Sunday, July 20, 2008

Erm, um, well... - updated

This morning I saw the following Google headline:
Maliki Doesn't Endorse Obama Troop Withdrawal Plan (Update1)
Bloomberg - 2 hours ago
By Tarek Al-Issawi July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki hasn't endorsed any specific plan for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, a government spokesman said, a day after a magazine report that he supported Barack Obama's ...

Well, I don't really recall ever thinking Maliki specifically endorsed Obama's plan, only that his timetable and Obama's were in synch. (Sorry, spell checkers and common usage, when I am shortening synchronicity I have trouble changing a "ch" to a "c" - the history of words is too great a love in my life.)

Kevin Drum has an article at CBS News discussing the alleged "retraction" by Maliki (under what I can only presume to be serious White House pressure):
The retraction claimed that Maliki's comments were "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately," which might be plausible if there were only a single sentence in question. However, how likely is it that Spiegel mistranslated three separate comments? Here are the relevant excerpts from the interview:
Today, we in Iraq want to establish a timeframe for the withdrawal of international troops — and it should be short.

....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.

....Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic....The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.

There's just no way that all three of these passages were mistranslated. Maliki, for whatever reason (Mark Kleiman runs down the possibilities here), wants American troops out, and he wants them out sooner rather than later. There's really no way to spin that away.
Drum's consideration of how the press narrative will evolve is fun to read with plenty of snark for those with eyes to read.

The bottom line is that the Iraqi people and leaders think that Democrats have more realistic discussions about the desired future of Iraq than Republicans do. Just saying.

SPIEGEL sticks to its version of the conversation.

That's a quote from the international version of Der Spiegel.

h/t to Virginia Dem at Daily Kos
--the BB

No comments: