Video: McCain on Maliki’s timetable comments

posted at 11:07 am on July 21, 2008 by Allahpundit

The discomfort is palpable and apt to get worse as the day wears on. Not only did the Times confirm the basic accuracy of Spiegel’s translation, but the same Iraqi spokesman who claimed that they botched the quote is himself now “hopeful” about having troops out within 16 months or so. So discombobulated is Team Maverick that they seem to be spinning in two different directions (while partially redeeming themselves by the pointed use of the term “inartful” to describe Maliki’s comments). Even so, McCain starts off well here by turning the discussion to Obama’s judgment about the surge. The line about trying to win in Afghanistan by choosing to lose in Iraq is sharp, although the quote that’ll probably get the most play is “of course they would like to have us out, that’s what happens when you win wars — you leave.” Whether a guy known for shrugging at 100 years of peaceful occupation on the Germany/Japan model can get away with that, we shall see.

Where he gets in trouble is in his answer to the direct question about Maliki, dismissing the Spiegel interview by insisting “I know what they want” and thereby somehow managing to sound both arrogant and in denial at the same time. If he really wants to parry this thrust, he needs to come at it with specific quotes from people on the ground like military brass and Iraqi pols expressing skepticism about the prudence and logistics of a 16-month pullout, particularly as regards the prospects of Iraqi military readiness by 2010. (He cites Petraeus but that’s not enough.) Suggesting that he, from his U.S. enclave, knows “what Iraqis want” more so than the prime minister is only going to make this worse. Exit question: What effect will this have on the next round of polls? Exit prediction: Given how far Iraq has fallen as a top issue vis-a-vis the economy, near zero.

Update: And indeed, the discomfort gets worse.


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I hate Maliki.

MayBee on July 21, 2008 at 11:10 AM

From NRO Corner:

Re: Maliki’s “Inartful” Statement [Andy McCarthy]

If the New York Times account is to be credited, McCain should stick with the “Maliki was ‘inartful’” explanation. “Mistranslated and taken out of context” is not gonna fly.

The Times indicates that, after Maliki’s interview comments in Der Spiegel became known, U.S. diplomats complained. Only then did an Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, issue a statement claiming Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated.” But not only did Dabbagh fail to explain specifically what Spiegel had supposedly gotten wrong in its rendering of the interview, which is on tape. The Times further reports:

[T]he interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.

As I’ve mentioned before, Maliki, of the Shiite Dawa Party which opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq in the first place, has long-standing ties to Iran and Syria — and has expressed support for Hezbollah. The only thing that surprises me about this story is that anyone is surprised.

Another telling aspect of the Spiegel interview has gotten no attention. Maliki was asked what has calmed the violence in Iraq and responded as follows:

There are many factors, but I see them in the following order. First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq. This has enabled us, above all, to pull the plug on al-Qaida. Second, there is the progress being made by our security forces. Third, there is the deep sense of abhorrence with which the population has reacted to the atrocities of al-Qaida and the militias. Finally, of course, there is the economic recovery.

Notice: No credit to or thanks for the efforts and sacrifices of the United States and our armed forces, much less the surge. In fact, Maliki’s major observation about American troops, other than that he wants them out of Iraq “as soon as possible,” is that he wants the power to prosecute them for “offences or crimes committed by US soldiers against our population” — a major sticking point in negotiations over a status of forces agreement.

Maliki is untrustworthy and ungrateful.

Wethal on July 21, 2008 at 11:12 AM

I the U.S. were more imperialistic in our approach.

Take the damn oil they owe us for a free nation.

No asking – no apologies – just back up the tankers and fill-em up.

jake-the-goose on July 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Maliki cannot be trusted. No matter what is stated for public consumption. We will shift troops where they are needed, but we’re not leaving Iraq anytime soon.

Connie on July 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM

I think Maliki is just walking through an MSM minefield in an inartful way.

Limerick on July 21, 2008 at 11:18 AM

If they think they can take over security an we can leave with 16 months we should be celebrating. Honestly, I don’t understand the consternation. The fact is McCain, Bush and the Republicans made leaving within the next 16 months leaving a stable free Iraq in our wake possible. Obama had nothing to do with it. His timetable is pure coincidence. Anything else makes us sound like we want to be there regardless of the conditions.

