BBC: Maliki’s remarks misreported

posted at 12:40 pm on July 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama based his editorial on Iraq in large part on the assertion by Nouri al-Maliki wants timetables for American withdrawal.  Unfortunately, as the BBC notes, Maliki didn’t actually say that — although the fault really does not lie with Obama.  In fact, the Maliki government doesn’t want date-certain withdrawal dates, and may not want a withdrawal at all:

The prime minister was widely quoted as saying that in the negotiations with the Americans on a Status of Forces Agreement to regulate the US troop presence from next year, “the direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on a timetable for their withdrawal”.

That was the version of Mr Maliki’s remarks put out in writing by his office in Baghdad.

It was widely circulated by the news media, and caught much attention, including that of Mr Obama.

There is only one problem. It is not what Mr Maliki actually said. … What he actually said was: “The direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on programming their presence.”

Maliki’s own office misquoted him, and the press picked it up and broadcast it around the world.  However, the Iraqi government has tried to clarify it for at least a day now.  Their national-security adviser,  Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, emphasized that the Iraqi government wants broad, general “timeline horizons” — and that the withdrawal of American combat troops should be contingent on the readiness of Iraqi Army units that would take their place.

Hmmm … now where have we heard that before?  Oh, that’s right — from John McCain.

The BBC concludes its report:

Iraqi leaders will no doubt continue to make ambiguous statements. And US presidential contenders will no doubt continue to construe them to their own advantage. But when Mr Obama visits Baghdad, as he is expected to later this month, he is unlikely to find that the Iraqi government is quite as set on demanding deadlines for US withdrawal as he would like to think.

I suspect that Obama will find much in Iraq that he hasn’t known before announcing his policies, including how dependent Iraq remains on its American partner for stability, security, and logistics in the short- to mid-term.  Maybe he should have waited to talk to Maliki first before jumping on a misreported statement to write his op-ed, a point that Lindsey Graham more or less made on the conference call today.


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Yawn. BO having another “empty suit moment”. Why am I not surprised??

HawaiiLwyr on July 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM

I heard the Iraqi NSA on the POTUS 08 channel on XM trying to spin this back to Maliki’s actual intentions.

The Obama surrogate was not listening.

Squid Shark on July 14, 2008 at 12:46 PM

A large majority of Americans want a timetable for American troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Should help Obama over the top this November.

Maliki is as lame a duck as Bush…Iraq elections next year.

Who cares what he thinks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Where in the MSM would one go to find this bit of info? Heh.

petefrt on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Not really surprising. Maliki won’t want us to out of there until his Army can handle everything, otherwise Iraq will collapse. I don’t buy that they won’t allow us to have permanent bases over there. After all the blood and treasure that went in by us to secure that place we’ll get to put as many bases there as we need.

nazo311 on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

alphie, inevitability isn’t what you think. Just ask Hillary.

Entelechy on July 14, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Also, no matter who wins in Nov., there will be American bases in Iraq for at least 50 years.

Entelechy on July 14, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Ahhh, who needs facts when you’re blessed with flawless judgment?

Odds are that Obambi won’t see what’s right in front of his face when he goes to Iraq. That’s why he’s taking Hagel with him; it’s a buddy-system thing. If one starts to see the light, the other one promises to tighten the blindfold.

NeighborhoodCatLady on July 14, 2008 at 12:54 PM

In the Middle-East, when is the public policy ever the real policy? Never. If you ever want the straight scoop from someone like Maliki, you only get it off the record. That applies to everyone with power in the Middle-East.

RBMN on July 14, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Odds are that Obambi won’t see what’s right in front of his face when he goes to Iraq. That’s why he’s taking Hagel with him; it’s a buddy-system thing. If one starts to see the light, the other one promises to tighten the blindfold.

NeighborhoodCatLady on July 14, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Well said.

iurockhead on July 14, 2008 at 12:57 PM

RBMN on July 14, 2008 at 12:57 PM

True

Squid Shark on July 14, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Who cares what he thinks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

When they thought he had called for withdrawal, Democrats. Obama made the call part of his column in the Times.

amerpundit on July 14, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Apparently Alphie didn’t get slapped around enough at CQ, and decided to visit HA for more of the same.

irongrampa on July 14, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Why am I not surprised. NOw how will Obama react to this news?

becki51758 on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

The bases may be there 50 years, Ent, but the troops will have to pay their own way if they want to camp in them.

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

The bases may be there 50 years, Ent, but the troops will have to pay their own way if they want to camp in them.

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Please explain how the troops have to pay for their own way on a US military base.

