What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 19, 2008

Uh, This Might Be Important

From Talking Points Memo:
I've spent a couple hours now trying to process the probable impact of Prime Minister al Maliki's explicit endorsement of Barack Obama's 16 month timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. My first instinct is always to try not to overstate the impact of momentary developments. But I don't think it's enough to say this is a huge development. It's huger than that. In a stroke, I think, al Maliki has cut McCain off at the knees in a way I'm not sure his campaign strategy can recover from.

Consider McCain's strategy, which is all bound up with Iraq.

All understand it is a given that the war is unpopular and that the vast majority of Americans want out as soon as possible. The big of wiggle room is just what's 'possible.' McCain has invested his entire campaign in support for the purportedly nascent Iraqi democracy al Maliki represents and the claim that Obama's support for a timetable for withdrawal irresponsibly risks losing the gains we've achieved and giving Iraq back to al Qaeda.

Here, with a brush of the hand and in so many words, al Maliki says, "No, we're good."
Here's where TPM gets its quotations.

That being the case, what oh what shall we make if this?
President Bush said today if the Iraqi government were to ask the United States to leave Iraq, he would grant the request.

"We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It's their government's choice,’’ the president said during a Rose Garden news conference. "If they were to say leave, we would leave."
Now that, according to a recent poll from the LA Times, a majority (68% - a super-majority, actually) want the troops in Iraq to return either immediately (25%) or within a year or so (43%) and the Iraqi government actually agrees with Senator Obama's general outline to bring the troops home in 16 months or so, I wonder how many times we'll hear the Republicans regurgitate the line about how the Democrats support "surrender"?

Yea, you're probably right - the answer is "just as often."

Facts don't mean squat to them.


Anonymous said...

John K: I do not think the Republicans will mention surrender at all. The withdrawal depends on the situation on the ground. And Obama will not snatch defeat from victory if he suspects that will happen. So 16 months is a good benchmark, however the country and region will require constant vigilance and readiness to act. Obama knows this. The lefties who support him do not.

Anonymous said...

Comment from the McCain Campaign "We're F*@ked".


OK, John K. The bloggers here are so wrong and Obama is so right. I'll concede that. Why not? :-)

I agree with the McCain Campaign, they really are F#@cked!


jaywillie said...

Look at the conservatives capitulate - "16 months is a good benchmark."

I think Josh at TPM phrased the effect on McCain aptly: his campaign has been "cut...off at the knees..." I'll go one step further, borrowing a phrase that has surfaced in recent weeks - al Maliki just cut McCain's nuts off.

So how soon before McCain announces his own "time horizon" for withdrawal?

Also, I've seen it reported that Gordon Brown supports Obama's 16 month timetable. I expect other world leaders will follow suit throughout the course of Obama's overseas trip

Bram Reichbaum said...

Fabulous. It's always darkest before the dawn.

EdHeath said...

It is good to see you showing such confidence in Mr. Obama, Monsieur K.

jaywillie said...

I know this probably doesn't belong here, but it's just breaking on DKos that Pittsburgh will be the host city for next year's Netroots Nation!


Anonymous said...

John K: Conservative capitulation is nonsense. After WW2 we demoblized within 16 months. But kept a presence. Obama is dealing with reality. We will maintain a presence in Iraq. But not with the troop strength we needed for victory. By the way, left wingers, we still have a military presence in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Also, nice to see Obama is acknowledging victory. 13 months ago he publicity stated we had lost. Glad this President did not take counsel of his fears or the liberals. One and the same.
However, it is heartening to see Jaywillie finally admit victory in Iraq. Converting one liberal at a time.

Anonymous said...

John K: By the way lefties, how is that civil war going in Iraq. LMAO LMAO LMAO LOL LOL and just a plain old HA HA.

Anonymous said...

John K,

Did you serve in Iraq? From your comments you appear not to have at all. If you had, you would realize that Iraq is in a civil war. You would also have the pain of watching your friends hurt and killed over this idiotic policy.

So please, write again how you are LMAO at what is occurring. Please write it again you ass; because that is what us vets want to read when we return.

