Here’s Ken Pollack explaining that if you count wrong, then McCain and Obama have similar positions on Iraq:
Well, I actually think his timeline, Obama’s timeline, even McCain’s timeline are actually pretty close. Now that’s what you’ve seen over the last 18 months, that we’re now really debating months, maybe years, but really just months. Mr. McCain is basically saying he’ll start some kind of a drawdown in 2011, 2012. Mr. Obama is saying it’d be more like 2009, 2010. And what Maliki seems to be saying is 2010, 2011 — somewhere in the middle.
For one thing, it’s just flat-out wrong to say that Maliki is talking about a drawdown starting in 2010 or 2011 — he said he wanted a timeline whose endpoint is somewhere in 2010. But more to the point, Pollack’s counting the wrong thing. Sure, if you go from when different people say they want to start reducing troop levels there’s not so much disagreement. But the most important part about these timetables is when they end. Obama’s timetable ends in 2010. Maliki’s timetable ends in 2010. McCain’s timetable, by contrast, ends . . . never.