For John McCain, Iraq troop withdrawal “must be based on conditions on the ground”. In that case we may very well be in Iraq for 100 years. If by conditions on the ground you mean can Iraqi society function as a full-fledged open society than we will be there for many decades to come. The violence is down but only because the walls have gone up all over Baghdad separating Sunni neighborhoods from Shiite areas.

There are no easy methods for extracting U.S. troops from Iraq but it has to be done and done soon. Obama’s 16-month timetable is a very realistic and attainable goal. John McCain has no solutions but is only interested in protecting his flank and that of the president.

To quote McCain’s disparaging observations on Barack Obama’s Iraq stance:

“someone who has no military experience whatsoever.”

“When you win wars, troops come home,” McCain said. “He’s been completely wrong on the issue. … I have been steadfast in my position.”

“We’ve succeeded. We’re not succeeding, we’ve succeeded,”.

And then McCain has the nerve to even bring up Afghanistan, a subject he has never seriously considered until now:

“I’ve always said it’s long and tough and hard.”

Such mendacity is simply too much. McCain has never given any serious consideration to the importance of Afghanistan. His entire presidential “crusade” has been all about Iraq. McCain sees no timeline when it comes to a U.S. troop withdrawal. He only sees a permanent presence and he dismisses Barack Obama as an impudent upstart who calls for a fixed timeline. Obama actually points out that Afghanistan, not Iraq, is the central battleground of the war on terror and that the American troop pull-out from Iraq should be completed by 2010.

McCain’s entire reason for running for president has now been all but extinguished. This past weekend Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki who virtually endorsed Obama’s troop withdrawal plan. If that wasn’t the death knell of the McCain campaign then it came very close.

John McCain is no maverick, if he really was he never would have promoted the “surge” strategy back in early 2007. He made his bed, now he must lie in it.