Monday, July 21, 2008

Iraqi Leader Flip-Flops

George W.Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki may have more in common than we knew: They both have a chronic need for translation and clarification when it comes to statements between themselves, and others.

As Barack Obama finished his historic first visit to Afghanistan and touched down on the tarmac in Iraq, he did so amongst a flurry of confusion about a statement al-Malaki made which appeared to support Obama's plan calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq over a 16 month time-frame.

Malaki, bending to pressure from the White House, is now stepping back from his endorsement of Obama's plan, saying his statement was mis-translated, even though the direct translation from Arabic of his comments is clear:

“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.”
This bizarre claim is strikingly similar to the claim by the Pentagon that there was a transcription error of Malaki's "get out" comments a few weeks ago. The current statment and flip-flop of course follows W's call for withdrawal over a "general time horizon" just this past Saturday, and don't forget the embarrassing mistake made by a White House staffer who sent out an email tipping press off about Malaki's upcoming endorsement of the plan. The email was titled "Iraq PM backs Obama troop exit plan”. Not a good weekend for Bush; we bet he wishes he hadn't given up golf for the troops. As for McCain, we agree with the McCain aide who said he's "fucked."