John, my personal bet is you are a coward that has never served in the army and has no understanding of the costs of war.

Bram Reichbaum said...

@jayville: Excellent.

jaywillie said...

Exactly where do I say that, John? You haven't converted me to anything, chum.

It might serve you well to assume less; I have always supported Obama's Iraq position and the war in Afghanistan.

But you have capitulated because you are endorsing a timetable for withdrawal, something conservatives have always said was not acceptable.

In fact, conservatives seem to be falling all over themselves in capitulation, particularly your beloved President, who has managed to endorse Obama's foreign policy with Petraeus's support for a "time horizon," the recognition that pulling forces from Afghanistan to Iraq made the situation worse in Afghanistan(Petraeus admits now that the fight against Al Qaeda is in Afghan.) as Obama has always said and the administration sitting down and talking - yes, talking - with the Iranians.

I'm glad you're finally convinced, John K., that the conservative foreign policy of pre-emptive war and saber-rattling is untenable. But I don't want to take up any more of your time, as I'm sure you have plenty to do as a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.

It's easy to glorify war, John, behind the safety of your computer screen.

Anonymous said...

John K: LMAO Not so fast there Left wing kooks. An Iraqi spokesperson said that is not what Al-Maliki said. LMAO He said he does not endorse Obama's plan but just the general principles of a withdrawal. LMAO Liars. LOL

Anonymous said...

John K: Look at this Hussein Obama fellow. 8 months ago he said we had to pull out now! And Murtha said we had to pull out now! And Biden said there was a civil war. And Pelosi/Reid/Durbin said we lost. Now Obama is endorsing victory and the left is trying to jump on the victory band wagon. LOL LOL A little too late to the party folks. By the way, once again, how is that civil war going in Iraq? Are we losing? LOL LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

John K: I love this Obama trip. All this false information the left tried to pass is being exposed. No! There was not 217,000 artifacts looted in Apr 2003 from the Iraq museum. But only 14,000 of which half have been returned. And NO! There were never 600,000 Iraqis killed. Not at all. Bush stood up to his guy. Clinton cowered in fear and bombing aspirin factories. And you left wingers supported a genocidal dictator over democracy. Even Obama is not dumb enough to listen to you lefties. He plays lip service but follows a different path. Even it means flip flopping.

C.H. said...

I hate to flip your whole world upside down, but maybe you are getting just a little ahead of yourself with this "report", much like the media that continues to salavate over Barack Obama.

Iraqi PM disputes report on withdrawal plan

This is kinda important, wouldn't you say so?

Anonymous said...

John K: Nope Iraqi spokesperson said Al-Maliki supports the general principles of a withdrawal but not necessary the Hussein Obama plan. Looks like the left jumped the gun and tried to take credit for victory.
But that concurs with what I claimed a long time ago. The left is not opposed to the war in Iraq. They just want a Democrat to take credit for it.
Even jaywillie is jumping on the band wagon saying he supports the war in Iraq. LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

Not so fast, you folks saying "not so fast."

Der Spiegel (where the interview took place) stands by the interview.

An excerpt: A Baghdad government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said in a statement that SPIEGEL had "misunderstood and mistranslated" the Iraqi prime minister, but didn't point to where the misunderstanding or mistranslation might have occurred. Al-Dabbagh said Maliki's comments "should not be understood as support to any US presidential candidates." The statement was sent out by the press desk of the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq.

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.


jaywillie said...

Considering that the Iraqi "spokesman" statement was released by CentComm and conveniently makes no specific mention as to what the translation error was(and that this person is closely associated w/ the Bush White House), it seems that statement was forced by the administration to muddy the waters of al Maliki's very clear statement to Der Spiegel - which he made not once, but three times throughout the course of the interview.

And, John K., if you're going to persist in putting words in my mouth, I'd like you to SHOW ME PRECISELY WHERE I said I support the Iraq debacle.

I support Obama's Iraq position; I have since I supported his candidacy. And, like Obama, I think this war was unnecessary and that because the Republicans are incapable of bringing about a resolution, it's going to take someone else to finish the job that John McCain and the GOP can't.

