The prime minister of Iraq has made his choice. Of the two ideas for continuing the US occupation of Iraq, (Obama - depart within 16 months; or, McCain - stay forever) Nuri al-Maliki is clearly siding with Obama.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.There was another little nuance in Nuri's interview with Der Spiegel. (emphasis mine)
In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.
"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."
Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.What Nuri is suggesting is that if the US stays in Iraq any longer it is under false pretenses. (Notwithstanding the fact that the reason they are there in the first place is the result of false pretenses.)
"Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."
The White House said on Friday President George W. Bush and Maliki had agreed that a security deal under negotiation should set a "time horizon" for meeting "aspirational goals" for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.That statement is sufficiently vague as to mean US troops could effectively stay in Iraq forever.
"The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn't," Maliki told Der Spiegel.That would be the line used by negotiators in the Bush administration, and may well be a factor among those who would like the whole thing to end but hesitate to view the whole thing as a total waste, but it is overshadowed by the fact that the Bush administration has lost on so many fronts in Iraq that setting an exit date for US forces isn't really going to change much. And the Bush administration, as dday at Hullabaloo points out, wasn't in Iraq to win.
Regardless of Maliki's motives, this is a total rejection of the McCain conservative position on Iraq. They never wanted to "win," they wanted to stay. And they are being told they have to leave.It's not defeat the conservative camp is so worried about, (but you can expect to hear a lot from them in the future on that subject if Obama ascends to the presidency), it's the loss of a colony they can't stand.
The Iraq adventure had nothing to do with winning or losing. The Cheney faction had not even considered losing. They really believed that they had the upper hand militarily and that the whole thing would be a three-week overrun of a weak opponent, a mild looking occupation to get things running, the American way, the insertion of a tame government under the guise of purple-fingered democracy, colonial supervision of everything and the exploitation of Iraq's primary and very valuable natural resource. And of course, much like the British did in India, (something the Cheney faction never bothered to look into), the colony (and the resource) would have to be protected from avaricious neighbours and other greedy buggers who might be inclined to steal or even make a deal for what was now rightfully the property of the Bush administration and its sponsor, Big Oil.
It was all very neat and tidy. If it seems overly simplistic, the reality is, the Cheney faction never planned for anything else. There was no occupation plan, no contingency planning and the timetable never went beyond On this date we start pumping oil, pay for our little invasion and we'll all continue to drive Hummers and Escalades down to the corner store.
It was all made evident when, after the Cheney faction paraded their stooge on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to announce Mission Accomplished, the Bush administration has twice issued strategy changes to deal with an insurgency they never even considered in their ramp up to invasion. When Bush stood and crowed that major combat operations had ended in Iraq the US military had lost 140 people killed. Since then the number has risen to 4125.
Iraq's "democracy" is a mess and oil production, over five years into the economic colonization, is still struggling to achieve a fraction of its potential output. The US is mortgaged to the hilt and is viewed around the globe as something akin to a hungry shark in kiddies wading pool.
Defeat? That would be the least of America's problems. But that's all you'll hear about from the Cheney faction in the next few months.
UPDATE: Nuri al-Malaki is now saying he was misquoted and the translation was wrong in Der Spiegel.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.It was all in the translation.
Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly.Yup.
Translation: This is your supreme leader. You withdraw those comments and find a way to make it look like a reporter's mistake or I'll cut off your money faster than a moron can choke on a pretzel.
The colonialism continues.
Thanks to co-blogger West End Bob for the heads up.