Badger in KC on July 14, 2008 at 1:10 PM

How many times have we been here before? A statement from Iraq gets taken out of context, misconstrued where not mistranslated, then blown up into something that appears superficially to coincide with one or another leftwing talking point. There are entire heavily trafficked web sites whose “anti-war” propaganda subsists on hardly anything else, and there are without a doubt O-Team surrogates, possibly including the big captain himself, who will continue to speak about the non-existent Maliki timetable for days, weeks, and even months, depending on whatever interlocutor on whatever news program to remain blissfully uninformed or reflexively non-confrontational. Congratulations are due to those at this site and in other places who couldn’t be bothered to storm this latest rhetorical sandcastle.

CK MacLeod on July 14, 2008 at 1:12 PM

The bases may be there 50 years, Ent, but the troops will have to pay their own way if they want to camp in them.

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Your mommy lets you use the computer this time of day?

The troops would have to pay their way to remain on bases? Good Lord, man. Even Obama wants to finance keeping troops there to fight Al Qaeda and be ready in case sh*t hits the fan.

amerpundit on July 14, 2008 at 1:14 PM

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Apparently, we’re done funding the left’s infantile fantasies as well. Screw your environmentalist flimflam excrement, we now have Bush lifting the ban on offshore drilling, now it’s up to congress to submit to our will or they will face the music in November.

alphie, you’re such a beta.

john1schn on July 14, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Don’t feed the trolls.

rockmom on July 14, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Obam supporters: assertive, confident and above all, ignorant….

drjohn on July 14, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Never mind.

jgapinoy on July 14, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Don’t feed the trolls.

rockmom on July 14, 2008 at 1:18 PM

right. it’s more fun to stomp them into the ground.

john1schn on July 14, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Maybe he should have waited to talk to Maliki first before jumping on a misreported statement to write his op-ed, a point that Lindsey Graham more or less made on the conference call today.

Actually, a quick call to McCain and Obama would have known the facts.
Anyone who thinks that there is not a difference between McCain and Obama, need only look at this example.
It is apparent, to all but the most MDS’rs, that the safety of our country is in better hands with McCain, then Obama.

right2bright on July 14, 2008 at 1:26 PM

The MSM misreported something on Iraq, and now is covering up their mistake?! Get outta here!

OT – this morning on the radio, I heard Nancy Pelosi’s voice for the first time and I was at first surprised at never having heard it before. Now I know why. What a screeching harridan!

It is becoming clear that the Dems have been driven collectively insane by GWB, and I am not saying that tongue-in-cheek, either.

drunyan8315 on July 14, 2008 at 1:35 PM

There weren’t any al Qeada members in Iraq before we invaded that poor country, Amer, and there won’t be any after we leave.

Better get some more troops to Afghanistan before we lose that one, too.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:36 PM

I suspected this was the case, because I read elsewhere that the Iraqis were talking about a withdrawal based mainly on conditions, not arbitrary times.

I was surprised that Obama was stupid enough to double down on his now-obsolete 16-month withdrawal plan in the NYT op-ed.

That ABC Martha Raddatz report made Obama look like a fool, and he really should’ve kept his mouth shut at least until after his trip to Iraq. idiot.

juliesa on July 14, 2008 at 1:44 PM

There weren’t any al Qeada members in Iraq before we invaded that poor country, Amer, and there won’t be any after we leave.

Better get some more troops to Afghanistan before we lose that one, too.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Classic troll behavior. Make a ridiculous statement (troops having to “pay their own way” on a military base?), and when the stupidity is exposed ignore the response and make another dumb statement with only a vague connection to the first one.

Maybe we should start a pool on the (mis)direction of Alphie’s next comment.

cs89 on July 14, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Epic Fail: International MSM Edition!

MB007 on July 14, 2008 at 1:44 PM

So the story is that Barack Obama takes false, unverified information (easily proven wrong by checking with the alleged source) and immediately rushes into unwarranted action?

Where is the outrage from the anti-war “President-Is-A-Liar” Leftists??

landlines on July 14, 2008 at 1:45 PM

It sounds almost like you are conceding the (very questionable) point that it matters if Maliki and the Iraqis are ready for a phased withdrawal, because the truth is that they will, at some point, ask for one… which has always been the plan.

DaveS on July 14, 2008 at 1:46 PM

The American media can’t really be blamed for reporting what Maliki’s own office misquoted him as saying–apparently going “off-message” isn’t limited to American spokesmen like David Plouffe or Phil Gramm.

Still, this false note was music to Obama’s ears, and he jumped all over it, whereas McCain was more cautious, because even Maliki’s misquoted statement talked about withdrawal in 2011 or 2012, not 2010 (16 months after a hypothetical Obama inauguration).

Note to “alphie” the Troll: Maliki is NOT a lame duck–unlike Bush, he COULD be re-elected Prime Minister if his party gets a majority in the new Iraqi Parliament, and his recent military actions in Basra, Sadr City, and Mosul have strengthened his political support. Maliki is probably MORE popular now in Iraq than when he was first named Prime Minister after months of political squabbling and horse-trading.

