I see Sen. McCain is whining again that he didn’t really mean what he said and nasty ol’ Sen. Obama is mistweating him by quoting his own words back to him. Whatever.
Just three points on the substance, though:
1. For lots of the folks in Iraq — the Guardsmen and reservists who didn’t expect to be deployed to a war zone when they signed up — service in Iraq is a substantial hardship, even if no one gets hit. From them and their families, when they get to come home and resume their normal lives is, indeed, “that important.”
2. Troops tied down in Iraq aren’t available for duty elsewhere. That reduces our leverage in every potential conflict everywhere in the world.
3. The McCain strategy amounts to leaving our troops in harm’s way and hoping that the various armed groups in Iraq eventually decide to stop shooting at them. Under the McCain plan, our enemies get to decide how long our soldiers keep dying. Under the Obama plan, we get to decide. Which plan do you prefer?