Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. The German newspaper SPIEGEL interviewed Maliki, and asked him when U.S. troops should leave Iraq. His response: “as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned. U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months.”
How ironic that al-Maliki, has implicitly endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy on the basis of his agreement with him on this important issue. In so doing, he has effectively discredited John McCain who was, for all intents and purposes, the chief proponent of the so-called “Surge” which arguably secured the freedom of the Iraqi people. And al-Maliki’s apparent support for Obama virtually defines irony given the fact that Obama, by his own words, would never have authorized the use of force in Iraq in the first place. Is there any reason to think that Saddam Hussein would have simply relinquished his power had we not forced him out? Surely al-Maliki would not favor that. But that is precisely what the situation would look like today had Barack Obama had his way.
I have never been overly impressed with al-Maliki’s effectiveness as the leader of his country’s new democracy. Mostly his lack of a sense of urgency is what troubles me. But, I am equally unimpressed with his ability to think strategically, as represented by this gaffe, not to mention his apparent lack gratitude.