Okay, now we have an official statement…

“Let’s be clear, the only reason that the conversation about reducing troop levels in Iraq is happening is because John McCain challenged the failed Rumsfield-strategy in Iraq and argued for the surge strategy that is responsible for the successes we’ve achieved and which Barack Obama opposed.

Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain has never ignored the facts on the ground in Iraq, he’s never avoided the warzone before proposing new strategy, and he’s never voted against funding our troops in the field. If John McCain was following Barack Obama’s lead on foreign policy, the United States would have already withdrawn from Iraq in a humiliating defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.” —Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008.

Yes, let’s be clear.

McCain has consistently said that he thinks withdrawal with a timetable would mean defeat, surrender, etc. In fact, the last time Maliki talked about withdrawal (first part of July), McCain said the following…

Since we are succeeding,” Mr. McCain said this week, “then I am convinced, as I have said before, we can withdraw and withdraw with honour, not according to a set timetable.

“And I’m confident that is what Prime Minister Maliki is talking about, since he has told me that for the many meetings we have had.”

Maybe he didn’t hear him correctly? Or maybe Maliki stabbed McCain in the back? Whatever it is, the game has changed today.

Also, I’m still not sure I know why we have such a big problem with set timetables. It’s not like we can sneak out in the middle of the night and catch the terrorists off guard.

More as it develops…

Politics McCain Responds To Maliki's Withdrawal Talk