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White House “Endorses” Obama Iraq Plan

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Barack Obama advocates engaging the Iranians diplomatically as a more useful strategy than saber-rattling and refusing to talk to them.  Obama is called an appeaser and (much) worse with great disdain by both the administration and the McCain camp for daring to even suggest it. This week, the US sent a diplomatic envoy to the Iran-Europe talks as “an observer” for the very first time.  Hmmm.  You say coincidence?

Barack Obama insists that our troops in Iraq may be better utilized in Afghanistan, where the gains we made in 2002 have very nearly been erased while thousands of our troops have died in a war we never should have started.  Americans are now beginning to die in greater numbers as Afghanistan falls apart, beating a hasty retreat to its pre-2002 political landscape.  The Taliban are growing ever more powerful; al Qaeda is steadily regrouping there.  Obama is labeled as inexperienced and naïve.  But this week, the Bush administration said much the same thing (except not the part about the wasted American deaths for an unnecessary war.) 

Barack Obama has suggested a 16-month timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.  Bush and McCain labeled timetables as irresponsible, and labeled Obama as inexperienced and naïve (and much worse).  This week, the Bush Administration announced agreement with the Iraqi government for setting a “withdrawal horizon.”  So, tell me.  Who’s leading this dance? 

So enamored is the Bush administration of Obama’s great leadership, vision and calm wisdom about the Middle East that, this morning, the White House Press office emailed  a story in which Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki calls Obama's 16-month strategy "the right time frame for a withdrawal" to its entire distribution list.  The Reuters news report details an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Full disclosure:  OK, so actually only part of this is true.  Yes, believe it or not, the White House did send an email to its press distribution list, but it wasn’t intentional!  Just when you thought the White House could not get more incompetent, it shoots itself in the foot.  “Iraq PM backs Obama troop exit plan,” read the title on an email sent out to thousands of subscribers to the clipping service, including major media outlets and anyone else who would listen. The White House often sends out emails to this distribution list, with titles like: “News You Can Use,” “In Case You Missed It,” and “Setting the Record Straight.”  Clearly, the intention is usually to bolster administration talking points, not promote endorsements (well, al-Maliki backed away from calling it an endorsement) given to the opposition. 

The White House SNAFU has been attributed to someone pushing the wrong button.  (Given the predilection of the White House rewarding stupidity and incompetence, he or she might be up for a big promotion.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next White House press secretary!) 

Of course the story has become rampantly virulent on the internet, spreading like a California wildfire.  And how could such a mistake happen?  Some have speculated that the email was intended for an internal group, sent to assemble talking points that might counter it. 

Instead, an article that might have received scant attention has gotten wide distribution in the mainstream media,  having been reported in the New York Times, on ABC News and other outlets, as well as in the Blogosphere.  Doubtless that, on the Sunday morning talk shows tomorrow, McCain and Bush spokespeople might be asked not only about al-Maliki’s statements, but about the SNAFU  and its potential impact on the two presidential candidates' campaigns, as well.  Stay tuned! 

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Barbara,

    Like most Americans (yeah, yeah, I know you are presently off-shore) you tend to look at the wrong issues and facts when it comes to this neck of the woods. Doing that has been fatal to over 4,000 of your soldiers so far, and it will get worse.

    Your presidential campaign and the incompetence of the sitting president with respect to it is irrelevant. Oh, it’s “fun” to write about (just like writing about Olmert stealing money here is “fun”) but it is irrelevant to the scheme of things.

    What is relevant? Let’s help you out a bit.

    From Debkafiles: Senior Israeli official: If nuclear talks fail, Bush will order Iran attack between November and January. And Top US military chief is convinced Iranians seek atom bomb. and New Hizballah tactic: Missile ambushes for Israel aircraft and ships

    From Manny Winston’s article, “LOSERS IN THE ASCENDANCY”

    Al-Maliki has performed more as an extension of Iran’s Shi’ite policy than that favorable to Iraq. With the U.S. military gone, with U.S. influence in the Middle East gone, Iran can eventually first bond with Iraq and then swallow it whole.
    As for Al-Maliki being Iran’s Shi’ite subversive, you can count on it. While he may delude himself into thinking he can keep Iraq independent, he can only be a puppet of the Ayatollahs or simply disposed of and replaced.

    Finally, there is this summary from Barry Chamish’s article on the “meteor” that suddenly appeared over Israel on 9 July – Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Meteor! It’s a U.F.O.!
    No, its Practice for Iranian Gas-Armed Missiles to Attack the State of Israel!!

    Root & Branch Information Service 20 July, 2008

    On the night of Wednesday, July 9, Israelis saw a flashing orange light in the sky. They were told it was a meteor, though a few experts warned them that it couldn’t have been.

    On the night of Wednesday, July 9, Iran launched 9 missiles, most capable of hitting Israel. On TV we saw that they were flashing orange in the nighttime sky.

    Officially, no one in Israel told the truth, that Iran had launched a warning missile over Israel.

    Chew it over, Barbara. The real world is a lot scarier than a few faux pas in the Bush administration. And a missile attack on Iran can have lots more serious consequences than a few votes lost here or there….

  • Conrad Dalton

    Relax Ruvy,

    Iran is a defensive mode. It hasn’t started a war in modern history. However, it can be expected to respond in kind if it is attacked.

  • Clavos

    “Iran is a defensive mode. It hasn’t started a war in modern history.”

    As they say in the market:

    “Past results are no guarantee of future performance.”

  • Conrad Dalton

    “Past results are no guarantee of future performance.”

    But there is no better measure.

  • Clavos

    “But there is no better measure.”

    Which doesn’t mean it’s a good measure.

    Certainly not one to bet your life on.

  • “Iran is a defensive mode. It hasn’t started a war in modern history.”

    Indeed as Clavos writes, not only is past performance no guarantee of future performance, when there is a change in the weather, it is the worst thing to look at.

    History is entering a different stage from what it has been in the past, folks. I would suggest reading the first article here for a dose of what I mean. It’s a long read, and those of you who are not Jews will be positively resentful when you are done.

    Nevertheless, history is still entering a new phase….

  • Conrad Dalton

    “History is entering a different stage from what it has been in the past.”

    Let’s be reminded of the recent past and Ahmad Chalabi.

    History told us of Chalabi’s past, yet he was able to convince the US to invade Iraq. History was ignored for the higher wisdom of the neocons.

    Ignoring the history of Chalabi has cost over 4,000 American lives plus hundreds of billion of US taxpayer dollars, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dead or displaced Iraqis.

    The US knew about Chalabi’s past: a bank embezzlement conviction in absentia in the Kingdom of Jordan years earlier. They knew that the Central Intelligence Agency considered him a phony and a liability and, after working with him for years, had cut all ties with him.

    Yeah, let’s just ignore history and do it again.

    Who is pulling the strings this time? Is this a neocon encore?