WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama inched closer together over U.S. policy in Iraq, with each camp saying the other candidate changed his point of view.
The Republican and Democratic parties' likely presidential nominees both say U.S. combat operations in Iraq can wind down while the United States should step up its military presence in Afghanistan, USA Today reported Monday.
Obama, D-Ill., has maintained a 16-month timetable for combat troop withdrawal from Iraq was doable. An Iraqi official indicated Obama's proposed U.S. troop pullout by 2010 was in an "appropriate" range. McCain, R-Ariz., after denouncing a schedule as a surrender last week said a 16-month withdrawal plan is "a pretty good timetable" depending on ground conditions.
McCain's argument that troop withdrawals are possible because of the success of the surge of military personnel, which Obama opposed. When Obama said recently he'd leave some troops behind in Iraq and the number would depend on conditions on the ground, aides to McCain said he was shifting toward the Arizona's point of view.
Military and political analysts told USA Today the shrinking gap reflects what happens during a campaign. History shows presidents can't hold onto one line of thinking, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.
"I cannot conceive of a more disastrous president than one who did not change his policy positions to reflect changes in reality," Cordesman said to USA Today.