So, Barack Obama goes to Iraq and Afghanistan. It appears that Senator Obama does know what he is talking about after all. Maliki has clearly stated that the position of the Iraqi government is to have US troops out of their country by 2010. Wow. 2010. That sounds a lot like what Barack Obama has said. John McCain is now stuck. He has taken Bush's position which never made any sense to anyone who wasn't an insecure neocon.
From HuffPost: "Prime Minister Maliki is the leader of a country and I'm confident he will act as the President and the Foreign Minister both told me in the last several days," said the presumptive Republican nominee. "It will be directly related to the situation on the ground -- just as they have always said. And since we are succeeding, I am convinced, as I have said before, we will withdraw with honor, not according to a set timetable."
McCain has only a couple of positions as I see it -
1) He can state that the Iraqis really don't know what's going on. The US, like a protective mother, knows best. I just don't see this going over with anybody.
2) McCain can try and play this with a little body-English and say that the US wants to withdraw as soon as possible. We agree that the end of 2010 is a goal if conditions on the ground support that goal. This is somewhat transparent but it may be the best option that McCain has.
3) Senator McCain can pressure Admiral Mullen and General David Petraeus to say that conditions on the ground have improved enough to push a complete and total withdraw by the end of 2010. This is almost laughable since Petraeus hasn't come close to saying anything like this but it may have merit since McCain and Bush have held up Petraeus as all knowledgeable.
Actually, all 3 of those positions are very lame but that is the best that John McCain can do. He has painted himself into this corner. It is hard to see any easy way out.
Watch John McCain struggle through this interview on Iraq policy on the Today Show.