The Prime Minister of Iraq agrees with Obama’s timetable for a U.S. withdrawal:
When asked in an interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, [Prime Minister] Maliki responded “as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned.” He then continued: “US presidential candidate Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months.” …
Iraq, Maliki went on to say, “would like to see the establishment of a long-term strategic treaty with the United States, which would govern the basic aspects of our economic and cultural relations.” He also emphasized though that the security agreement between the two countries should only “remain in effect in the short term.”
Democrats circulate an interview McCain gave in 2004:
QUESTION: Let me give you a hypothetical, senator. What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there? I understand it’s a hypothetical, but it’s at least possible.
McCAIN: Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it’s obvious that we would have to leave because— if it was an elected government of Iraq—and we’ve been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government, then I think we would have other challenges, but I don’t see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.
Marc Ambinder comments,
This could be one of those unexpected events that forever changes the way the world perceives an issue. Iraq’s Prime Minister agrees with Obama, and there’s no wiggle room or fudge factor. This puts John McCain in an extremely precarious spot: what’s left to argue? to argue against Maliki would be to predicate that Iraqi sovereignty at this point means nothing. …
(Via e-mail, a prominent Republican strategist who occasionally provides advice to the McCain campaign said, simply, “We’re fucked.”)
Meanwhile, President Bush is now open to “a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals — such as … the further reduction of U.S. combat forces in Iraq.”
Uh … that would be a “timetable for withdrawal” that dare not speak its name.