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June 18, 2008

Obama v. The Iraqi Foreign Minister

Uh oh. Senator “Diplomacy Is My Middle Name” can’t seem to get through one phone conversation with a foreign dignitary without either misunderstanding what the guy said or lying about it to the press.

According to Obama the conversation went something like this.

At a press availability in Michigan, I asked Obama if Zebari had expressed any concern to him that his plans to withdrawal U.S. troops as president would undo any security advances.

"No, he did not express that," Obama said. "He did emphasize his belief that we've made real progress and I think was eager to see political accommodations between the factions follow up in the wake of this progress.

…And so my sense is that we should be able to execute a withdrawal and set a timeframe - a timetable that continues to allow US forces to support Iraqi forces in going after terrorists, that continues to train the Iraqi police and military as long as we're not training militias that are turning on each other.

Yeah, except Zebari’s version of the story is a little different.

Mr. Zebari said he told Mr. Obama that "Iraq is not an island." In other words, an American withdrawal that destabilized the country would also roil the region around it and embolden U.S. adversaries such as al-Qaeda and Iran. "We have a deadly enemy," Mr. Zebari said. "When he sees that you commit yourself to a certain timetable, he will use this to increase pressure and attacks, to make it look as though he is forcing you out. We have many actors who would love to take advantage of that opportunity." Mr. Zebari says he believes U.S. forces can and should be drawn down. His point is that reductions should be made gradually, as the Iraqi army becomes stronger.

The foreign minister said "my message" to Mr. Obama "was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress." He said he was reassured by the candidate's response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain.

Seems what we have here is a failure to communicate. And this is with an ally, a guy who has been foreign minister since the first provincial government was established in 2003. In other words, a pro who has worked and survived in a very dangerous environment and who has a boat load more experience than Obama.

And still Obama manages to muff it.

Yeah, let’s turn this idiot loose in a dangerous world.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:10 PM

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