Here's the video of Maliki's aid walking back the walkback on a timetable for withdrawal:



It seems to me that, one good reason for the Iraqi government to take a welcoming attitude toward something like Obama's plan is that this gives them some meaningful bargaining power. I think common sense dictates that Obama would be willing to change a 16 month timetable into an 18 month timetable if the Iraqi government can put forward some persuasive reasons why 18 is better than 16. But to get in that conversation, you need to be rowing in the same direction as the new president -- and the American people and the Iraqi people -- and looking to find some definitive light at the end of the tunnel.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.