Maliki Hasn’t Spent Enough Time Seeing the Facts on the Ground

If you were trying to establish yourself as the candidate in the know on matters of foreign policy these days, having the Prime Minister of Iraq say, in no uncertain terms, that you’ve got the right plan is a pretty tough card to beat:

As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. 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.

Of course, the media decided months ago that John McCain was the foreign policy whiz, and media narratives are a tough cookie to crumble, so I’d say you’ve got a 50-50 chance that the media even remembers this happened by next Thursday. And with all those staffers out scouring magazine covers for stories, it may not even get noticed in the first place.

But on a more serious note, all I think you really need to understand how obvious this is to everyone but Bush-McCain, and the neocon cable is the McCain campaigns response:

“His domestic politics require him to be for us getting out,” said a senior McCain campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The military says ‘conditions based’ and Maliki said ‘conditions based’ yesterday in the joint statement with Bush. Regardless, voters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders.”

That might be one of the most intellectually empty statements in the history of Presidential politics. For starters, the “military vs. Maliki” statement isn’t an intellectual or policy argument at all, it’s electoral spin. Maybe American voters do care more about what the military says than Maliki, but as far as our overall Iraq policy goes, that really doesn’t mean anything, and considering that the Iraqi government, on paper, has soveriegn authority, the only way for that statement to make any sense is if you’re willing to make our presence a full blown occupation, in every sense of the word.

But even simpler than that, even if we accept McCain’s “politics” excuse, that would mean we then have to accept that our presence is so unpopular with the Iraqi people that any politician hoping to get elected in Iraq has to be against our presence. How exactly does McCain turn that into a positive “fact on the ground?”

I don’t think any 2 sentences could have better captured the current state of affairs; Iraq is either that untenable for Republicans right now, or John McCain is completely devoid of any cognitive reasoning abilities.