Which of our presidential candidates would be willing to have direct negotiations with Maliki without pre-conditions?
As the Democrats love to say over the airwaves–we’ve got to talk to our allies. Earth to Democrats: Maliki is our ALLY!

Steve Z on July 14, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Alphie apparently has his finger on the pulse of the Iraqi people, he’s a military man who knows how they live, and he is a fortune teller, why aren’t you running for pres? Seems to be the same BS ideas your boy Barack is trying to spread.

I’m sure Maliki will be happy when his space under the bus is cleared out, as well as Obama’s news readers.

Rbastid on July 14, 2008 at 1:49 PM

There weren’t any al Qeada members in Iraq before we invaded that poor country, Amer, and there won’t be any after we leave.

Better get some more troops to Afghanistan before we lose that one, too.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Nice regurgitation of the lefts talking points.

swami on July 14, 2008 at 1:49 PM

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

But America can’t wait to fund your junior-high utopia!

Isn’t that right, alfer?

jeff_from_mpls on July 14, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Who cares what he thinks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Why don’t you go back to watching your porta-potty and dream of the day when they stud Suburbia and leave the important matters to the adults.

TheBigOldDog on July 14, 2008 at 1:56 PM

America is done funding the right’s infantile fantasies.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:07 PM

You seem to forget that a majority of Americans approved of sending our troops to Iraq in 2002.

Enough with this “Bush’s war” mindset. We have AMERICAN soldiers in Iraq, not BUSH soldiers.

terryannonline on July 14, 2008 at 1:56 PM

But America can’t wait to fund your junior-high utopia!

Isn’t that right, alfer?

jeff_from_mpls on July 14, 2008 at 1:51 PM

A least we know there will plenty of porta-potties in suburbia. We’ll call them Alphies. “Pull over honey, I gotta take a piss in that Alphie.”

TheBigOldDog on July 14, 2008 at 2:00 PM

This should have been obvious to anyone who read the actual quote and didn’t just swallow the way the press spun it to gin up a juicy story.

Spolitics on July 14, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Maliki’s own office misquoted him, and the press picked it up and broadcast it around the world. However, the Iraqi government has tried to clarify it for at least a day now. Their national-security adviser, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, emphasized that the Iraqi government wants broad, general “timeline horizons” — and that the withdrawal of American combat troops should be contingent on the readiness of Iraqi Army units that would take their place.

I kept waiting for this shoe to fall. Let me ask a question. When Maliki’s office released the origional statement was in written in English? Or was it translated into English by those hired as translators for the media? The MSM is so invested in driving a wedge between Iraq’s leadership and the Bush Administration, we ought to put a hold on anything they report that is in opposition to what we know to be the past history between Maliki and Bush. After all that Maliki has said, this last statement made no sense … as it was translated and reported.

Previous to all the hulabaloo, the US military said they were transitioning their forces to other duties as they turned over provinces to the Iraqi control as the IA increased their capability. That seems to me to be the timeline horizons

Texas Gal on July 14, 2008 at 2:11 PM

There weren’t any al Qeada members in Iraq before we invaded that poor country, Amer, and there won’t be any after we leave.

Better get some more troops to Afghanistan before we lose that one, too.

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 1:36 PM

That “poor” country? Its leader was killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, sponsoring terrorism, and (according to the Clinton Administration as well) pursuing nuclear weapons.

As for Al Qaeda, Saddam was sponsoring Al Qaeda groups. Were they present in the country physically? Probably not. But they were being funded by it.

amerpundit on July 14, 2008 at 2:12 PM

and there won’t be any after we leave.

In what freaking world? Even the NYT and Obama acknowledge there will be, moron.

amerpundit on July 14, 2008 at 2:13 PM

In what freaking world? Even the NYT and Obama acknowledge there will be, moron.

amerpundit on July 14, 2008 at 2:13 PM

You’re arguing with a child who watches port-potties and dreams of a day when they will be all over suburbia. Click on his name….

TheBigOldDog on July 14, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Too late. The MSM has already run the story for a week. The withdrawl request is fact. Time to move on to how old the Reps are getting.

Limerick on July 14, 2008 at 2:27 PM

nazo311 on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

You need to define “permanent.” Gitmo is permanent. What we have in Germany, Japan, and Korea are “temporary” in that they are subject to agreements being renewed. Subic Bay in The Philippines is an example of a temporary base whose agreement was not renewed.

