As war supporters see it, U.S. troops need to stay in Iraq for the indefinite future in order to provide some semblance of security in the country.
Today, Nouri al Maliki effectively said our presence is no longer necessary
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave "any time they want," though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.
The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when congressional pressure is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political benchmarks it wants al-Maliki to carry out.
Al-Maliki said difficulty in enacting the measures was "natural" given Iraq's turmoil.
But one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like "an experiment in an American laboratory." He sharply criticized the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarrassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with "gangs of killers" in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters earlier this week that a U.S. withdrawal would make Iraq's chaos worse, but Maliki dismissed his concerns, saying, "We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want." In other words, "We can take it from here."
Kevin Drum noted
the other day, "Both the American public and the Iraqi public want us to leave Iraq. However, both the American government and the Iraqi government want us to stay. So we're staying. This is called 'democracy promotion.'"
In light of today's comments, however, it's even more tilted. Americans and Iraqis want to see a withdrawal, and
the Iraqi government is indifferent to our ongoing presence.
Any chance this might change a few Republican votes on the Hill?