Six of One, Half a Dozen of Another: McCain Adopts The Obama Plan for Iraq


John McCain has flip-flopped once again, this time on his Iraq policy. After attacking Obama’s plan for months he has essentially endorsed it. McCain reversed course on the sixteen month time table, first proposed by Obama and later endorsed by the Iraqi government, saying “I think it’s a pretty good timetable” in an interview on CNN. The video is above and the transcript follows:

BLITZER: What if Maliki persists? You’re president and he says he wants US troops out and he wants them out, let’s say in a year or two years or 16 months or whatever. What do you do? Do you listen to the prime minister?

MCCAIN: He won’t. He won’t. He won’t. Because it has to be condition-based.

BLITZER: How do you know?

MCCAIN: Because I know him. And I know him very well. And I know the other leaders. And I know — I’ve been there eight times, as you know. I know them very, very well.

BLITZER: So why do you think he said that 16 months is basically a pretty good timetable?

MCCAIN: He said it’s a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground. I think it’s a pretty good timetable, as we should — or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground.

During the Republican nomination battle, McCain repeatedly attacked Mitt Romney by accusing him of supporting a timetable for withdrawing:

First, he slapped at Romney without naming him during a question-and-answer session with Floridians, saying: “Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster.”

Minutes later to reporters, the Arizona senator was more direct: “If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher.”

McCain has also repeatedly accused Obama of supporting surrender. In a May interview McCain said, “For him to talk about dates for withdrawal, which basically is surrender in Iraq after we’re succeeding so well is, I think, really inexcusable.”

McCain previously thought it was a good idea to remain in Iraq for one-hundred years, and defended his plan by attacking Obama and Clinton while promising to stick to his plan to remain:

“And both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal — that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we’ve achieved and al Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America.

“I won’t let that happen.”

Now McCain has suddenly adopted Obama’s plan. McCain’s supporters have tried to downplay the manner in which McCain has adopted Obama’s plan by stressing that the withdrawal must be based upon conditions on the ground, but considering conditions on the ground has been part of Obama’s plan all along. A sixteen month plan for withdrawal is a sixteen month plan regardless of whether you admit this is Obama’s plan, and nobody would deny that such a plan must be flexible enough to change with changing conditions on the ground.

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  1. 1
    TCG says:

    McCain’s unfair attack on Willard Romney about “Waving the white flag of Surrender” was one of the funniest moments in the GOP primary.

    All Mittens had done was to suggest in an interview that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if Maliki and Bush met in private to discuss an exit strategy someday.

    It was Hilarious seeing McCain, with a straight face state that Mittens want to leave chaos and genocide behind in Iraq and that Mittens owed an apology to the brave troops for this betrayal.

    Poor Mittens couldn’t do anything about it either. He could only protest the McCain was bullying him unfairly.  And, the real funny part of it was that nobody believed Mittens because he is a lying weasel.

    This may have cost Mittens the Florida Primary and the nomination. Classic.

  2. 2
    b-psycho says:

    What amuses me about McCain is just how boxed in (by his own fault) he is when discussing Iraq.  If things are improving in Iraq it’s “we can’t leave, it’ll all go to crap!”; if things are going bad in Iraq it’s “we can’t leave, it’s all going to crap!”. 

    By his definition of “victory” he gave to Wolf Blitzer, he should be more enthused about withdrawal than Obama, since he won’t shut up with his claims that the surge increase in troops drastically improved things.  Needless to say, even if it weren’t a deliberate fudging of what really happened, that’s not the point with him.  Funny, since politically speaking if McCain had any brains he would’ve taken the “declare victory and go home” tactic.

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