BERLIN (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.
In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.
"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."
It is the first time he has backed the withdrawal timetable put forward by Obama, who is visiting Afghanistan and us set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.
Over at Talking Points Memo, the word is: pretty much.
Four hours ago, John McCain was man with a shot at the presidency. Not a great shot, mind you, but more then a puncher's chance. Now . . . he's a man without an issue.
Granted, that 'chance' was almost entirely predicated on being 'right' about the surge in Iraq and his ability to portray Barack Obama as a dangerous foreign policy novice whose election would lead to defeat in Iraq; a reversal of fortune since now we're 'winning'.
That chance is gone.
Prime Minister Maliki's statement, leaked by the White House on accident [thanks guys!] closes the door on the argument that a time-line would be 'reckless' and lead to 'surrender'.
Maliki endorses the plan of Barack Obama, the Bush Administration is negotiating with Iran & McCain is calling for more troops in Afghanistan. Seems as if everyone is adopting the foreign policy goals of the 'reckless' 'novice', Barack Obama.
What's left for John McCain to run on now--the economy? Good luck with that.
I'm not quite ready to say that McCain is screwed just yet. If by late-Sept.-early-Oct. Obama has solid leads in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, and the other battleground states, then it would be time to bury him - along with the neocons and the GOP - ten feet under.