TheBigOldDog on July 21, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Maybe Maliki thinks Obama is a Muslim too. LOL

Did he see this as an opportunity to get a Muslim in the White House?

ordi on July 21, 2008 at 11:19 AM

If they think they can take over security an we can leave with 16 months we should be celebrating. Honestly, I don’t understand the consternation.

My consternation is in the way he’s handling this politically. Naming Obama as correct to the German press on the eve of Obama’s tour of the ME and Germany.
It’s backstabbing the people that saved his arse.

MayBee on July 21, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Those damn Iraqis, acting all free and independent and stuff. How dare they! Iraq is OURS dammit.

Grow Fins on July 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Those damn Iraqis, acting all free and independent and stuff. How dare they! Iraq is OURS dammit.

Grow Fins on July 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Liberated themselves, did they?

Chased al Qaeda out of their country by themselves, did they?

Provided the security for political reconcilation on their own, did they>

Wethal on July 21, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Why is this an issue. Obama isn’t right on any level.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Well, Barry talked with Maliki today. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it this evening. Either way HA will have some red meat pulled out of the locker.

Limerick on July 21, 2008 at 11:25 AM

He said it when the war was at its lowest point…you have to be an imbecile to give or take any credit for this arbitrary number.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 11:27 AM

A non-negotiable agreement/contract should have been put in place. Period.

In exchange for the USA incurring the unfathomable costs of saving your ass, the Iraqi Govt agrees to reimburse USA via “x amount” of oil until said costs are satisfied.

deedtrader on July 21, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Oh wow, a country occupied by foreign troops wants them to leave. There isn’t a nation on Earth that doesn’t want foreign troops stationed in their country. Big effin’ deal.

Riposte on July 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM

I still can’t figure out why Hot Air continues to say that the New York Times confirmed the Der Spiegel quote. In fact, it proved that Der Spiegel deliberately misrepresented Maliki.

Der Spiegel: “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.”

New York Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq. Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

It boils down to Spiegel saying it was the “right timeframe” and New York Times saying it “could be suitable”.

Is there no difference between something being “right” and something that “could be suitable”?

Of course 16 months could be suitable – if conditions warrant it. Which is the whole point. Maliki never says in this interview that he would call for complete withdrawal within 16 months uncondtionally, otherwise known as the Obama plan.

Why is Hot Air playing into the propaganda spin?

The NBC host used the “right timeframe” wording, even though that’s not what Maliki said, and he’s clearly not advocating an unconditional withdrawal based on a timeframe?

Seixon on July 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM

*sigh*

Empire is so hard!

alphie on July 21, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Maliki is a supporter of Hezbollah and wants relations with Iran and Syria.
Is this a guy that can be trusted?
If Obama wants the support of this jerk, it demonstrates a lot.

jencab on July 21, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Oh wow, a country occupied by foreign troops wants them to leave. There isn’t a nation on Earth that doesn’t want foreign troops stationed in their country. Big effin’ deal.

Riposte on July 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Once upon a time we occupied a good portion of Germany, and were the only authority.

Check news reports on how the Germans whined when Bush said he was going to downsize or close some US bases in Germany (and relocate some east). Some German cities’ economies will tank when the Americans leave.

The Iraqis certainly don’t like the US troops having the authority they do. But whether they would give up the economic benefits of bases is another matter.

And Maliki know he has to have enough Americans around to keep the Sadrists, the Baathists and al Qaeda from rising up. The people might not like being occupied, but it’s better since the surge, and except for hard-line Baathists, know they’re better off than under Saddam.

Wethal on July 21, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Translation is always a tricky business, even if only two languages are involved (for example, from Arabic to English). How many translation errors occurred when somebody at Der Spiegel translated Maliki’s Arabic into German, then the German into English?

Maliki may be trying to play both sides against the middle right now, because he doesn’t know who will win the American election, and wants to be on good terms with both candidates.

What McCain needs to stress is that if the U.S. had followed Obama’s “judgment to lead” back in January 2007, Iraq would have been much worse now than it was then, and that McCain (not Obama) had the right strategic judgment during the tough times, and can be counted on to have sound strategic judgment for other difficult situations which might occur in the future (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan?)

