By Patrick Appel
Here's part of a post on McCain's offical blog:
Barack Obama promises to bring the troops home within 16 months, an unconditional timeline we reject not only as being dangerous but infeasible, John McCain promises to bring the troops home with victory secured. If there is a "growing consensus" to withdraw American troops, that consensus only exists because the American people now recognize that victory is at hand and our presence will not be required in Iraq for much longer. But Barack Obama has always supported withdrawing troops, regardless of the consequences for Iraq, the region, and American national security. At some point, we will be 16 months away from leaving Iraq, and then Obama will be claiming he was right all along. But even a broken clock is right twice a day.
What would have happened if we withdrew earlier is unknowable, as is what would have happened if we never invaded in the first place. Both campaigns have their arguments about the past. Each argument has its merits. But McCain talks about "victory" in Iraq in the same way Bush does, as a fully functioning Iraqi democracy somewhere way off in the distance. Obama talks about victory as a imperfect, non-totalitarian Iraqi government. We're approaching Obama's definition of victory but not McCain's.