Silly Kevin Drum…doesn’t he know that a signed agreement with the Iraqi government for American troop withdrawals is excellent news for John McCain?

Forget occupying Iraq (like it was Germany or South Korea) for the next 100 years as McCain advocated this spring. The pact calls for the removal of Coalition troops from Iraqi cities next summer, with a goal of total withdrawal of ‘combat’ troops by 2011.

The security deal came together after the Bush administration made concessions on several long-held positions. The White House softened its stance over a pullout date after it became clear that Mr. Maliki was adamant that the agreement contain at least a vague timetable for a U.S. withdrawal.

The administration also dropped its insistence that American contractors remain immune from Iraqi law. Western contractors — especially those working for Blackwater, which is under investigation for a deadly shooting last year — are deeply unpopular in Iraq.

One of the last remaining roadblocks had been whether U.S. military personnel would enjoy immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law. Mr. Humood, Iraq’s chief negotiator on the agreement, said joint committees of U.S. and Iraqi officials will be formed to resolve such issues when cases arise.

Of course, this is still a draft document. The Wall Street Journal reports that President Bush is almost certain to sign it, but that the Iraqis will have more trouble coming to a consensus.

The draft agreement must be approved by several layers of Iraqi political leaders. Several members of Mr. Maliki’s cabinet have voiced opposition to elements of the deal. The Iraqi Parliament, which also has to sign off on the deal, is in recess until the beginning of September.

South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu once asked Alexander Haig, “Have you ever seen any peace accord in the history of the world in which the invaders had been permitted to stay in the territories they had invaded?” It is considerations like this that will complicate efforts at consensus within Iraq’s leadership. The fact that Iraq is attempting to function as a representative government makes this process more complicated, as the issue of any American presence at all is easily demagogued.

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