WASHINGTON (AP) — The New York Times defended its decision not to publish an op-ed article as submitted by Republican John McCain about the Iraq war on grounds it customarily reviews such pieces with the author.

McCain's presidential campaign sent the newspaper the op-ed on Friday. In it, the Arizona senator describes how the buildup of U.S. forces in Iraq has helped curb violence. He also chides his Democratic rival Barack Obama for outlining his plan for Iraq before his current meetings with commanders and Iraqi leaders on the ground.

In an e-mail to the campaign on Friday, David Shipley, an op-ed editor at the newspaper, said he could not accept the piece in its current form but would look at another version. In the e-mail, released by the McCain campaign, Shipley wrote that McCain's article would "have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troop levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the senator's Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan."

Commenting Monday on the Times' request, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said, "John McCain believes that victory in Iraq must be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables. Unlike Barack Obama, that position will not change based on politics or the demands of The New York Times."