Here's the McCain campaign's response to the news of the day. It's considerably more optimistic and hard-headed than the utterance from the anonymous Republican strategist i quoted below.


"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 If John McCain was following Barack Obama’s lead on foreign policy, the United States would have already withdrawn from Iraq in a humiliating defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.”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.

The upshot here is that many Republican strategists think that Iraq remains an albatross around McCain's neck even though McCain has a very solid case to make about his political courage and his judgment. The Republican id is still smarting from the 2006 election smackdown, and the consequence of McCain's good judgment may well help his opponent, politically. Maliki has his elections to deal with., too, but knowing everything he knows and crediting the surge with security gains, he likes Obama's proposal -- or doesn't mind being associated with it.

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