"It was purely a political decision," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Not one based on facts on the ground, not one based on military strategy."Of course it's a political decision. The president is a political leader, and the question of when to withdraw from Afghanistan is every bit as much a political as a military issue. Whether you agree with ideas behind them or not, political & strategic factors are just as important or more important than those based purely on the military situation in Afghanistan.
McCain said the president needs "to just come out and say this is conditions-based and conditions-based only."That depends on how you see our overall goals with regard to Afghanistan. I agree with McCain about the negative impact of the timetable. But a timetable makes sense if you view the war in a different way. If your primary goal is to reduce the U.S. commitment and force the Afghans to take more responsibility, a clear timetable for withdrawal can serve that purpose. A purely conditions-based trigger for withdrawal means that the current U.S. force level has to be maintained indefinitely, which causes a different set of problems than a fixed timetable. McCain has become fixated on one aspect of the issue and appears to be ignoring everything else.