But 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.
As if it’s not bad enough that they’re trying to spin this after the fact, the Times reports that the statement was put out by Centcom, just to make the U.S. fingerprints on it extra legible, I guess. In any event, Maliki’s desire to make any timetable contingent upon further security gains was already clear from the Spiegel translation — or more specifically, the first version of the Spiegel translation, before they went and surreptitiously changed it.
McCain’s team put out a statement tonight, too. Quote:
Let’s be clear, the only reason that the conversation about reducing troop levels in Iraq is happening is because John McCain challenged the failed Rumsfield-strategy in Iraq and argued for the surge strategy that is responsible for the successes we’ve achieved and which Barack Obama opposed. Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain has never ignored the facts on the ground in Iraq, he’s never avoided the warzone before proposing new strategy, and he’s never voted against funding our troops in the field. If John McCain was following Barack Obama’s lead on foreign policy, the United States would have already withdrawn from Iraq in a humiliating defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.
Quite so, although I’d have re-written that as, “If John McCain and Nuri al-Maliki were following Barack Obama’s lead…” Barry O’s accomplished the foreign policy masterstroke here of screaming for withdrawal year after year when it would have been a horrific idea and now, with the jihadis and militias finally subdued to the point where it at least wouldn’t be disastrous, he wants credit for having been ahead of the curve. You truly are a visionary, Messiah.
Speaking of facts catching up with people, read this story about another changing fact on the ground via David Petraeus himself: Their dreams of a jihadi paradise in Iraq having been dashed, foreign fighters might at last be redeploying to Afghanistan. Too bad the left apparently doesn’t want to fight that war either. Exit question for Joe Biden: At what moment, precisely, do the jihadis who were initially planning to go to Iraq become “bad guys”? When their flight reservation for Karachi is confirmed?
Update: For dessert, here’s the left’s favorite retired admiral, the one man who supposedly stood between the United States and war with Iran, urging the public to do the responsible and thing and support a long-term security partnership between the U.S. and Iraq.
This is a pivotal time. The aspirations of the hopeful could come to fruition: a stable Iraq, with a modern oil industry and substantially increased export capacity, that is part of the growing regional economic and political cooperation in the Middle East. This is not wishful dreaming but a very real possibility.
But it will happen only if security in Iraq is maintained. And a long-term arrangement with the United States is key to Iraq’s future security.
Reasonable objectors to the security pact, in both countries, must jettison the rhetorical and emotional baggage of the recent past. Forget the errors and bad decisions and deal with the present. Real progress has been made, and this positive momentum must be maintained.