killed in Iraq in December 2006. McCain met her at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last summer where she gave the candidate her metal bracelet bearing her son's name and photo. McCain has worn it ever since.
At the end of almost every campaign speech, he refers to Mrs. Savage and her son.
"She said [to me], 'I just want you to promise me one thing,'" McCain said at a campaign stop in Springfield, Illinois. "'I want you to promise me that you'll do everything in your power to make sure that my son's death was not in vain.' I promised her then I would. and I will keep that promise, not only to her, but to thousands and thousands of other family members of brave, young Americans who have served and sacrifice."
In his speech in Kansas City, McCain quotes Winston Churchill: "Never despair."
McCain realizes very well that many Americans are despairing of the hope that the war in Iraq can ever be successfully concluded. To them, very simply, he too is saying: "Never despair." If he cannot convince Americans of that, it will be very difficult for him to become the country's next president.