After securing assurances from Mr. Obama that he would reconsider his plans if violence increases, Mr. McCain and the Republicans expressed cautious support.

Who doesn't expect some increase in violence as we withdraw? Unfortunately I fear Americans have been lulled into a sense of complacency about Iraq. No less an authority than Tom Ricks has pronounced the surge a failure by its own standards -- i.e. allowing for lasting political reconciliation. All this debate about 19 months versus 16 months and 50,000 residual troops versus 20,000 seems like a waste of time. Thebig question is whether the country holds together and what Obama is willing to do if it doesn't.

--Michael Crowley