And this morning from the Germans via Reuters:
- 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.
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.
“Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”
“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.
Ah, Nuri, but is, yes it is — to Decider George and Dufus Dick Cheney.
And really, really bad for Jackboot John McCain.
Oil, how the livin’ hell will they get that oil?
And to seemingly make matters worse, Obama is now in Afghanistan for a tour and will move on to Iraq this weekend.
Timing is everything, as the jokesters say.
Yesterday, Decider George let his own shit hit the fan.
Instead of a “timetable” for getting US GIs out of Iraq, Decider George decided on another term: “time horizon,” which makes it easier for everyone in the White House to swallow:
- The decision, reached during a video-conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks the culmination of a gradual but significant shift for the president, who has adamantly fought — and even ridiculed — efforts by congressional Democrats to impose what he described as artificial timetables for withdrawing U.S. forces.
In a statement issued yesterday, after the conversation between Bush and Maliki, the White House went further than it has in previous official statements to indicate that it shares that expectation.
“In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals,” the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and “the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.”
The point being the Iraqis want the US to get out as soon as possible.
From the Washington Post article:
- But Sadiq Rikabi, a senior political adviser to Maliki, said in an interview that negotiators were still hashing out the details of troop cuts. The Iraqi government, he said, wants specific time-lines governing different stages of what will eventually become a full U.S. withdrawal of combat forces.
“There are two principles that determine the military relationship: no permanent bases and no permanent existence,” Rikabi said. “In such a way, there should be a timetable for withdrawal.”
And from the New York Times:
- In Baghdad, a member of Mr. Malikiâ€™s Dawa Party, Ali al-Adeeb, said the withdrawal of American and other foreign forces was fundamental to an accord.
â€œThe Iraqi government considers the determination of a specific date for the withdrawal of foreign forces an important issue to deal with,â€ he said. â€œI donâ€™t know what the American side thinks, but we consider it the core of the subject.â€
Representative Bill Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts who has held hearings on the legality of the agreement the administration is seeking, said that â€œa timetable with specific dates is critical,â€ calling the White Houseâ€™s time horizon â€œvery vague and nebulous.â€
He welcomed the pending agreement as â€œfar less grandiose than what was initially articulated,â€ but said he remained concerned about the legal authority allowing American military operations in Iraq once the United Nations mandate expired on Dec. 31 of this year.
Can the US get its shit out in a short space?
Last September, the Center for American Progress issued a report authored by Lawrence Korb and others detailing a 12-month time-frame for redeployment from Iraq. The report shows that â€œit is possible to conduct an orderly and relatively complete redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq in roughly a year…”
- During [a 10 to 12 month] time-frame, the military will not replace outgoing troops as they rotate home at the end of their tours and will draw down force and equipment levels gradually, at a pace similar to previous rotations conducted by our military over the past four years. According to a U.S. military official in Baghdad involved in planning, a withdrawal could take place safely in this time period.
The report states that the U.S. â€œclearly wants to remove all equipment of value or sensitive nature from Iraq as it withdraws, but it does not need to remove every nut and bolt belonging to the U.S. government.â€
- It is now a commonplace in Washington to point out that the Bush administration had no exit strategy from Iraq, but to this day few bother to say the obvious: It had no exit strategy because its top officials never planned on or expected to leave that country.