I've got a TAP Online piece about Maliki's bombshell and the election:
"Mr. Obama can't afford to update his Iraq policy," sniffed a July 7 Washington Post editorial that simultaneously accused Obama of changing his position on Iraq and of not changing his position on Iraq enough. By July 15 it was clear that Obama was sticking to his guns, and the Post was mad, sneering that Obama "appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq." Similar sentiments have been echoed on television and, of course, by the McCain campaign which deemed it "remarkable" that Obama "articulated and announced his policies and approach to Iraq before he went, not after."
But a funny thing happened while Obama's plane was en route to its first stop in Afghanistan -- Der Spiegel published an interview with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in which the Iraqi leader took a rather different view. "U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months," he observed, "that, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."
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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.