The Washington Post editorial page is pretty routinely cringe inducing, but today’s editorial  is pretty amazing even by their contemporary standards.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has a history of tailoring his public statements for political purposes, made headlines by saying he would support a withdrawal of American forces by 2010. But an Iraqi government statement made clear that Mr. Maliki’s timetable would extend at least seven months beyond Mr. Obama’s. More significant, it would be “a timetable which Iraqis set” — not the Washington-imposed schedule that Mr. Obama has in mind. It would also be conditioned on the readiness of Iraqi forces, the same linkage that Gen. Petraeus seeks. As Mr. Obama put it, Mr. Maliki “wants some flexibility in terms of how that’s carried out.”

Putting aside the transparent effort to put a good spin on it, the problem remains that none of that is factually accurate. Maliki didn’t say “end of 2010,” an aide did. What Maliki said was ” 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.” So yes, he did explicitly endorse Obama’s plan. And the “walkback” didn’t actually repudiate anything, it simply implied a “misunderstanding,” which had been taken to mean mistranslation, but that has been pretty well shown to be unlikely. Damn liberal media.

In any event, this is pretty damn embarrassing for a major paper to be publishing, you would think. Although I suppose it’ll be interesting to watch in real time what the neoconservative imperialists finally settle on as a response. So far it’s “ignore them” vs. “fuck them and drop the facade.” I’m betting the latter wins out.