Hats off to the most-excellent news site, thinkprogress.org for noting yesterday of Decider George’s blatant use of the most-forked of tongues.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blurted out some heavy words to a meeting of Arab ambassadors in the United Arab Emirates Monday morning about how time is coming nigh for the US to gather up its shit and leave.
Nuri’s comments the first ever, at least in public anyway, about a withdrawal of US forces from his war-torn country.
- “Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty,” Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
“One of the two basic topics is either to have a memorandum of understanding for the departure of forces or a memorandum of understanding to set a timetable for the presence of the forces, so that we know (their presence) will end in a specific time.”
Maliki was responding to questions from the ambassadors about the security negotiations with the United States. The exchange was shown on Iraqiya state television.
Maliki said the Iraqi and U.S. positions had gotten closer, but added “we cannot talk about reaching an agreement yet”. He said foreign forces would need Iraqi permission for many of their activities once the U.N. mandate ended.
“This means the phenomena of unilateral detention will be over, as well as unilateral operations and immunity,” he said. Maliki did not clarify who the immunity referred to.
Although US officials poo-pooed the whole thing — the White House saying “these talks are not on a hard date for a withdrawal,” and over/or-down at the Pentagon, one military flak noted “timelines tend to be artificial in nature” — the chatter Tuesday from Maliki’s top security adviser, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, was even more on point.
From always the informative Robert Dryfuss blog at thenation:
- [UPDATE July 8: Rubaie was even stronger today: “There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control. … We would not accept any memorandum of understanding with (the US) side that has no obvious and specific dates for the foreign troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.”]
So there you have it and what’s going to happen now?
Iraq and the entire Middle East want the US gone.
The problem could be Decider George and the trainwreck of an administration.
And despite a new poll today from Opinion Research Corp. showing 68 percent of US respondents oppose the Iraq war, these negotiations between the US and the Iraqi national government are a linchpin in Decider George’s Oil for War.
So today another rejection of the withdrawal concept, this time from the US State Department:
- “The US government and the government of Iraq are in agreement that we, the US government, we want to withdraw, we will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based,” State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.
Which brings us back around to Decider George’s forked tongue.
In a May 2007 press conference, he said withdrawal is most likely not going to happen, mainly because the Iraqis will not ask for it:
- Q Thank you, Mr. President. You say you want nothing short of victory, that leaving Iraq would be catastrophic; you once again mentioned al Qaeda. Does that mean that you are willing to leave American troops there, no matter what the Iraqi government does? I know this is a question we’ve asked before, but you can begin it with a “yes” or “no.”
THE PRESIDENT: We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.
Q — catastrophic, as you’ve said over and over again?
THE PRESIDENT: I would hope that they would recognize that the results would be catastrophic.
This is a sovereign nation, Martha. We are there at their request. And hopefully the Iraqi government would be wise enough to recognize that without coalition troops, the U.S. troops, that they would endanger their very existence.
And it’s why we work very closely with them, to make sure that the realities are such that they wouldn’t make that request — but if they were to make the request, we wouldn’t be there.
He lied twice: Once by not answering the damn question with a “yes” or “no” response, then blubbering the US invaded their country, destroyed its infrastructure and killed a million of its citizens “at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” which didn’t even exist five years ago.
Interesting how Decider George handles this horrible, reversal “they wouldn’t make that request…”
Oh, but they have, they really, really have.