Saturday, July 19, 2008
Maliki endorsement of Obama's withdrawal plan
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."
Now, normally it might have taken days for the story to break in the US press. Maybe it wouldn't have received any attention at all. But somebody in the Bush administration, intending to distribute the story to an internal e-mail list, accidentally "hit the wrong button" and sent it to a much wider list. The unemployment rate probably just jumped one.Obama's camp seized on the opportunity:
The national security adviser to the Obama campaign, Susan Rice, said the senator welcomed Maliki's support.
"This presents an important opportunity to transition to Iraqi responsibility, while restoring our military and increasing our commitment to finish the fight in Afghanistan," Rice said in a statement Saturday.
Ezra Klein of the American Prospect explains the significance of the development.
To really understand the importance of Maliki's comments, you need to consider their opposite. Imagine if Maliki had walked in front of the cameras and said, "at this stage, a timetable for withdrawal is unrealistic, and we hope our American friends will not bow to domestic political pressures and be hasty in leaving Iraq just as the country improves." It would be a transformative moment in this election. John McCain would talk of nothing else. The cable shows would talk of nothing else. Magazines would run thousands of covers about "Obama's Iraq Problem." Obama would probably lose the race.So how should McCain respond? Probably they just keep their cool and let it ride out, hope Obama makes some more centrist concessions, and harp on those as flip flops once Obama is back and his trip is no longer making news. But he's got two problems coming out of this.
1. Obama is starting to look like a statesman internationally. That's cutting into the one advantage the talking heads are giving to McCain.
2. McCain made a comment way back in 2005 to the effect that if the Iraqi government asked us to leave, we would have to leave. Having already flip flopped on long term presence, he will be hard pressed to flip flop on Iraqi sovereignty. Right now McCain's simply in denial.
Addendum - McCain strategist: "We're f#$%ed!"
As one poster remarked, the timeline is popular with the Iraqi people and so Maliki's hand may be forced by prevailing politics. But I wonder if the Bush people didn't somehow manage to piss them off like they've done with pretty much everyone else.
And this goes beyond the presidential election. It could actually mean and end to the war, or our part in it anyway.
Expect from McCain over the next week: "...but, but, but... it was the surge! I deserve credit because I supported the surge!"
Second addendum - Maliki: "So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat."
Third addendum: McCain, it turns out, does not believe in Iraqi sovereignty, making this flip-flop number 62. He doesn't care what Maliki says.
"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."Fourth addendum: Looks like Malaki is trying to backtrack (no doubt he got an earful from Bush or a surly surrogate), but it's too late. In fact, I think this is a tactical error which will only draw the whole discussion out longer. The cat's out of the bag, and it's the second time he's said it. Note he's not saying precisely how he was "misquoted."
An Obama official, also speaking on background, asks:
"So given that al-Maliki said today that it’s time for an official timetable and that Obama “is right when he talks about 16 months,” will McCain honor that commitment and call for withdrawal or change his position that we should leave Iraq if asked?"
Fifth addendum: Turns out, Malaki's only clarification was to emphasize that he's not endorsing Obama for president. Even Fox reports it this way.
Sixth addendum: Telling quote from Sen. McCain:
"Could I mention the presence of my friend, Congressman Steve Pearce, who I believe will be joining me in the United States Senate?"
-- Sen. John McCain, quoted by Politico, apparently planning to still be in the Senate next year.
No argument, especially the way he went to bat for Bush against Kerry in 2004.
Not a time line but a time horizon or some crazy play on the word time line.
In the bubble these people live in they actually believe intellectual individuals will buy their BS.
You are kidding right? What planet have you been living on. George Bush and his cronies are the most treasonous scum I've had the misfortune to endure in my many years.
Leftist have made plenty of mistakes but god bless them, they are the spirit of American freedom.
abandon your discredited leadership and move toward cooperation and mutual success. Leave McSame, sputtering his nonsense, with his wheels in the ditch and join together to make our Country great again. We need your energies and creativity.
He's sustained it for 20 years of community service. He can keep it up for another 3 months, especially if McCain keeps tripping over his own dick.
I could say the same thing about myself, since I've been on the school board and chamber of commerce.
That would only hold true if we are to assume that leading the United States of America,(and the rest of the free world), is some how equated to prison survival.
So the US is like a prison?
Ironically, there's some truth to that, but I'm not sure McCainCo. would want to go there.
If that is a desired talent then Michael Milken would be the far more ideal choice for president.
He's served, and survived, time.
Has a strong background in Wall Street economics, and
Was born on the 4th of July!
What does? Being in the Senate? Please!
About the only "experience" claim to fame anybody can make is if they were a governor or at least mayor. But legislative responsibilities don't prepare you for executive responsibilities.
At least they don't have to "conk" it anymore.
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