George Will lashes out at McCain 'isolationism' charge

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Will's column, which is often considered highly representative of Republican sentiment, comes after McCain warned on Sunday that the GOP could become an isolationist party if it continues to call for a rapid withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and end to U.S. involvement in NATO’s Libya campaign.

Since then McCain has come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) criticized McCain’s views as “uninformed.” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said describing calls for withdrawal as isolationist was “completely off track.”

"McCain, however, says we must achieve regime change in Libya because if Gadhafi survives, he will try to ‘harm’ America," Will continues in his column. "This is always the last argument for pressing on with imprudent interventions (see Vietnam, circa 1969): We must continue fighting because we started fighting."

Will also criticized Graham for calling to end U.S. involvement in Libya.

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"Sen. Lindsey Graham — Sancho Panza to McCain’s Don Quixote — says 'Congress should sort of shut up' about Libya. This ukase might make more sense if Congress had said anything institutionally about Libya," Will continued.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced plans to recall 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and to withdraw another 23,000 by September 2012. Advocates of a rapid withdrawal have cited a lack of strategic value for staying in Afghanistan as well as the hefty cost for the American presence.

In response to President Obama's plan, McCain on Wednesday repeated his concerns for leaving Afghanistan.

"I am concerned that the withdrawal plan that President Obama announced tonight poses an unnecessary risk to the hard-won gains that our troops have made thus far in Afghanistan and to the decisive progress that must still be made," McCain wrote in a statement. "This is not the ‘modest’ withdrawal that I and others had hoped for and advocated."