I'm really enjoying how McCain and Bush are squirming, now that the Iraqi prime minister has endorsed Obama's timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from his country.
They've been chanting the mantra "no timeline, no timeline" for so long, and bashing Dems at any mention of setting a date for withdrawal, it's become almost a sacred policy position.
Yet Bush also has said that the U.S. goal is to have Iraq stand on its own. So neither he nor McCain can publicly chastise Nuri al-Maliki for expressing ideas that mesh with Obama's.
But al-Maliki surely has gotten an earful privately from administration mouthpieces. That's why he tried, not very persuasively, to back away from his interview with a German publication, Spiegel.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports US presidential candidate Barack Obama's plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. When asked in an interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned." He then continued: "US 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."
Oops. Too honest. Bring out the tried and true excuse: I was misquoted.
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."
But what would you expect? The Bush administration lies about almost everything. So it figures that they'd try to cover up these truthful comments by the Iraqi prime minister, pressuring him to disavow what he said.
Thing is, the truth eventually wins out. As I'm confident it will this November.
Voters will reject McBush. We'll have a President Obama who will carry out what both Iraqis and Americans want: a well thought-out withdrawal of U.S. troops.