Well, one of out three isn't bad. Surely the Prime Minister wouldn't have agreed with Barack that it was a "mistake" to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein, or that the surge was the wrong strategy. The success of the surge, in fact, is what allows the Prime Minister to be claiming victory over Al Qaeda at this point, after all. But don't expect to see any of that pointed out by the press.
But the larger point is this. I respect PM Maliki for his courage in doing a difficult and dangerous job. But my chief concern when it comes to America's role in Iraq -- and determining what that should be -- isn't doing what the Prime Minister wants, whether it's for his own political reasons or (hopefully) for what he deems to be in the best interests of his own country.
My chief concern is America, and doing what's in America's best interests. Leaving Iraq quickly would be a wonderful thing. But most important is leaving Iraq in a way that allows us to meet our objectives -- first and foremost, making sure that the country is secure, able to defend itself, and resistant to Al Qaeda's threats or Iran's blandishments.
If we can achieve that in six months, then all the better -- bring the troops home. If it takes 24 months or even longer, then it strikes me as a foolish squandering of the sacrifices our troops have already made to pull out at 16 months . . . yes, even at the behest of PM Maliki.
Getting the timing right for America is the most important thing -- more important than getting it right either for Maliki or Obama. When I'm voting for a President, I want someone who's going to be looking after America's interests first, whether it jibes with the wishes of Maliki or not.