Thursday, January 31, 2008

John McCain's Own Benchmark Porposal:
A Timetable for Withdraw!

UPDATE BELOW: Romney's strong support for the surge in early January '07:
UPDATE II BELOW: Captain's Quarters had the McClatchy Tribune story as well:

Regarding this CNN-reported ongoing kerfuffle over the timetables . . . how about a little perspective here?

One year ago, on January 26th of 2007, the McClatchy Tribune out of Tuscon, Arizona, per Margaret Talev, reported that John McCain himself was proposing a timetable of specific benchmarks that the Iraqis would have to meet, or we would pull out!

And Barack Obama was quoted in the story congratulating his fellow Senator at the time, noting that he (Obama) had proposed the same thing two weeks before!!

Below are the first several grafs of the story, which can be found here (my emphasis added).

And he's making his accusations aimed at Mitt Romney, for being for a timetable back then?
McCain considers setting benchmarks for Iraqis
By Margaret Talev
Tucson, Arizona
Published: 01.26.2007

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the most stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq, said Thursday that he might propose that the Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks for the United States to continue its engagement.

Fellow senators and independent political scientists said McCain's thinking reflected growing concerns within the Republican Party about the course of the war, and also might mark a turning point for the likely 2008 presidential contender, whose previous unconditional backing of the war may have hurt his prospects.
McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. "They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them," he said.

Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: "I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options."
. . . .

Here is the key quote in the story from Barack Obama at the time:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said: "I called for that . . . several weeks ago. I'm glad that John McCain agrees with me."

So, just one year ago, John McCain was suggesting PULLING OUT of Iraq for failure to meet his benchmarks! And, he was warmly congratulated for his stand by Senator Barack Obama!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the Boston Globe story, (hat tip: Free Republic, here) dated January 10, 2007, highlighting former Governor Romney's position supporting the troop surge, a few weeks before John McCain (above) announced he was for specific benchmarks and withdraw if they were not met!

From the story by Rick Klein:

WASHINGTON -- Former governor Mitt Romney Wednesday endorsed President Bush's plan for a troop increase in Iraq, breaking his public silence on the troop "surge" by arguing that a stable Iraq is only possible if US forces can provide security to Iraqi civilians.

Hours before Bush spoke Wednesday night, Romney issued a statement calling for five additional combat brigades in Baghdad and two Marine regiments in Al-Anbar province -- precisely the plan for as many as 21,500 new troops that was outlined by the Bush administration before the president’s speech.

"It is impossible to defeat the insurgency without first providing security for the Iraqi people," Romney said in a statement released Wednesday morning. "In consultation with generals, military experts and troops who have served on the ground in Iraq, I believe securing Iraqi civilians requires additional troops."

UPDATE II: Captain's Quarters had the McClatchy-Tribune story linked as well here. Ed Morrissey notes there was no specific timetable included, but observes how unwise it now appears for McCain to have picked a fight over this issue:

He didn't use the supposedly verboten word "timetables", but unmet benchmarks have to have timetables to be unmet, and clearly McCain had some timeframe in mind with this remark. Like I said, he drew a really dumb line in the sand with this issue.

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