Kafir on July 14, 2008 at 2:34 PM

For what it’s worth (not much, alas) folks should keep that BBC link in their hip pockets, because every leftie commenting on every site I frequent has been beating the Maliki timetable drum. They’ll keep it up till votes are cast in November too, just like they’re still touting the percentage of Iraqis who were unhappy with the U.S. — in 2006– and quoting Lancet’s casualty figures no matter how many times those numbers have been debunked.

JM Hanes on July 14, 2008 at 2:35 PM

A large majority of Americans want a timetable for American troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Should help Obama over the top this November.

Maliki is as lame a duck as Bush…Iraq elections next year.

Who cares what he thinks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Maliki has been a great leader in the hottest zone in the world right now.

As for the initial Maliki statement which obama took hook,line and sinker, it was a plant.

Pure and simple, Maliki and all of Iraq know who they dont want learning the process while their country fights for its life and thats obama.

good for Maliki, the dems have been trying to create the death of our new allies in the middle east and it doesnt surprise me one bit that a little touche’ was in order.

Sonosam on July 14, 2008 at 2:53 PM

hey alphie

i am going to take a guess and surmise you live in an old house,

one where the paint chips you nibble on contain lead.

Sonosam on July 14, 2008 at 2:55 PM

alphie, you’re such a beta.

john1schn on July 14, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Not even a beta. Just a little alphie male.

Gilda on July 14, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Maybe we should start a pool on the (mis)direction of Alphie’s next comment.

cs89 on July 14, 2008 at 1:44 PM

I’m surprised he’s back. JonRoss, oldnuke and a few others schooled him on relative costs of the military budget vs entitlement programs the other night. It was embarrassing. I started feeling sorry for him. He just went silent.

a capella on July 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Not even a beta. Just a little alphie male.

Gilda on July 14, 2008 at 3:07 PM

LOL!

And once you’ve got your pick of the alpha males, the Clearasil-scented alphie males can be safely and quickly discarded. Yuck, didn’t want them in the first place.

Moral of the story:
Barack Obama: He’s just not that into you

a capella on July 14, 2008 at 3:28 PM

$700+ billion a year is what we blow on defense these days, a capella.

We could make due without most of it.

As for “entitlement” programs…I’d guess most of the posters here rely on checks from the government or one of its many contractors.

Why not ask them if they could get by without their government checks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 3:32 PM

Not even a beta. Just a little alphie male.

Gilda on July 14, 2008 at 3:07 PM

I wouldn’t even rate Alphie that high. For some reason, gelding comes to mind. Neither male nor female, more like an it.

john1schn on July 14, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Obama will come back from Iraq and be asked about what he thinks of the situation on the ground. Whatever he says, he could always say that he was misquoted later, depending on who`s asking and where.

ThePrez on July 14, 2008 at 4:13 PM

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 3:32 PM

What’s the matter, slow day at the Porta-potty?

TheBigOldDog on July 14, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Dear Barry,

Maybe you should concentrate on learning Arabic instead of Spanish. Then you’ll know what these guys are saying, instead of waiting on someone to translate it for you.

Just sayin’

I R A Darth Aggie on July 14, 2008 at 4:22 PM

You need to define “permanent.” Gitmo is permanent. What we have in Germany, Japan, and Korea are “temporary” in that they are subject to agreements being renewed. Subic Bay in The Philippines is an example of a temporary base whose agreement was not renewed.

You are right about that, but no way will be not have a base there with the current situation in the middle east. (Israeli-Palestine conflict, Iran seeking nukes, etc.) I was comparing the Iraq bases to the bases in Germany, Japan, Korea, etc. You are correct about the need for the agreements to be renewed.

nazo311 on July 14, 2008 at 4:24 PM

I suspect that Obama will find much in Iraq that he hasn’t known before

Understatement of the day.

Seixon on July 14, 2008 at 4:50 PM

before we lose that one, too.

Typical Lefttard. Saying we lost in Iraq, and we will lose in Afghanistan.

That is why we must stop Obama. Bush would not take losing in Iraq, even though the left tried real hard to make us lose. Now they will try to lose in Afghanistan.

alphie is a dipshit.

WoosterOh on July 14, 2008 at 6:45 PM

$700+ billion a year is what we blow on defense these days, a capella.

We could make due without most of it.

As for “entitlement” programs…I’d guess most of the posters here rely on checks from the government or one of its many contractors.

Why not ask them if they could get by without their government checks?

alphie on July 14, 2008 at 3:32 PM

I for one have never served in the military or in any governmental position, including contractors with federal projects. And, as a private sector employee, I must say the intelligence of your comments consistently underwhelms me.

cs89 on July 14, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Alphie, if you have any interest in actually learning something about world history, try to find just one example when the most powerful nation in the world remained so while cutting defense spending. Might be an interesting exercise.

cs89 on July 14, 2008 at 9:06 PM

…Toast!

elvis on July 14, 2008 at 10:29 PM