Steve Z on July 21, 2008 at 11:35 AM

He said it when the war was at its lowest point…you have to be an imbecile to give or take any credit for this arbitrary number.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Exactly and that is how the Republicans should be playing it. Being seen as wanting to stay beyond our welcome is idiotic and deadly. They should be publicly making plans to start withdrawing to meet the timetable.

TheBigOldDog on July 21, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Maliki cannot be trusted. No matter what is stated for public consumption. We will shift troops where they are needed, but we’re not leaving Iraq anytime soon.

Connie on July 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Why can Maliki not be “trusted?” He is the democratically elected leader of Iraq and he is trying to stand on his own two feet and assert his independence. That’s what a leader is supposed to do. Thus, he is going to credit his own forces and his own initiatives as much as possible, because that gives him the credibility he needs to get the job done.

Our stated goal is to have Iraq a free and independent nation (and an ally). You can’t do that with a puppet regime. Maliki is asserting himself as more than a puppet, and that should be taken as a healthy sign. The important thing is that we need to support him while slowly taking the training wheels off, so that his government is stable and Iraq becomes a U.S. ally.

Outlander on July 21, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Reporter: Mr President, how do you feel about the comments of Maliki…

President: We are absolutely elated. The surge, which the Democrats opposed and denounced as a failure before it even began, has exceeded our expectations. The rapid progress in Iraq shows that our strategy is correct and we are happy that the Iraqi people now have a chance of building a peaceful, prosperous nation. With that I have asked the Commanders to begin making plans for withdrawing within the requested timetable.

Maliki: Oh sh!t!

TheBigOldDog on July 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I don’t understand why McCain just doesn’t say that things are progressing in Iraq and that if conditions continue to improve he’d be open to withdrawing U.S. troops. What he’s instead doing is reinforcing the “100 years in Iraq” line he’s been trying to live down for months now.

starfleet_dude on July 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

The actual quote from Al-Dabbagh is, “We are hoping that in 2010 that combat troops will withdraw from Iraq”

Maybe its just me, but to say combat troops out in 2010, means to me December 2010, which is 29 months away.

BohicaTwentyTwo on July 21, 2008 at 11:44 AM

starfleet_dude on July 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

You see it. Why doesn;t he? All he needs to do is embrace Maliki’s comments and the “100 years” goes away.

TheBigOldDog on July 21, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Wow, you guys certainly turned on Maliki awful quick, didn’t you? He makes one statement and you throw him to the wolves and call him a Hezbollah operative.

This whole thread is very disheartening to read. Its like you guys don’t have brains in your heads.

jimmy the notable on July 21, 2008 at 11:51 AM

This is a perfect example of why you don’t let rookies play politics with peoples lives. Obambi probably has more political experience than al Maliki and that is still zero. If the dims can steal the credit for victory in Iraq after Harry Reid entered into the Congressional record, “the war is lost,” then the Ameican people will get what they deserve. This is getting so juvenile, it is embarrassing.

volsense on July 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Malaki needs to appease the Iraqis and the International community. That’s why he is saying different things. In any case, he can’t seem too thankful for our help because he won’t get re-elected.

We better get a good deal on some of that oil….

nazo311 on July 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Our stated goal is to have Iraq a free and independent nation (and an ally). You can’t do that with a puppet regime. Maliki is asserting himself as more than a puppet, and that should be taken as a healthy sign. The important thing is that we need to support him while slowly taking the training wheels off, so that his government is stable and Iraq becomes a U.S. ally.

Outlander on July 21, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Seems a bit odd he would look at giving Obama’s electoral chances a boost as helping him in that regard. Perhaps he wasn’t listening when Obama was unconcerned about Iraqi sectarian genocide created by premature withdrawal in his earlier rhetoric.

a capella on July 21, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Liberated themselves, did they?

Chased al Qaeda out of their country by themselves, did they?

Provided the security for political reconcilation on their own, did they>

Ah, so freedom has conditions, I see.

