It Ain’t a Timetable Until…

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There’s an old story about three umpires.
Umpire 1: “There’s balls and strikes, and I call them as I see them.”
Umpire 2: “There’s balls and strikes, and I call them as they are.”
Umpire 3: “There’s balls and strikes, but they ain’t nothing til I call ’em.”

There’s national sovereignty and there’s colonial tutelage, and they ain’t nothing until we call ’em too.

Whether we’re talking about staying in Iraq 100 years or 16 months from January, the legal authority for American troops even being in Iraq, provided by a United Nations mandate, expires at the end of this year. So who’s talking? How about this guy?

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki publicly confirmed Monday that his government was leaning toward concluding a short-term security pact with the United States instead of a broader agreement that would last for years.

After all, he only is the duly elected Prime Minister of the sovereign nation of Iraq, whom we all recognize as the legitimate governing authority, don’t we? Our own duly (?) elected head of state did say, last year:

We are [in Iraq] at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

So of course, when Maliki starts talking “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry,” we, uhhh…

Asked about Maliki’s comments, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters: “With respect to timetables I would say the same thing I would say as respects to the security situation — it is dependent on conditions on the ground.”

Whitman said the United States had made clear “that we have no long term desires to have forces permanently stationed in Iraq.”

“But timelines tend to be artificial in nature,” he said. “In a situation where things are as dynamic as they are in Iraq, I would just tell you, it’s usually best to look at these things based on conditions on the ground.”

Yep. Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appears to be just as legitimate a head of state to us as, say, Mossadeq. Arbenz. Allende.

Now, I celebrated Independence Day by having my inlaws over for baby back ribs. The Bushies apparently celebrate by telling other world leaders who’s boss. And we’ve got the history to prove it.

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