Maliki agrees with Obama’s 16 months’ proposalThat is from an ole Blog Buddie of mine Stephen - still all full of invective since the surge seemed to work and the evil Rethuglicans are trying to stop Sen. Obama from finding a way to cure cancer and saggy boobs.
Fundamentally, Maliki’s comment is evidence of what the Iraqi government sees as the primary impediment to their government attaining real legitimacy: Us. The American occupation is hugely unpopular, and if Iraq is to truly stabilize, its government needs to be seen as independent from the occupiers and opposed to their continued presence.
McCain needs to either come out with a new Iraq plan featuring a withdrawal component tomorrow, or explain why he believes America should fight for continued military dominance in Iraq over the objections of the American people, the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi government.
Why do I suspect the rightwingers will declare that this has been their position all along? …
On second thought, they won’t. They’ll come up some other mind-bending, through-the-looking-glass dodge that I can’t envision yet.
It makes me sad because Stephen and Ezra obviously don't have much experience talking and/or doing business with Arabs - especially very sharp political ones. Let's look at the whole quote. The Obamatons want to focus on the words in Blue, but the ones in Red are just as important - but neither are what the blind think they see.
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?This is a classic Arab polite hedge. Cultural training 101. No definition of "short time" or "tenure." No borders of "slight changes." Maliki has his own domestic audience to worry about, as well as the entire Arab world. What do they expect him to say?
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.
Why don't they ask him if Iraq would be better off if the USA did what Obama wanted a year ago? No surge with a non-conditions based withdraw well underway? No, we wouldn't want to talk about that, would we?
Can I please find some Obama supporter somewhere who still has their sanity? Please? Substance? Maybe? It's not that hard.
OIF is conditions based. When the conditions are right, which thanks to the surge and other things the PM outlines in the interview is going well, we will go home. The US military will only leave on a timetable set by time if the leadership is ordered to do so contrary to approved plans and doctrine.
UPDATE: This is just silly. AFP, AP, Bloomberg, USAToday, FoxNews, the whole gaggle are missing it. On a different angle, everyone needs to read the point Kingsley Browne makes in comments, and the translation problems outlined at HotAir he brings up. Also in comments, Hal make my point quite well - all cult, no perspective.
UPDATE II, Electric Boogaloo: Looks like PM Maliki agrees with me - and hedges some more;
...a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.