Grow Fins on July 21, 2008 at 11:55 AM

I trust General Petraeus much more than I could ever trust the left’s puppet who I will now appropriately name “Dilly-Dally.” Let’s resume our march towards victory immediately and not be distracted by a manipulated puppet. Onward and upward!

Travis1 on July 21, 2008 at 11:55 AM

A phased American withdrawal over the next couple of years is the best possible scenario in my opinion. I’m weary of open ended American military commitments. I’m also tired of the United States’ entanglement in weird, post-modernist alliances with mission creep.

Saddam and his psychotic sons dead. We now know the WMD’s never were. Iraq is a stable and functioning democracy that no longer poses a threat to its neighbors. As an added bonus, al-Qaeda has suffered a crushing defeat in the heart of the Mesopotamia.

This mission is accomplished as it is going to get. Time to go home.

Mike Honcho on July 21, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Didn’t we really all know this would happen.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I get Maliki’s motivation. However, he’d better hope he gambled correctly and doesn’t end up working with McCain come January. I can totally see a vindictive McCain punishing Maliki for this. He won’t forget it – he holds grudges for sure.

aero on July 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

The Masterflash of Change, Obama was against himself before what he opposed succeeded, which has now voided his previous opinion, so that he is currently in favor of what he opposed since it is going well. Hope!

Graduate of the virtual B.J. Clintonm School of Realpolitix.

profitsbeard on July 21, 2008 at 12:08 PM

“Update: And indeed, the discomfort gets worse

Discomfort is not the word for it… A confused progression of senility on a weekly if not occasionally on a daily basis.

Where the heck is Holy Joe… when you need him?

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 12:20 PM

it’s just too bad for McCain that they can’t do the entire Presidential election in New Hampshire.

I don’t have anything against New Hampshire. But the only way McCain won was by gaming the system. He isn’t a very good candidate. All of his speeches sound like a senator speaking to the senate instead of a president speaking to the American people about the future.

Obama has completely taken the one issue McCain had away from him with this trip. . . the Iraq war. He won’t counter Obama’s claim that it was the wrong thing to do. The Iraq War was the right thing to do but it was executed poorly. That’s what he needs to say. . . but he doesn’t.

His response is weak, he is weak.

ThackerAgency on July 21, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Veiera pushed McCain hard in this interview. Good job. If only she’d apply the same toughness to Obama. Or any Democrat. Ever.

aero on July 21, 2008 at 12:32 PM

McCain: Obama wrong about the surge…

To hear the ‘money quote” you only have to listen to the last thirty seconds.

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Well it’s official now:

After talks with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki reaffirmed that Iraq wants U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010, a few months later than Obama had proposed.

Ali Dabbagh, the prime minister’s spokesman, said Maliki and Obama didn’t discuss specifics during the hour-long meeting. But he said the Iraqi government would like to see all American combat troops out of the country by the end of 2010, a bit later than Obama’s proposal to draw down all combat brigades within 16 months after he’d become president.

“Barak Obama showed his support to this government,” Dabbagh said. “He came to listen to our views and the views of the prime minister. And the prime minister gave him his point of view about the presence of U.S. forces and . . . what we want from the forces.”

starfleet_dude on July 21, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Do over…

the last fifty seconds…

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Most people, me included, tend to believe that the guy who claims to have been misquoted, or taken out of context, was quoted accurately and only regrets his remarks. My take is, Maliki likes the sound of 16 months and prefers Obama to McCain because we will leave quicker under Obama. And my Q is, why should we care if that is his choice?

Rather than making it sound like the GOP can’t imagine life without the Iraq war, why not take an opportune time to Declare Victory, pat ourselves on the back, and start talking about bringing em home rather than straining to avoid the subject?

james23 on July 21, 2008 at 1:26 PM

I get Maliki’s motivation. However, he’d better hope he gambled correctly and doesn’t end up working with McCain come January. I can totally see a vindictive McCain punishing Maliki for this. He won’t forget it – he holds grudges for sure.

aero on July 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Very true, but McCain can’t win if he loses the Iraq issue. Its all he’s got–he’s blown off everything else.

james23 on July 21, 2008 at 1:32 PM

I don’t understand why McCain just doesn’t say that things are progressing in Iraq and that if conditions continue to improve he’d be open to withdrawing U.S. troops. What he’s instead doing is reinforcing the “100 years in Iraq” line he’s been trying to live down for months now.

starfleet_dude on July 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Zackly right.

james23 on July 21, 2008 at 1:33 PM

McCain needs to get a competent team to sculpt his message and who is in touch with how his potential voters actually feel. This campaign’s lack of focus, message, and originality is becoming embarrassingly apparent.

