McCain: Let's Slow Down the Iraq Withdrawal

Don't blow fragile democracy by decamping, he argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2010 9:08 AM CDT
Iraqis chant anti-Baathist slogans at a protest in Najaf, south of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 21, 2010. They were among hundreds of protesters demanding a manual recount of recent election results.   (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
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(Newser) – In a bit of campaign deja vu, John McCain is pumping Iraq’s not yet counted March 7 election as “a triumph for Iraq—and for the United States”—and saying the US shouldn't be in a hurry to leave the country. In an op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, McCain argues that Iraq’s democracy is taking shape at last, and that the US needs to foster it. “For this reason,” he writes, “I urge President Obama to continue to be flexible in implementing the withdrawal of US forces.”

Obama’s goal of reducing troop levels to 50,000 by August isn’t stipulated in the Status of Forces Agreement, McCain notes. “The president added that deadline himself, assuming Iraq’s election would occur in January, not in March. We should be open to revising this timeline.” Though some Americans may question the necessity and cost of the war, he argues, once again, that we’ve already invested so much in the country that we need to ensure it becomes a shining example of democracy in the Middle East.

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