War: who is it good for?

Maybe you've heard that Maliki supports withdrawal.[1]

Let's talk about the politics. While Josh Marshall went farther than most when he wrote that "Maliki has cut McCain off at the knees", certainly the conventional wisdom is that this is a blow to McCain. I'm not so sure. While it's true that McCain's brand is war, I don't think it necessarily follows that peace hurts the brand. As much as Maliki has helped Obama this week, the overall effect could be to take Iraq off the table. Unless McCain is an idiot, he'll pivot to Maliki's position and argue that withdrawal is a victory brought about by the surge and double down on his "I know how to win wars" narrative. Maybe that will work and maybe it won't, but it smells better if you think that the war in Iraq will end regardless of how the election turns out.

1 -- The definitive response to conservative unrealism on this point comes from Yglesias who points out that we have "an on-the-record interview in which Maliki's remarks were not at all ambiguous and during which time he repeatedly returned to the subject of thinking that Obama's proposals are the right framework within which to proceed. Against that there's a non-denial denial, in another person's name, issued by CENTCOM. Considering that Maliki in effect lives and works inside a CENTCOM controlled military installation...this is pretty weak tea." Alternately, there's Pajamas Media.

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