McCAIN AND WITHDRAWAL….Back at the end of January, John McCain’s coup de grâce against Mitt Romney was a completely bogus charge that Romney wanted to “wave a white flag” in Iraq. “My friends, I was there,” McCain said. “He said he wanted a timetable for withdrawal.”
This was an early indication that McCain was pretty much willing to say and do anything to win the nomination. But that was then and this is now: polls show that Americans overwhelmingly favor a withdrawal from Iraq and McCain wants to win the presidency. Result: in a speech today in Ohio outlining his vision for what he wants the world to look like at the end of his first term, McCain says he’ll bring the troops home:
By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.
So that’s that. McCain expects to withdraw all but a handful of troops from Iraq by 2013. Sure, he’s just sort of fantasizing here, and I imagine we’ll hear some revising and extending once reporters start asking him pointed questions about this. But his intent is obvious: he wants to let the voting public know that he really, really wants to get out of Iraq soon, just like Barack Obama. It’s looking more and more as if everyone’s going to be campaigning against the war this year. Welcome aboard, Senator.