McCain should be taking Obama to the cleaners… maybe he’s intentionally holding back until the conventions come around when people pay attention, but I’m losing my optimism.

DaveS on July 21, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Even so, McCain starts off well here by turning the discussion to Obama’s judgment about the surge.

I doubt that will work too well.

Right, wrong or indifferent, Maliki clearly prefers something much closer to Obama’s 16 months, which would not even start until at least January, 2009, to Bush and McCain’s ein time frame ist Verboten with permanent American bases, and lots of them, on Iraqi soil.

So McCain is basically saying, even if he does not realize it, that Obama is right now but should give McCain, apparently not Bush but McCain credit for being right a year ago. In other words, a consolation prize.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Then again, it’s easy to forget the reality of the situation with the media doing so much blatant cheerleading. Maybe he knows what he’s doing. He has been around the block a few times.

DaveS on July 21, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Outlander on July 21, 2008 at 11:39 AM

I agree, but that doesn’t necessarily involve trust. We are now really overseeing skirmishes and the rebuilding of Iraq. What we must win there now is in the political arena. The war itself is a multi-front war which manifests itself in another region wherever one sect gains even a moment of power. The alliances Maliki seeks to form are ones we must watch very carefully.

Connie on July 21, 2008 at 1:52 PM

I’m guessing that Bush is going to start withdrawing troops very soon, or at least start moving some of them to Afghanistan. Taking Dems’ issues away from them has always been one of Bush’s favorite strategies. At this point, McCain’s been kneecapped on the withdrawal issue, so the best Bush can do for him (assuming he’s trying to help) is take away the perception that Obama will be the hero in January by starting the withdrawal then – he would merely be continuing what Bush started. McCain can keep hitting hard on the fact that Obama was wrong about the surge and that beginning withdrawal under victorious circumstances today is only possible because we didn’t withdraw when Obama originally wanted to. Then he needs to turn the subject to energy and keep it there.

aero on July 21, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Whether a guy known for shrugging at 100 years of peaceful occupation on the Germany/Japan model can get away with that, we shall see.

In addition to this McCain -

“We have had troops in South Korea for 60 years and nobody minds,” Mr. McCain pointed out. “If you stay a long, long time, but have the Iraqis doing the fighting, and your people are back in the bases and away from the firing line, I think Americans would be satisfied.”

there has also been this McCain -

Charlie Rose: Do you think that this — Korea, South Korea is an analogy of where Iraq might be, not in terms of their economic success but in terms of an American presence over the next, say, 20, 25 years, that we will have a significant amount of troops there?

John McCain: I don’t think so.

Charlie Rose: Even if there are no casualties?

John McCain: No. But I can see an American presence for a while. But eventually I think because of the nature of the society in Iraq and the religious aspects of it that America eventually withdraws.

Where Mccain is now, God only knows.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Maliki is untrustworthy and ungrateful a Muslim.

Wethal on July 21, 2008 at 11:12 AM

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:21 PM

. Either way HA will have some red meat pulled out of the locker.

Limerick on July 21, 2008 at 11:25 AM

It will be a hot time in the old town tonight!

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:24 PM

TheBigOldDog on July 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM

BINGO!

If they had any sense that is how they would play it.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:27 PM

McCain is missing it here. The majority of Americans want us out of Iraq. There are plenty of conservatives, libertarians, and independents among those who want us out, who are not enamored of a single party Democratic government, but will vote for Obama purely on the issue of Iraq.

If Maliki is ready for us to leave, it means the surge worked. Declare victory, start to withdraw, McCain was right, Obama was wrong. The surge paaved the path for a drwdown.

