I wrote this yesterday, but deleted it by accident. I still love this:
(Via e-mail, a prominent Republican strategist who occasionally provides advice to the McCain campaign said, simply, "We're f*&ked."
I figured BushCo would go after Maliki after he basically signed on to Obama's Iraq position.
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”[..] And “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.
Marc Ambinder writes
This could be one of those unexpected events that forever changes the way the world perceives an issue. Iraq's Prime Minister agrees with Obama, and there's no wiggle room or fudge factor. This puts John McCain in an extremely precarious spot: what's left to argue? to argue against Maliki would be to predicate that Iraqi sovereignty at this point means nothing. Obviously, our national interests aren't equivalent to Iraq's, but... Malik isn't listening to the generals on the ground...but the "hasn't been to Iraq" line doesn't work here.
Soon after, Maliki tried to clarify---errr---or verify his remarks. I bet the video conference machine was pretty busy over the weekend. So we get the Maliki Walkback, sort of...But Spiegel stands by its comments...
Obama is pleased, but McCain certainly is not. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki expressed support for Obama's troop withdrawal plans. Despite a half-hearted retraction, the comments have stirred up the US presidential campaign. SPIEGEL stands by its version of the conversation.
And they are still similar positions with Obama:
Iraq's government spokesman is hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010. Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day.
But how were they translated? McCain can say he's winning and we won and all that...Then why aren't we leaving? Well they say "Iraq is fragile." Huh? So McCain says we won, but we can't leave because it's fragile. Will it be fragile for 100 years?