Obama's Fact-Fudging Mission in Iraq

Obama arrived in Iraq on Monday for what is described as a fact-finding mission. However, it's hard to believe Obama is actually searching for facts in Iraq, nor will the facts he finds change his position. The position he chose for himself, as well as all the comments he has made so far about Iraq, reflect a disregard for facts, and there is no reason to expect a change now.

This visit, for Obama, is just a necessary evil -- part of an electoral campaign and not a sincere fact-finding mission. The fact that Obama made Afghanistan his first stop (after arriving in Kuwait, just next door to Iraq) suggests that it’s his electoral campaign that sets his priorities when it comes to the war on terrorism, not the actual map and course of the war.

Obama is lucky in that his host, Prime Ministe Maliki, is also going through an election season. He’s even luckier that Maliki has been convinced by the close circle around him that Obama is going to win the American presidential race. The state-owned Al-Sabah quoted a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, as saying: “The change in the prime minister’s position has to do with his own perception of the political developments in the United States…Maliki thinks that Obama is most likely to win in the presidential election and that he will withdraw his country’s troops from Iraq as he pledged in his campaign.” The official added that Maliki sees that “he’s got to take preemptive steps before Obama gets to the White House.”

This is why both men have appeared to be in perfect harmony recently; one lending generous support to the other. But this is not solid harmony because both men are acting like this due to mere speculations and/or flawed advice from their aides during critical moments in election seasons. Maliki, for example, knows very well that had Obama’s vision for Iraq been adopted two years ago, he wouldn’t be enjoying the position and power he does today, and the progress in Iraq wouldn’t have been achieved.

The call for disengagement in the way Obama proposes (and Maliki cautiously endorses) is based on a vision that goes no further than the upcoming elections in both countries and thus an indicator of dangerous selfishness. The two men are gambling with victory against true enemies of their nations in the hope of achieving victory against personal electoral foes. The obvious confusion in Maliki’s recent statements forced government spokesmen and top officials to appear several times to correct or retract what he said. This indicates that much of what Maliki is saying these days is for personal/partisan electoral purposes and does not represent the strategy of the state of Iraq.