The whole story

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 16, 2007

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki made headlines Saturday when he said that the U.S. could pull-out of Iraq whenever and the Iraqis can handle the security situation. From The New York Times:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki declared Saturday that Iraqi forces could secure the country on their own “any time” American troops decided to withdraw, his first response to the White House report this week that found his government falling well short of many political reforms and military goals sought by Congress.

Mr. Maliki has been under attack by American officials and many Iraqi politicians for leading a government mired in disputes and unable to make progress on major legislation seen as crucial to stabilizing the country. Support is growing in Congress for an American troop pullout that would leave Iraqi forces that are already plagued with sectarianism, absenteeism and other problems to battle the Sunni Arab insurgents and Shiite militias that dominate parts of the country.

The White House report found that Iraq failed to make satisfactory progress meeting 8 out of 18 major milestones, such as passing an oil revenue-sharing law and ending favoritism in the security forces. Such favoritism toward Shiites, the report found, even included evidence of Maliki advisers in the Office of the Commander in Chief distributing “target lists,” primarily of Sunnis who were to be arrested, directly to lower-level commanders.

“We say with confidence that we are capable, God willing, of taking full responsibility for the security file if the international forces withdraw in any time they wish,” Mr. Maliki said.

When I read this, I thought al-Maliki had to be: A) off his rocker or B) trying to assuage the Iraqi people that all hell wouldn't break loose if Democrats succeeded in forcing an American retreat.

It appears as though the truth was option B -- as you could've told if you hadn't been counting on the New York Times report. The Los Angeles Times, on the other hand, offers important details and context that America's "newspaper of record" couldn't be bothered to record.

Maliki, a Shiite, put on a brave face in the wake of the rising demand in the U.S. among Democratic and Republican legislators for withdrawal from Iraq.

He pleaded for time, pledging to achieve the passage of legislation that Washington has demanded as a condition of its continuing support, including an oil revenue sharing law, a revised constitution and the easing of government work restrictions for former supporters of President Saddam Hussein, who was captured, tried and executed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Maliki also said that Iraqi security forces could use more training from U.S.-led forces and needed more weaponry.

That paints an entirely different picture and begs the question: Was the New York Times' reporting malicious or incompetent?

0 comments on “The whole story”

  1. "Was the New York Times’ reporting malicious or incompetent?"

    As big Z always says to "or" questions, "Yes."

    But I'll take both.


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