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Old 07-22-2008, 06:35 AM   #766
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Again with the all or nothing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strongbow View Post
I'm waiting for you to show me where Barack Obama stated that he would NOT start withdrawing any US combat brigades until the Iraqi military was ready to sufficiently perform the task of any US combat brigade that is withdrawn.
That is NOT the same as withdrawing without any regard to conditions on the ground.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:26 AM   #767
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Would withdrawing with towns under control of Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia in 2005-2006 have been done with regards to conditions on the ground?
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:40 AM   #768
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Originally Posted by mobvok View Post
This is absurd. If Maliki wanted Bush's or McCain's plan, he would have said that. Instead, he directly referenced Obama's plan. Very clear. Non-binding, but very clear. Strongbow's built a little box for himself so that Maliki could explicitly announce tomorrow "The Iraqi Government wants US troops to immediately leave Iraq right now within 24 hours" and it be interpreted as "Of course the government wants troops to leave Iraq right now! But they insisted before that any withdrawal must be based on conditions so what Maliki really meant is that he actually agrees with Bush and McCain."
Barack Obama's plan is a time based withdrawal. The Iraqi's, Bush, McCain, the US military all believe that any withdrawal must be conditions based. Certainly, the Iraqi's believe that conditions are improving to the point that 16 month withdrawal plan might be possible, and they would certainly prefer that, but they have never stated that they wanted US troops to begin withdrawing or to continue withdrawing if security worsens, or the Iraqi military is not ready yet.

Barack Obama has said he might suspend his withdrawal plan if Iraq achieved all 18 benchmarks, but he never stated that he would suspend it or not begin it if the Iraqi military was not ready, sectarian fighting surged again, or if there were other problems.

Iraq's national security advisor stated that what they would like to see is the Iraqi military FIRST successfully take over security in each of the 18 provinces. Then the US military would withdraw from the cities but not the country and would remain in Iraq for the next 3 to 5 years with the security situation to be reviewed every 6 months. That is the Iraqi plan, and its much closer to Bush, McCain plans on Iraq than Obama's.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:45 AM   #769
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Originally Posted by maycocksean View Post
What's the point, Sting? I mean really? No matter what evidence is presented you will simply deny it, reinterpret it, or dismiss it.

If you can produce any proof that you've ever admitted you're wrong about anything then I'll consider doing the research.

I don't have any "message" I have to stay on. If I'm wrong I'll say so--in fact, I think I recall saying I hoped I was wrong about the Surge not being a success back when it began and now, it appears that has been successful, and so I'm happy to admitt that I was wrong on that.

What about you? No. . .I guess you're batting a thousand like always.
I have yet to see anyone present any evidence that Barack Obama has always been for "as they stand up, we'll stand down". If your so convinced that he is indeed for that, post your info. Its that simple. I think it would be great if Barack Obama supported a conditions based withdrawal as opposed to a time based one. If Barack Obama does win in November, I hope he will change his position on this and only pull out US troops from Iraq as conditions on the ground there warrent it, the same withdrawal plan that Bush, McCain, the Iraqi government and the US military have supported all along.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:50 AM   #770
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
That is NOT the same as withdrawing without any regard to conditions on the ground.

Well, do you not think that is a very important condition to have before withdrawing US combat brigades? Probably the most important?

But tell me, where did Barack Obama say he would NOT start or suspend his withdrawal plan if the security situation worsned or the Iraqi military was not ready. He has always said he would start withdrawing immediately, without listing a single condition or prerequisite to starting the withdrawal. NOT ONE! His only condition for possibly suspending the withdrawal has been if Iraq achieved all 18 benchmarks, not if things broke down, violence increased, or the Iraqi military was unable to do the job after the United Sates military withdrew from certain areas.

But really, if Barack Obama's plan is more conditions based than simply being time based, present the info that shows that.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:56 AM   #771
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strongbow View Post
Barack Obama's plan is a time based withdrawal. The Iraqi's, Bush, McCain, the US military all believe that any withdrawal must be conditions based. Certainly, the Iraqi's believe that conditions are improving to the point that 16 month withdrawal plan might be possible, and they would certainly prefer that, but they have never stated that they wanted US troops to begin withdrawing or to continue withdrawing if security worsens, or the Iraqi military is not ready yet.

