Sunday, July 20, 2008

McCain's Iraq Policy: DOA

Now that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq in 16 months, can there still be any room for John McCain to throw stones at Obama's Iraq policy? Or does McCain's plan to stay indefinitely not depend on the approval of the Iraqi government?

As reported in the NY Times today, Maliki has tried to argue he was misquoted by Der Spiegel, whose interview with Maliki included the endorsement of Obama's plan (suggestively, the US military, rather than Maliki's office, issued the denial). This excerpt from today's Times article makes it clear that Maliki was not misquoted in the first place, but the real story is that it is now clear that Obama's plan is the only plan now. Without the support of the Iraqi government, McCain's is off the table.

Here's an excerpt from the Times article:

The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.

“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.”

But the 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.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The 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.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.” [Emphasis added]


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posted at 9:13:00 PM by Neil

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