The implosion of the Bush-McCain position in Iraq - that any firm commitment to a deadline for withdrawal is the equivalent of "surrender" - is being put under an even stronger spotlight:

The proposed agreement calls for Americans to hand over parts of Baghdad's Green Zone - where the U.S. Embassy is located - to the Iraqis by the end of 2008. It would also remove U.S. forces from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, according to the two senior officials, both close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and familiar with the negotiations.

The officials, who spoke separately on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing, said all U.S. combat troops would leave Iraq by October 2010, with the remaining support personnel gone "around 2013." The schedule could be amended if both sides agree - a face-saving escape clause that would extend the presence of U.S. forces if security conditions warrant it.

The escape clause makes a small difference. But it's a great thing that the Iraqis themselves are forcing the issue of departure of all troops. The imperial faction in Washington would never have done it voluntarily; now their bluff is being called. If McCain had not been engaged in silly Rovian tactics against Obama on Iraq, he could have run as the man who can get us out of Iraq, because the surge has made such a strategy less perilous than it might have been. To link the surge to success and to withdrawal would been a brilliant pro-war anti-war strategy. But Bush and McCain blew it.