Is McCain Quietly Backing Off His Support For Another Escalation In Iraq?

Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

mac.jpgJohn McCain’s new website, unveiled last week, features a significant policy change on the Iraq page.

Until Tuesday, this paragraph was the first point on the old Iraq page:

A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shiite militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country.”

On the new page, that entire paragraph has been deleted. The new page does not call for more troops and makes no mention of the “critical prerequisite” of disarming Sunni and Shiite militias.

This change raises two questions.

First, does John McCain still think we need more troops in Iraq, as his website stated until earlier this week?

Second, since John McCain currently supports President Bush’s policy of arming certain Shiite and Sunni militias, has he changed his view that disarming Shiite and Sunni militias is a “critical prerequisite” for success, as his website stated as recently as Tuesday?