Again, show me where I say I support the war in Iraq. Not assumptions you make about this or that, but where I wrote those precise words. Hmmm?

Anonymous said...

John K: Must I remind you, Of curse I must, lefties always forget the truth from what they want to spin on a given day. Biden, this is a civil war. Okay so is it still going on and who won. LOL Reid/Pelosi, we have lost in Iraq. We did? LMAO And of course Obama just 8 months ago. He will bring the troops home tomorrow. Not 16 months from Jan but tomorrow. And the best statement by Obama, the surge has failed. LMAO And you lefties flocked to the polls to support him over Hillary. And now, he talks like Hillary Clinton. LMAO And then you lefties try to deny it all. Hey did any of those snipers from Bosnia who tried to clip Hillary try to shoot at Obama in Afghanistan? HA HA Hussein Obama has no war record so I suppose after this visit he will be awarding himself some type of medal. And Jaywillie will be justifying it. To bad for you left wing kooks FOX news went along to record the truth.

jaywillie said...

Again, John, back-up what you claim I said by showing me where I said it...I'm still waiting.

Don't distract from the issue by bringing in Biden, Pelosi and Reid.

You said I support the Iraq war, so show me where I said that.

And what's it going to be on Obama, John - you said yourself that 16 months was a good benchmark, you agreed with him, you capitulated by acknowledging that you support a timeframe for withdrawal, going against conservatives, who have consistenly argued against a timeframe.

And since the President said if asked to leave by the Iraqi's we'd comply and that al Maliki is quoted in Der Spiegel as saying,"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"(which is almost precisely what Obama has consistently said about Iraq), isn't the real problem that Republicans and McCain have been backed into a corner, that if they argue the surge has worked it only further validates the call to withdraw, that Americans will not allow them to perpetuate this conflict indefinitely and that the conservative wet-dream of an endless war against Arabs will not be accepted by either our own citizens or the rest of the world?

And now that President Bush has validated Obama's foreign policy by opening negotiations with the Iranians and Petraeus' announcement that we need to refocus on Afghanstan and a resurgent Taliban(something you claimed was not happening), the conservative policies of pre-emption and tough talk has failed, miserably, that it was a mistake to withdraw forces from Afghanistan in the first place to launch operations inside Iraq and that Obama is right that the needless war in Iraq distracted from the real fight against the people responsible for the attacks on 9/11?

And if you were so concerned about Saddam and his genocide, why did you support Republicans like Reagan that had no problem arming Saddam(we knew very well what kind of person Saddam was when Rummy shook his hand)? Why did conservatives sell him weapons? Why didn't they stand up to the atrocities he committed when he was committing them, instead of making him an ally?

EdHeath said...

Well, so, Obama says sixteen months and a small presence left behind as advisors. McCain doesn't say how long, but a small presence left behind, like we have in Korea or Germany (or Bosnia and Kosovo). But I think McCain is leaning towards leaving sooner rather than later; a matter of months, not years. So both candidates are playing to both the majority that wants us to leave and the minority that wants us to claim victory.

Personally I see another strong man taking over after we leave, apparently with our blessing. Possibly that strong man will be al Maliki, possibly it will be that Sadr fellow. Possibly the civil war will continue or possibly it will wind down. Either way, Iraq wants to get at its oil wealth, to the point where they will make deals with western oil companies to get it. That way the western oil companies can bribe the right people, and Baghdad will get electricity, and everybody (who matters) will be happy.

Anonymous said...

John K: Back up what jaywillie. You don't read. MSNBC, FOX and Der Speigel carried the fact that Al- Maliki did not say what you thought he said. Jaywillie, stop getting all your news from the Daily Kos. This way you won't look so stupid. Back up what I said LMAO LMAO Jaywillie, you got nothing.

Anonymous said...

John K: Civil war in Iraq? Give it up already, that dog don't hunt. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Maliki said exactly that John K. They're trying to backpedal now though I'm sure you disagree. But keep drinking the Kool-Aid

Anonymous said...

