Today’s Electoral Map (from FiveThirtyEight): Obama 308.9 EV ; McCain 229.1 EV
For years, conservatives have been saying that–short of “victory”–the only other reason we could leave Iraq is if the Iraqi government asked us to. As they put it so many times, “as the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down.”
Well, today that happened:
A deadline should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Iraq, and the pullout could be done by 2011, an Iraqi government spokesman said Tuesday.
Ali al-Dabbagh said any timetable would depend on “conditions and the circumstances that the country would be undergoing.” But he said a pullout within “three, four or five” years was possible.
“It can be 2011 or 2012,” al-Dabbagh said. “We don’t have a specific date in mind, but we need to agree on the principle of setting a deadline.”
I think it’s ironic that Republicans always say we should trust the people on the ground in Iraq to make the best judgments as to what we should do there. Well, I don’t think there’s anyone better to judge of what Iraq needs than the Iraqi people themselves.
And funny enough, this is the exact plan we Democrats have been advocating for years — start to withdraw troops within months, end within the next four years, and base the speed of withdrawal on the progress being made on the ground. So right now Democrats, the Iraqi people and the American people are all on the same side, while the Republicans want us to stay in Iraq for 100 years.
Of course, this all begs the question–will conservatives change their tune? Or will they go back on their word, as they often do?
Personally, I wonder what John McCain has to say about this:
Question: “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?”
McCain’s: “Well, if that scenario evolves than 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.” (Council of Foreign Relations, 4/22/04)
This headline from Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post says it best:
Is McCain Poised To ‘Refine His Position’ On Iraq?
I wouldn’t hold my breath.
UPDATE: What does John McCain do when faced with this inconvenient truth? Well, he lies about it, of course:
Q: Senator, with Iraqi leaders now calling for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals–
McCAIN: Actually, the Iraqis are not. The Iraqis were widely reported as short a time ago as a couple of weeks ago that there would be no status of forces agreement, and Maliki would say that, and it got headlines, and of course it turned out not to be true.