If there is no real practical difference between McCain and Obama on what our military posture will look like in Iraq by the end of 2010… Obama loses his only real advantage in November, and we can potentially avoid the disaster of single party Democratic government with expanded and potentially filibuster proof Democratic majorities. McCain should embrace the Maliki statements. It is what we all wanted. When they stand up, we stand down. Well, they are standing up.

Time to stand down.

mw on July 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Didn’t we really all know this would happen.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Does a bear $hit in the woods?

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Well if things go bad…Obama doesn’t want any part of this.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Bush (and McCain) missed the first chance to withdraw from Iraq years ago -

WMD – check
Odai/Qusay – check
Saddam Hussein – check
Zarqawi – check
Elections – check
Constitution (with Islam, the Great Religion of Peace enshrined in it) – check

Do they really want to miss this one?

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:36 PM

I can totally see a vindictive McCain punishing Maliki for this. He won’t forget it – he holds grudges for sure.

aero on July 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

If McVindictive wins Malika better be reading up on what happened to Ngo Dinh Diem.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 2:39 PM

Phil Gramm gets thrown under the bus, (rightfully so) but Juan Hernandez is still on McCain’s campaign staff.
I noticed that when Gramm’s name was mentioned, John just bulldozed over it. He needs a new speech coach or new meds/vits, maybe both.
MW has a point and I agree with MayBee. Maliki seems like a Obama lover. I thought that most of the Iraqis want McCain.
Am I wrong?
Nothing like having a ME country pick our CIC?

Christine on July 21, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Man, he didn’t just dodge her nasty curveballs, he ate them and spit’m back in her face!

Can anyone say PWNZOR?

AlexB on July 21, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Exit question: What effect will this have on the next round of polls?

It’s just one poll but in the last day Obama has gone from 3 ahead of McCain to 6 ahead in the Gallup poll. And that is a 3 day “rolling poll”, so the last day was likely a biggie for Obama.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 3:02 PM

McCain has only himself to blame.

He yammers on about how Obama doesn’t visit Iraq, explicitly implying that makes his qualifications to be President a lot less, and well now Obama has visited both Iraq and Afghanistan and Kuwait, which by McCain’s “logic” would make Obama’s qualifications to be President go up a lot.

He pitched Obama a softball and Obama appears to be hitting a home run.

MB4 on July 21, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Obama kicks behind when it comes to quitting. I think the world likes Obama because the dirtly little secret is that he is their last great hope to do nothing. He holds the key to leaving the world as it is as long as possible before the stuff hits the fan. Of course things will be worse, but at that point it won’t matter.

I wasn’t being a doomsdayer if it sounded like it. He just enables other to pat themselves on the back while others suffer.

tomas on July 21, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Here’s all McCain has to say…

According to the Times translation, Prime Minister Maliki was asked specifically about a timetable and he referenced Senator Obama’s — the only one out there — and said it could be suitable with changes. And of course, whether or not it is suitable and what changes are made will be determined by the conditions on the ground. That’s not an endorsement of Obama’s position. Obama’s position was to be out by last March, regardless of the situation, regardless of the consequences.

And then when she asked him about Afghanistan. He should have said:

The difference is, now Al Qaeda is leaving Iraq in defeat and headed to Afghanistan in desperation. If Senator Obama had his way, they’d be leaving Iraq victorious, they’d still control Iraq and they would be emboldened and confident that they could win in Afghanistan, too.

Senator Obama would have had us withdrawing from Iraq and heading to Afghanistan. Instead, because of the success of the surge that he opposed, it’s Al Qaeda who’s withdrawing from Iraq. That’s because we’re winning in Iraq and I happened to believe winning there was important. Senator Obama did not.

Spolitics on July 21, 2008 at 3:26 PM

McCain should embrace the Maliki statements. It is what we all wanted. When they stand up, we stand down. Well, they are standing up.
Time to stand down.
mw on July 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM

I can’t remember how long I’ve been hoping someone would remember that phrase and hold someone’s, anyone’s feet to the fire…!

You da poster “mw”!

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 6:18 PM

We forget that it is months before the election, a lot of this might be mute by then.

Obama’s 16 months is the middle pf 2010. The Iraqis say that they prefer the end of 2010. Hey, maybe it will even go into the early part of 2011. And of course there is that strike force that Obama wants to leave behind.

