Yesterday, the sovereign nation of Iraq’s Exxonmobilshellistan’s Prime Minister publicly called for a timeline with hard dates for the withdrawal of US troops. This sent the Pentagon and State Department scrambling around issuing ham-handed, contradictory rebuttals.

In response, the Iraqis are not backing down — and kicking it up a notch.

Iraq on Tuesday said it will reject any security pact with the United States unless it sets a date for the pullout of US-led foreign troops, a proposal turned down by US President George W. Bush.

The controversial demand for a timetable from Baghdad’s Shiite-led government underlines Iraq’s new hardened stand in complex negotiations aimed at striking a security deal with Washington.

"We will not accept any memorandum of understanding if it does not give a specific date for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops," Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security advisor, told reporters in the holy city of Najaf.

Clearly, Iraq’s prime minister and national security advisor haven’t been to Iraq in a long time, because if they had, they’d see how awesome the occupation is and how we need to stay until McSame says so.

"We will withdraw, but … the victory we have achieved so far is fragile and (the redeployment) has to be dictated by events and on the ground," McCain said in an interview with MSNBC.

The elected government of the country you’re occupying telling you to get the hell out strikes me as a rather significant event on the ground. McSame seemed to grasp this in 2004.