Sunday, July 20, 2008

McBush Forces al-Maliki To Back Away From His Endorsement Of The Obama Solution?


The Bush Regime was none too happy that the spokesperson for its puppet regime endorsed Obama's timeline for ending the war. I can only imagine the hysteria and the threats after the Der Speigel story came out. Let me find that exact quote again because there seems to be a little minor back-peddling now. A Maliki spokesperson is claiming he was misquoted, misinterpreted and/or taken out of context. Ah... here's the quote McBush was so upset about:
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?

Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned. US presidential candidate Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months. Assuming that positive developments continue, this is about the same time period that corresponds to our wishes.

Here's the context. al-Maliki's spokesperson isn't saying which words were misunderstood or mistranslated or misquoted or out of context. So, it probably just means that al-Maliki was told that he and his family would be left to the tender mercies of the rebels when the U.S. leaves Iraq if he didn't back off the clear and concise and unambiguous statement he gave. I guess he wished he never said it. But he did. And it's an accurate reflection of the will of the Iraqi people.

Der Spiegel laughed at the accusations that their reporting was at fault for the supposed miscommunication.
A number of media outlets likewise professed to being confused by the statement from Maliki's office. The New York Times pointed out that al-Dabbagh's statement "did not address a specific error." CBS likewise expressed disbelief pointing out that Maliki mentions a timeframe for withdrawal three times in the interview and then asks, "how likely is it that Spiegel mistranslated three separate comments? Matthew Yglesias, a blogger for the Atlantic Monthly, was astonished by "how little effort was made" to make the Baghdad denial convincing. And the influential blog IraqSlogger also pointed out the lack of specifics in the government statement.

Spiegel sticks to its version of the conversation.

The first response from the McCain camp was uncharacteristically realistic: "We're fucked." But then the lobbyist brigade that makes up the McCain brain trust jumped into the fray. One of the worst and most slimy of the McCain lobbyists, selling access to Republican politicians to foreign interests, is Randy Scheunemann. He is likely to be forced off the Double Talk Express in disgrace, the way so many like him already have been, in the next few months. Meanwhile he gave the official McCain response to al-Maliki's endorsement of Obama's approach to ending the war. Keep in mind as he bobs and weaves and tries to create confusion that McCain opposes withdrawing from Iraq... period, and that his assessment of "the surge" is at odds with reality and at odds with that of Iraqis.
The difference between John McCain and Barack Obama is that Barack Obama advocates an unconditional withdrawal that ignores the facts on the ground and the advice of our top military commanders. John McCain believes withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground. Prime Minister Maliki has repeatedly affirmed the same view, and did so again today. Timing is not as important as whether we leave with victory and honor, which is of no apparent concern to Barack Obama. The fundamental truth remains that Senator McCain was right about the surge and Senator Obama was wrong. We would not be in the position to discuss a responsible withdrawal today if Senator Obama's views had prevailed.

I bet McCain wishes he had never pushed Obama to make this trip:


Monday's NY Times includes an admission from the Bush Regime that they have been working to undo the debilitating damage al-Maliki's statements have done to John McCain's floundering one-note campaign.
Mr. Maliki's interview prompted immediate concern from the Bush administration, which called to seek clarification from Mr. Maliki’s office, American officials said.

Scott M. Stanzel, a White House spokesman with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., said that embassy officials explained to the Iraqis how the interview in Der Spiegel was being interpreted, given that it came just a day after the two governments announced an agreement over American troops.

“The Iraqis were not aware and wanted to correct it,” he said.

...In Iraq, controversy continued to reverberate between the United States and Iraqi governments over a weekend news report that Mr. Maliki had expressed support for Mr. Obama’s proposal to withdraw American combat troops within 16 months of January. The reported comments came after Mr. Bush agreed on Friday to a “general time horizon” for pulling out troops from Iraq without a specific timeline.

Diplomats from the United States Embassy in Baghdad spoke to Mr. Maliki’s advisers on Saturday, said an American official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss what he called diplomatic communications. After that, the government’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, issued a statement casting doubt on the magazine’s rendering of the interview.

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.”

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home