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Iraqi PM: Obama’s Right, McCain’s Wrong

July 20th, 2008

Naturally, this came out in the lefty blogs, and was virtually absent from the MSM sites for several hours:

Iraq Leader Maliki Supports Obama’s Withdrawal Plans

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Barack Obama’s 16 timeframe for a withdrawal from Iraq is the right one.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports US presidential candidate Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. When asked in and interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded “as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned.” He then continued: “US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”

This is a HUGE story; the Bush administration’s own man in charge of Iraq has voiced support for Obama’s plan, repudiating McCain, who said that he would honor Maliki’s wishes were he to ask for a withdrawal:

Well, if that scenario evolves than I think it’s obvious that we would have to leave because — if it was an elected government of Iraq, and we’ve been asked to leave other places in the world.

A McCain spokesman said as much just a few weeks ago:

John McCain has always been clear that American forces operate in Iraq only with the consent of that country’s democratically elected government.

So, that’s that, right? Maliki was elected, he supports Obama’s plan, and as McCain has also said that being on the ground in Iraq is the ultimate credibility, you can’t get much more credible than the Iraqi PM. Right? McCain? McCain?

“His domestic politics require him to be for us getting out,” said a senior McCain campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The military says ‘conditions based’ and Maliki said ‘conditions based’ yesterday in the joint statement with Bush. Regardless, voters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders.”

Ah, I see. He’s just saying it to please the voters, but really he backs McCain, trust us!

Actually, the question here is, where is the MSM? Reluctant to print this breaking story for several hours, their coverage in print has been muted. This is a huge, major, ground-breaking blow to McCain and a big, unambiguous boost for Obama on a topic which is McCain’s strongest area, an area he’s been blasting Obama on relentlessly.

I just watched CNN’s top headlines: not a single mention of Maliki. They mentioned Obama in Afghanistan, but not this story. I also saw the start of their main political show, This Week in Politics, and their top story is the economy, no mention of Iraq. This is rather mind-boggling, even after factoring in the MSM’s willingness to shill for McCain.

Just last night, I was watching the web edition of ABC news, and they were playing the weaselly-worded “Time Horizon” as being a “victory for Bush,” as if it weren’t a plainly obvious and evasive way of saying “timetable” or “time line,” and effectively switching to Obama’s position while trying not to look like it.

And now, reports are coming out saying that Maliki was “misunderstood and mistranslated”; a Maliki spokesman said that Maliki’s statement had not been “as not conveyed accurately regarding the vision of Senator Barack Obama, U.S. presidential candidate, on the timeframe for U.S. forces withdrawal from Iraq,” and gave this incredibly nebulous statement:

Al-Dabbagh explained that Mr. al-Maliki confirmed the existence of an Iraqi vision stems from the reality with regard to Iraq security needs, as the positive developments of the security situation and the improvement witnessed in Iraqi cities makes the subject of U.S. forces’ withdrawal within prospects, horizons and timetables agreed upon and in the light of the continuing positive developments on the ground, and security that came within the Strategic Plan for Cooperation which was laid and developed by Mr. Maliki and President George Bush. The Iraqi government appreciates and values the efforts of all the friends who continue to support and supporting Iraqi security forces.

Al-Dabbagh underscored that the statements made by the head of the ministerial council (Prime Minister al-Maliki) or any of the members of the Iraqi government should not be understood as support to any U.S. presidential candidates.

Hmm… first of all, the source was the U.S. military’s press office, a strange place for the Iraqi PM’s office to release a statement. Second, I don’t see where the mistranslation could occur in a statement like this:

“SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?

Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

SPIEGEL: Is this an endorsement for the US presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?

Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans’ business. But it’s the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that’s where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.”

The spokesman quoted by the U.S. military site did not specify what the specific “mistranslation” error was, and we’ll probably get the direct text in the original language from Spiegel soon enough. At first glance, I would say that this is little more than emergency damage control–get a loyal flunky to make a statement that can then be used to give some sort of credible argument that what happened didn’t actually happen.

It will be interesting to see how this story develops. But one McCain ally seems to have it quintessentially boiled down to just a few words:

Via e-mail, a prominent Republican strategist who occasionally provides advice to the McCain campaign said, simply, “We’re fucked.”

Categories: "Liberal" Media, Election 2008, Iraq News Tags: by
  1. Tim Kane
    July 20th, 2008 at 13:12 | #1

    “We’re Fucked” ….

    Well, only if people are paying attention.

    The only thing McCain has going for him was “the surge is working”. He has some traction there.

    But otherwise Obama is looking brilliant now in the area of foreign policy: The war was a mistake (check); The surge wouldn’t work (well not as it was billed – so check), troops should be pulled out of Iraq (now the Iraqi’s agree, so double check), Afghanistan is the central front on terror and troops should be increased (now Bush and McCain agree, so triple check), We should negotiate with Iran (now Bush agrees with Obama after calling Obama an appeaser for recommending such, and McCain still wants to bomb them, so quadripple check).

    McCain’s claim that Obama doesn’t have judgment for foriegn policy is cratering beneath his feet.

    Well, he can always talk about the economy. And when he’s done with that he can talk about communications technology on the internet.

    This guy may give his nomination acceptance speech to an empty room.

  2. stevetv
    July 20th, 2008 at 23:18 | #2

    “I also saw the start of their main political show, This Week in Politics, and their top story is the economy, no mention of Iraq.”

    Yeah, but it’s a topic that doesn’t engender good will towards McCain, so… *shrugs?*

  3. Leszek Cyfer
    July 21st, 2008 at 21:05 | #3

    I found a great example of this scheme of action in the book of Michael Ryce – “Why is it happening to me again?!?” (freely accessible from the net):

  4. Leszek Cyfer
    July 21st, 2008 at 21:07 | #4

    Ugh, I couldn’t properly use the blocquote – too bad there is no preview option before submitting.

    the part that should be in the blockquote is:

    “If you want to do an interesting experiment, show someone evidence of a Truth they do not want to see. Unless they Love Truth deeply, they will:

    1. Tell you that you are crazy or imagining things, or they ‘forget’ the event ever happened.

    2. Leave, physically, by making an excuse or, mentally, by wandering off to other topics and not acknowledging the conversation you are attempting to have with them.

    3. Turn on you with some form of manipulation, usually anger, to stop you from presenting your information or accuse you of a similar defect, telling you about a time when you did the same thing as though that justifies their behavior and ‘makes them right.’

    4. Attack you fiercely, in a manner that is all out of proportion to the issue involved. You will wonder what hit you. Chances are you will end up unwelcome in that person’s life.

    If you continue to present the evidence they are in denial about, be prepared to duck so you keep your head, because there is so much insanity in our culture.”

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