Barack Obama has said he might suspend his withdrawal plan if Iraq achieved all 18 benchmarks, but he never stated that he would suspend it or not begin it if the Iraqi military was not ready, sectarian fighting surged again, or if there were other problems.

Iraq's national security advisor stated that what they would like to see is the Iraqi military FIRST successfully take over security in each of the 18 provinces. Then the US military would withdraw from the cities but not the country and would remain in Iraq for the next 3 to 5 years with the security situation to be reviewed every 6 months. That is the Iraqi plan, and its much closer to Bush, McCain plans on Iraq than Obama's.


this is getting silly.

STING is the only person on the internet claiming that the Iraqi government is opposed to Obama's plan, and in favor of McCain/Bush's open-ended occupation.and yet, the Iraqi government stands with Obama. he went to Iraq, and the government said that, yes, Obama has been right all along, that what Obama wants is what the Iraqis want:

Quote:
“We cannot give any timetables or dates, but the Iraqi government believes the end of 2010 is the appropriate time for the withdrawal.”
in response, the Bush administration has scrambled and lobbed a "time horizon" for reducing the American military, which ironically makes McCain the odd man out because he says that he's against both the "timetable" and the "time horizon." McCain can continue to talk about "victory" and "surrender," but this is a now obsolete position that only passes as barely logical if you continue to believe that there's some sort of false choice between a rigid timetable for withdrawal that ignores changing conditions on the ground and listening only to recommendations of military commanders (as if the Iraqis don't matter ... and as if military commanders author policy?).

what everyone knows is that "success" in Iraq is going to be based upon the increased credibility of the Iraqi government to actually govern Iraq, and a clear endpoint to American occupation will increase that credibility.

a "surge" post is coming ... hopefully ...
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:10 PM   #772
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep View Post
He has not said the surge was a success.


Very disappointing. Reminds me of W.

so you're going to be like W and demand "yes" or "no" answers to difficult, complex questions? are you going to hold Obama over a barrel and demand he admit "success" -- what does that mean anyway? -- in the way that the Democrats held Hillary over a barrel and demanded that she regret her vote to authorize the Iraq war that she never apologized for?

let's look at what Obama actually said:

Quote:
My job is to think about the national security interests as a whole and to weigh and balance risks in Afghanistan and Iraq," Obama said. "Their job is just to get the job done here, and I completely understand that. [note--it's amazing how this is forgotten, that the military doesn't create policy, politicians do, and that the military doesn't get a blank check to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, especially in situations where it's quite clear that our national security interests are hardly threatened, nor were they ever)

"I think it is indisputable that, because of great work that they have done, as well as the unbelievable work that the troops have done, we've made significant progress in terms of reducing violence in Iraq," he said.

However, Obama would not attribute the decreased violence entirely to the troop surge, which he opposed, instead saying that it was the result of "political factors inside Iraq that came right at the same time as terrific work by our troops. Had those political factors not occurred, my assessment would be correct. ... The point I was making at the time was the political dynamic was the driving force in that sectarian violence."

and he's right. yes, changes in tactics and strategy did help to lower violence. but what's much more critical to the downswing in violence wasn't "the surge" as we understand it, but the fact that al Qaeda reached levels of violence against Iraqis to the point where they lost the support of the Sunnis:

Quote:
Shift in Tactics Aims to Revive Struggling Insurgency
Al-Qaeda in Iraq Hopes A Softer Approach Will Win Back Anbar Sunnis

Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, February 8, 2008

BAGHDAD -- The Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq is telling its followers to soften their tactics in order to regain popular support in the western province of Anbar, where Sunni tribes have turned against the organization and begun working with U.S. forces, according to group leaders and American intelligence officials.

The new approach was outlined last month in an internal communique that orders members to avoid killing Sunni civilians who have not sympathized with the U.S.-backed tribesmen or the government.

