As Ambinder points out — and as the left has conveniently forgotten in their ecstasy over Maliki’s non-endorsement endorsement — 16 months isn’t really feasible, even if the Second Coming is elected in November. But never mind that. Is this the new spin? That because McCain is conditions-based, if things continue to improve he’s apt to pull the troops out sooner than Obama will? I.e. Petraeus comes to Obama on January 21, 2009, and says, “Everything’s fine. We can go.” and Obama replies, “No, I said 16 months and gosh darn it, I meant it”?
Update: Michael Goldfarb of Team Maverick e-mails with this statement:
John McCain would like to get U.S. troops out of Iraq tomorrow, but any withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground and our commanders have made fairly clear that they do not believe that 16 months, even under ideal conditions, would allow for a safe and responsible withdrawal of all American troops and their equipment. Even Barack Obama does not intend to pull all U.S. forces out of Iraq in 16 months, but has committed to maintaining in Iraq a “residual force” of unspecified size for an undetermined length of time.