A WaPo editorial today characterizes Barack Obama's Iraq policy as "eccentric" -- not sure I've ever seen that word employed in political discourse before, so points for that -- but bases that judgment on two unusual criteria. One, that General Petraeus opposes a timetable; however, it's up to the Commander-in-Chief to set strategic goals. Two, and much less credibly, that "neither [do] Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy."
Huh? Despite the Bush Administration's attempts to walk back Prime Minister Maliki's statement on withdrawal (the clarifying statement the Post refers to came from U.S. Central Command), it's clear that Maliki is sticking by his position. Reporters have listened to the tape of the interview to confirm the translation, and Maliki's office received a transcript to approve before the article went to press. It's clear that the Iraqi government supports Obama's strategic withdrawal along a very similar timeline. One wonders what word the Post will use to categorize McCain's policy when someone asks him whether he'll stick by his pledge to leave when Iraqi leaders request it. Peculiar?
-- Tim Fernholz
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