So McCain has talked about 2012 or 2013. In the end, events will dictate the withdrawal date.

I still think Maliki is trying to win the next election in his country, just like Obama and McCain are trying to win the one here in November. So a lot of this is just politics, just like the Democratic Congress’s promises to end the war by now.

But it is true, that without people like McCain, people like Obama and Maliki could not even think about when Iraq could stand on its own as a functioning democracy.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 6:31 PM

But it is true, that without people like McCain, people like Obama and Maliki could not even think about when Iraq could stand on its own as a functioning democracy.
Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 6:31 PM

Terrye me dear, methinks you’ve got that scenario just round basse ackwards…?

It’s a guy just like Senator Obama that’s given Mr. Maliki bothe the example and the emphatic post haste reason to step up so we can step down!

Thank you dear Lord God!

“…hundred years in Iraq” Oh Jesus NO!

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 6:46 PM

J:

That is ridiculous. If it were not for the surge, which Obama still does not support, there would not have been the improvements in the security situation. I know that Obama and his fan club think he is a God but he did not do a damn thing to make things better in Iraq, in fact he did the opposite and now he is exploiting the situation.

The truth is that he has changed his position on Iraq so many times that most people do not even know what it is anymore. And Maliki has said enough different things in the last two weeks that no one is really sure what he wants either.

I think that Maliki is hedging his bets. Just in case Obama wins he wants him on his side. Meanwhile Obama might well be telling the guy to just not worry about that whole timetable thing, if things get rough Maliki can count on him, if he can count on Maliki. Strong horse and all that.

No, J, If left to Obama and his ilk, Maliki would not be the Prime Minister and Iraqis would still be watching Saddam TV 24/7 while that crazy psycho raped and pillaged the country.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:05 PM

And if you do not know what a hundred years in Iraq was in reference to, then you are obtuse. By the way, how big will Obama’s strike force be and how long will it be in place?

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Nothin’ like a burr under the blanket [BHO] to have a lazy horse [Maliki] buck his really olde rider [McSame] off!

Some refer to it as incentive?

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 7:09 PM

J:

Maliki did not kick anyone off. It was just a few days ago he signed a security arrangement with the Bush administration.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:12 PM

Call it what you like….

Some refer to it as incentive?
J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 7:09 PM

As an olde soldier, I refer to it as real, honest, bold leadership!

Thank you Barrak!

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 7:16 PM

J:

Leadership? You have got to be kidding.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:23 PM

And btw, what are you thanking him for? If he pulls out of there too soon and things go to hell, it won’t be you or Barack paying the price, it will be the young soldiers who have to go back..yet again.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Believe it or not running away does not take a lot of leadership abilities. Besides, if his bold leadership gets us into a shooting war in Pakistan Iraq will seem almost tame in comparison.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:26 PM

“…it will be the young soldiers who have to go back..yet again.
Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:24 PM

We ain’t goin’ back Terrye. We’re gonna let them sort it out!

“…a shooting war in Pakistan Iraq will seem almost tame in comparison.
Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 7:26 PM


Compared to 1.3 million Iraqis dead and 4K+KIA and 40K+WIA brave US men and women troopers in Iraq…

Oh holy Jesus no, NO… that will really be hell on earth!

You Terrye, don’t have a clue.

My last words.

J_Gocht on July 21, 2008 at 7:45 PM

J:

1.3 million dead Iraqis??? Where the hell did that come from? That is nonsense.

And yes we will go back and if one believes Obama’s stance on strike forces we will not really leave.

If the country of Iraq collapses in that strategic region of the world, there is no way we will just ignore it.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 8:02 PM

I mean think about it, we leave soldiers there to fight terrorists and then the country falls apart and we just pretend it is not happening? And what if it does fall apart because we could not give it one more year? And if in the chaos and the confusion the terrorists always on the move, come back… Those soldiers will either have to be pulled out or they will have to reinforced.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 8:05 PM

If your numbers are right {which they are not} then that means that an average of about 680 Iraqis would have to have died every single day since we went into Iraq. That is ridiculous.

Terrye on July 21, 2008 at 8:11 PM