John K: Nope Al Maliki's official spokesperson said you, yah you let wing kook, misinterpreted the translation. Think I am wrong. Go talk to Miki Brezinski of Morning Joe and MSNBC news. Or CNN or FOX or Der Spiegal or heck read it for yourself. You got it wrong and AL Maliki says so. LMAO LMAO LOL LOL Man it was too easy.

cathcatz said...

did you really just use mika brzezinski as a reliable source for news???? the woman is a flatout idiot!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that it was Maliki's own translator. And now the official Iraqi spokesperson has come out and echoed the same theme...American troops out by 2010.

If it looks like Obama's plan, and sounds like Obama's plan, it IS Obama's plan...

But keep denying it John K. The more you add "LMAO" to your posts, the "righter" you must be.

Anonymous said...

"did you really just use mika brzezinski as a reliable source for news???? the woman is a flatout idiot"

oh cath--why do you hate strong beautiful women so much? Mika is the only reason I watch. I love it when Jo's not there. He is a pig, cutting her off when she tries to inject a lttle objectivity.
I recall you as a Hillary Hater too. Got a problem with those who make it? Kinda like Jessie's jealousy of Obama?
Just asken!!

jaywillie said...

You wrote the following:

"it is heartening to see Jaywillie finally admit victory in Iraq"

"Even jaywillie is jumping on the band wagon saying he supports the war in Iraq"

I'm asking you to show me where I made either one of those statements.

Now, as to what al Maliki said. The person who served as his translator for the Der Spiegel article was his own translator, not one provided by the newspaper. The translator in question, put another way, worked for al Maliki's office.

al Dabbagh(sp?) then made a statement, after a phone call from the Bush Administration, released through CentCom stating that al Maliki's comments were mistranslated, except he never said what was mistranslated. So, the Iraqi government speaks through Centcom? Pretty strange!

We know that the White House pressured the Iraqi's to walk back al Maliki's comment(reported in the Washington Post Here

Der Spiegel stood by it's story. You're claim that it hasn't is an outright fabrication; a lie. I encourage you to actually look in to it.

The audio of al Maliki's comments have since been independently verified by the New York Times and translated thusly:

“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's the same as what was reported by Der Spiegel.

But today, following Obama's meeting with al Maliki, al-Dabbaggh - who gave the statement released by CentComm saying al Maliki's statement was mistranslated - reiterated the Iraqi government's support for having American forces withdrawn by 2010. Mark Halperin, hardly a liberal, reported as follows: Iraq Government agrees with Obama, Hopes for US withdrawal by 2010.

As that Republican advisor, who was quoted by Marc Ambinder, said, McCain and the Republicans are fucked. You just lost the national security/foreign policy debate.

The American people want the war to end and the troops to come home. The Iraqi government wants the troops to come home. Barack Obama wants the troops to come home and his position echoes what the Iraqi government wants.

The real issue here is that McCain and the Republicans want a permanent presence inside Iraq, they want permanent bases. But since they've equated leaving with losing, they can't support withdrawal, so we have the absurd announcement of "time horizons."

The Republicans and McCain don't want a sovereign country in Iraq; they want a country that they can bully(see above White House phone call).

So, we shall have to see how long it is before John McCain flip-flops on a timetable for withdrawal, because he has always been against it. He and the Republicans are now left with their asses twisting in the wind, standing not only against the will of the American people but the will of the Iraqi people.

The entire conservative/Republican foreign policy is in tatters.

You lose, John K. - BADLY.

Thanks for playing, but it's far too easy to eviscerate your arguments.

cathcatz said...

anon 5:05--- strong and beautiful?? really? she wouldn't be on the teevee if she wasn't beautiful, so i'll give you that. they don't let the homely girls on. as for strong? i don't think so, because if she was, she wouldn't allow joe to run all over her like that.

as for me being a "hillary-hater"? that stems from the way she and hers ran her campaign. i don't care for that type of dirty politics. i expect it from the right, i won't tolerate it from the left. so no, it's not about sen. clinton being a woman. its about sen. clinton not demanding that her campaign remain above the fray.

just sayin'