I’m talking about two politicians in particular. One, of course, is Barack Obama, who is in Iraq to lay the groundwork for throwing under the bus the people who thought he was going to bring the troops home no matter what.
The other is Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who caused me (yes, I take it personally) a few moments of dismay the other day when Der Spiegel reported that Maliki had endorsed Obama’s 16-month timetable for withdrawal. It was a relief in the next news cycle that The Prime Minister’s handlers began “clarifying” the way the PM’s remarks were being “interpreted.”
In an analysis piece, the AP’s Baghdad bureau chief opined (emphasis added):
A top al-Maliki adviser, Sadiq al-Rikabi, insisted the Iraqi government does not intend to be “part of the electoral campaign in the United States.” But that is precisely what the Iraqis intended to do: exploit Obama’s position on the war to force the Bush administration into accepting concessions considered unthinkable a few months ago.
To which Outside the Beltway blogger James Joyce replied:
Well, yeah. Which is precisely how governments everywhere act. Indeed, this would appear to be a sign that Maliki and company are more ready for prime time than it had appeared.
Maliki, for example, knows very well that had Obamaâ€™s vision for Iraq been adopted two years ago, he wouldnâ€™t be enjoying the position and power he does today, and the progress in Iraq wouldnâ€™t have been achieved. …
Terrorism cannot be defeated by killing Bin Laden or even killing every single existing member of Al-Qaeda, especially considering the decentralized structure of terrorist organizations. Terrorism can be defeated by offering a model for a bright future that gives people who have suffered for so long hope and saves them from despair.
Iraq is now closer than ever to becoming this model, and victory in this chapter of the war is within handâ€¦unless Obama succeeds in ending the war his way.
Or unless Obama, talented politician that he is, finds a face-saving way to put the best interests of America and Iraq ahead of the surrender-at-all-costs platform that won him the Democratic nomination.