From internal documents and interviews with members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a picture emerges of an organization in disarray but increasingly aware that its harsh policies -- such as punishing women who don't cover their heads -- have eroded its popular support. Over the past year, the group has been driven out of many of its strongholds. The group's leadership is now jettisoning some of its past tactics to refocus attacks on American troops, Sunnis cooperating closely with U.S. forces, and Iraq's infrastructure.

"Dedicate yourself to fighting the true enemy only, in order to avoid opening up new fronts against the Sunni Arabs," said the Jan. 13 communique, signed by the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. "Do not close the door of repentance in the face of those Sunnis who turned against us," said the message, posted in Anbar mosques frequented by the group's followers.

The communique does not order an end to attacks against Shiite Muslims, whom al-Qaeda in Iraq has long seen as heretics, and it was unclear whether the views of group members in Anbar would apply in parts of the country where al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters are more active. Iraqi officials have blamed the group for two bombings Feb. 1 in predominantly Shiite areas of Baghdad that officials said killed as many as 100 people.

American intelligence officials said the communique is consistent with the past leadership style of Muhajer, an Egyptian also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who took command of the group after his predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June 2006.

"Zarqawi did a lot of just indiscriminate killing -- it didn't matter when, where, why or how," said one senior intelligence analyst who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity under military ground rules. "Masri is more picking his targets and trying to get away from the massive indiscriminate killings, because it created a big black eye for al-Qaeda in Iraq."

The U.S. military says it destroyed much of the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007, killing 2,400 suspected members and capturing 8,800, while pushing the group almost completely out of Baghdad and Anbar province. Although U.S. officials and their Sunni allies caution that al-Qaeda in Iraq remains dangerous and could find ways to regenerate, they assert that the group now is largely a spent force.

"We do not deny the difficulties we are facing right now," said Riyadh al-Ogaidi, a senior leader, or emir, of al-Qaeda in Iraq in the Garma region of eastern Anbar province. "The Americans have not defeated us, but the turnaround of the Sunnis against us had made us lose a lot and suffer very painfully."


and what's also been critical was the cease-fire negotiated by Sadar and teh militias being taken out in Basra and Sadr City by the Iraqi army. and, sadly, the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad -- not to mention 4 million refugees -- that has put Sunnis and Shiites out of direct contact.

if it was merely "the surge" that transformed Iraq -- and was authored by McCain, as he'd have you believe -- levels of violence would be up again because we're now back down to about 150,000 troops (as opposed to 170,000+). so there are fundamental underlying changes that have taken place in Iraq that have much more to do with Iraqis than with Americans.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:21 PM   #773
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The whole Spiegel article. SPIEGEL Interview with Iraqi Leader Nouri al-Maliki: 'The Tenure of Coalition Troops in Iraq Should Be Limited' - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

It should be mentioned that the interview was held last Tuesday, and the agreement over the time horizon was last Thursday. But the US military helped Iraq's government to spread out word it was a misunderstanding.

Probably the most important part of the interview.

Quote:
SPIEGEL: Germany, after World War II, was also liberated from a tyrant by a US-led coalition. That was 63 years ago, and today there are still American military bases and soldiers in Germany. How do you feel about this model?

Maliki: Iraq can learn from Germany's experiences, but the situation is not truly comparable. Back then Germany waged a war that changed the world. Today, we in Iraq want to establish a timeframe for the withdrawal of international troops -- and it should be short. At the same time, we would like to see the establishment of a long-term strategic treaty with the United States, which would govern the basic aspects of our economic and cultural relations. However, I wish to re-emphasize that our security agreement should remain in effect in the short term.

SPIEGEL: How short-term? Are you hoping for a new agreement before the end of the Bush administration?

Maliki: So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias. The American lead negotiators realize this now, and that's why I expect to see an agreement taking shape even before the end of President Bush's term in office. With these negotiations, we will start the whole thing over again, on a clearer, better basis, because the first proposals were unacceptable to us.

SPIEGEL: Immunity for the US troops is apparently the central issue.

Maliki: It is a fundamental problem for us that it should not be possible, in my country, to prosecute offences or crimes committed by US soldiers against our population. But other issues are no less important: How much longer will these soldiers remain in our country? How much authority do they have? Who controls how many, soldiers enter and leave the country and where they do so?

SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?

Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

SPIEGEL: Is this an endorsement for the US presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?

Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, which factor has contributed most to bringing calm to the situation in the country?

Maliki: There are many factors, but I see them in the following order. First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq. This has enabled us, above all, to pull the plug on al-Qaida. Second, there is the progress being made by our security forces. Third, there is the deep sense of abhorrence with which the population has reacted to the atrocities of al-Qaida and the militias. Finally, of course, there is the economic recovery.
I find it also interesting that Maliki doesn't make any mention of the surge.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:22 PM   #774
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politico.com

McCain gaffes pile up; critics pile on

Jim VandeHei, Mike AllenTue Jul 22, 6:13 AM ET

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “Iraq” on Monday when he apparently meant “Afghanistan”, adding to a string of mixed-up word choices that is giving ammunition to the opposition.

Just in the past three weeks, McCain has also mistaken "Somalia" for "Sudan," and even football’s Green Bay Packers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ironically, the errors have been concentrated in what should be his area of expertise: foreign affairs.

McCain will turn 72 the day after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepts his party’s nomination for president at the age of 47, calling new attention to the sensitive issue of McCain’s advanced age three days before the start of his own convention.

The McCain campaign says Obama has had plenty of flubs of his own, including a reference to "57 states" and a string of misstated place names during the primaries that Republicans gleefully sent around as YouTube links.

McCain aides point out that he spends much more time than Obama talking extemporaneously, taking questions from voters and reporters. "Being human and tripping over your tongue occasionally doesn't mean a thing," a top McCain official said.

But McCain's mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?

Voters, thinking about their own relatives, can be expected to scrutinize McCain’s debate performances for signs of slippage.

Every voter has a parent, grandparent or a friend whose mental acuity declined as they grew older. It happens at different times for different people — and there is ample evidence many people in their 70s are as sharp and fit as ever.

In McCain’s case, his medical records, public appearances and travel schedule have suggested he remains at the top of his game.

But his liberal critics have been pouncing on every misstatement as a sign that he’s an old man.

Already, late-night comics have made McCain’s age an almost nightly topic, with CBS’s David Letterman getting a laugh just about any time he says the words “McCain” and “nap” in the same sentence.

Last week, McCain tried to defuse the issue by pretending to doze off during an appearance with NBC’s Conan O’Brien.

Republicans would like to make the case that McCain is seasoned and Obama is a callow newcomer to the public stage. But that’ll be harder if he keeps up the verbal slips, which make it easier for comedians and critics to pile on.

“First Gaffe of Obama Trip ... Goes To McCain,” blared Monday afternoon’s banner headline on the left-leaning Huffington Post, accompanied by a photo of McCain appearing to slap his forehead.

That referred to an ABCNews.com posting asserting that McCain appeared to confuse Iraq and Afghanistan in a “Good Morning America” interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, who asked whether the "the situation in Afghanistan is precarious and urgent.”

McCain responded: “I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border," McCain said. The ABC posting added: “Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do.”

Unfortunately for McCain, that wasn’t an isolated slip. Among the other lapses:

• “Somalia” for “Sudan”: As recounted in a reporter’s pool report from McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus on June 30, the senator said while discussing Darfur, a region of Sudan: "How can we bring pressure on the government of Somalia?"

Senior adviser Mark Salter corrected him: “Sudan.”

• “Germany” for “Russia”: A YouTube clip from last year memorializes McCain referring to Vladimir Putin of Russia — following a trip to Germany — as “President Putin of Germany.”

• This spring, McCain said troops in Iraq were “down to pre-surge levels” when in fact there were 20,000 more troops than when the surge policy began.

• Also this spring, McCain twice appeared to mistake Sunnis and Shiites, two branches of Islam that split violently.

• In Phoenix earlier this month, McCain referred to Czechoslovakia, which has been divided since Jan. 1, 1993, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also referred to Czechoslovakia during a debate in November and a radio show in April.

