The great thing about being John McCain is that you get to play politics-as-usual, and continually flip-flop on the issues, and the corporate media will continue to promote your marketing brand as if it were valid. In 2007, McCain was dead set against Iraq withdrawal timelines. The Associated Press reported:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Saturday he will not relent in his fight against Democrats in Congress who want to set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
"We will not allow the United States of America to lose this war," the Arizona senator told a packed crowd at a restaurant.
Now, we'll just slide by the part about not losing a war that had already been lost, and that never should have been fought, but note that McCain was equating timelines with defeat. And just last month, McCain criticized Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for suggesting timelines:
“I do not want to keep our troops in Iraq a minute longer than necessary to secure our interests there," McCain will say at the Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters, according to prepared remarks.
"But I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for President that they cannot keep if elected. To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility. It is a failure of leadership,” he continues.
“The American people deserve the truth from their leaders. They deserve a candid assessment of the progress we have managed to make in the last year in preventing the worst from happening in Iraq, of the very serious difficulties that remain, and of the grave consequences of a hasty, reckless, and irresponsible withdrawal. If we are honest about the opportunities and the risks, I believe they will have the patience to allow us the time necessary to obtain our objectives.
“That honesty is my responsibility, and it is also the responsibility of Senators Obama and Clinton, as well as Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. Doing the right thing in the heat of a political campaign is not always the easiest thing. But when 4,000 Americans have given their lives so that America does not suffer the worst consequences of our failure in Iraq, it is a necessary thing. In such a grave matter, we must put the nation’s interests before our own ambitions.”
Of course, securing our interests in Iraq is a matter of definition. It could mean national security, in which case we'd get out as soon as is possible. It could mean stealing every lost drop of their oil, in which case we'll have to be there a while. And, of course, neither Clinton nor Obama has made a promise about an end date. They've talked about when we can begin drawing down our presence, and they've set targets for when they hope all combat troops can be home. Neither has set a date in stone. Both believe there could be complications. Even we who favor a complete pullout, with no "trainers" and no boondoggle "embassy," understand that logistics will necessitate that expeditiousness does not mean immediate. But both Democrats have a goal of getting out. McCain's having spun their plans as rash and irresponsible is an example of the American people not getting the truth they deserve from their leaders. Depending, of course, on to what degree one considers McCain one of our leaders. But McCain clearly isn't going to live up to his "responsibility" to do "the right thing in the heat of a political campaign," to do "a necessary thing," or to put "the nation's interests" before his ambition. And the fun part is that he's now changing his story, altogether. From Michael D. Shear of the Washington Post Blog:
Sen. John McCain predicted today that the Iraq war would be won and most American troops would come home by 2013 if he is elected president, joining his Democratic rivals for the first time in offering a timeline for a large-scale military withdrawal.
McCain said only a small contingent of troops, in non-combat roles, would remain in Iraq five years from now. He said the drawdown would be possible because al-Qaeda in Iraq would be defeated and a democratic government would be operating in the war-torn country.
McCain's speech described in detail the "conditions that I intend to achieve" by the time his first term in office ends. He said he will "focus all the powers of the office, every skill and strength I possess," to make that future a reality.
Which McCain's spinners will spin as not being a promise, as opposed to the plans offered by Clinton and Obama, which also weren't promises. The parsing of what McCain previously meant, what he now means, how this is different than what the Democrats have been saying, and why this isn't a flip-flop will be fun to watch. As shear continues:
Asked to make a withdrawal timeline pledge during a debate last September, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama declined, saying that "it's hard to project four years from now and I think it would be irresponsible. We don't know what contingency will be out there."
But more recently, Obama has said he will remove all combat brigades from Iraq within 16 months of becoming president and will leave "some troops" in Iraq to protect U.S. embassy personnel there and carry out targeted strikes on terrorists.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said during the same debate last year that it was her "goal" to have all of the U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2013, though more recently she has said she would begin a phased withdrawal immediately.
McCain's lackeys are already lackeying away, but their spin lacks truth, honesty, and responsibility. In the heat of the campaign, McCain is once again proving that he's nothing but another dishonest, pandering right wing politician.