• In perhaps the most curious incident, McCain said earlier this month that as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he had tried to confuse his captors by giving the names of Pittsburgh Steelers starting players when asked to identify his squadron mates. McCain has told the story many times over the years — but always correctly referred to the names he gave as members of the Green Bay Packers.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:30 PM   #775
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McCain's new ad, making fun of Obama worship. That's funny, I like the song in the background.

YouTube - Obama Love

My Eyes Adored You version

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Old 07-22-2008, 12:37 PM   #776
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post

• “Germany” for “Russia”: A YouTube clip from last year memorializes McCain referring to Vladimir Putin of Russia — following a trip to Germany — as “President Putin of Germany.”
I'm sorry, we are fine with having had one dictator and two half-dictators.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:43 PM   #777
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
McCain's new ad, making fun of Obama worship. That's funny, I like the song in the background.

YouTube - Obama Love

My Eyes Adored You version

YouTube - Obama Love V2
Yeah, those are going to backfire...

What a waste of money McCain.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:50 PM   #778
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Obama should make a McCain attack ad w/ all of McCain's gaffes and "jokes" and intercut them with clips from the movie Grumpy Old Men (I love that movie) and Grumpier Old Men, the sequel. That would be awesome. I think I'll send that in to barackobama.com. I'm very bored today.. Or put McCain into The Dark Knight somehow, I think he'd be Harvey Dent.

Is there a song you could relate to calling your wife the c word?
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:23 PM   #779
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Quote:
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I believe McCain would be a better President.
While I understand and probably somewhat admire your taking a cautioned approach to Obama, I'm really surprised to hear you say this.

As time goes on, and more and more reports of McCain's anger issues, misogyny, and either lapses in knowledge or memory (about multiple subjects that are imperative for any presidential candidate to know) pile up to the extent that they can't be attributed to being isolated incidents, I can see McCain being nearly as inept as Bush. Contrast that with Obama, who admittedly doesn't have all the experience in the world, but who would be thoughtful enough to learn or seek advice, and to me, there is no comparison.

I suppose I can see a lifetime Republican sticking with party lines and voting McCain, but not someone who is/was on the fence. Not with what we've seen in recent months.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:22 PM   #780
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this is getting silly.

STING is the only person on the internet claiming that the Iraqi government is opposed to Obama's plan, and in favor of McCain/Bush's open-ended occupation.and yet, the Iraqi government stands with Obama. he went to Iraq, and the government said that, yes, Obama has been right all along, that what Obama wants is what the Iraqis want:



in response, the Bush administration has scrambled and lobbed a "time horizon" for reducing the American military, which ironically makes McCain the odd man out because he says that he's against both the "timetable" and the "time horizon." McCain can continue to talk about "victory" and "surrender," but this is a now obsolete position that only passes as barely logical if you continue to believe that there's some sort of false choice between a rigid timetable for withdrawal that ignores changing conditions on the ground and listening only to recommendations of military commanders (as if the Iraqis don't matter ... and as if military commanders author policy?).

what everyone knows is that "success" in Iraq is going to be based upon the increased credibility of the Iraqi government to actually govern Iraq, and a clear endpoint to American occupation will increase that credibility.

a "surge" post is coming ... hopefully ...
Whats silly is your continuing ignorance or unwillingness to acknowledge the key difference between Barack Obama's withdrawal policy and the Iraqi government and McCains policy on withdrawal. McCain and the Iraqi government are for withdrawal only as conditions warrent it. Obama is for a withdrawal regardless of conditions on the ground, start withdrawing immediately with all combat brigades out in 16 months period.

Yes, the Iraqi government thinks it could be possile and would love for US combat brigades to leave within a 16 month, but will only support such a withdrawal if the conditions on the ground warrent it, and the Iraqi forces have reached the level of capability required to replace US military forces that are withdrawn.

But hey, if you think the Iraqi's support the withdrawal of US forces prior to the Iraqi military being able to sufficiently replace US combat brigades that are withdrawn, please post a source for that.

The Bush administrations policy has always been "as they stand up, we'll stand down". That is the policy that the Iraqi's, the US military, and McCain are following. Obama wants to stand down regardless of whether the Iraqi's are standing up.
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