FARGO, N.D. — Barack Obama struggled Thursday to explain his plan to end the war in Iraq, calling a rare do-over news conference to insist that he was not softening his campaign pledge to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of becoming president.
"That position has not changed. I have not equivocated on that position. I have not searched for maneuvering room with respect to that position," he said.
With May 20th having passed it is obvious that this pledge was not fulfilled.
Well, things have changed I guess. Not the will of the Iraqi people. That's stayed the same. They want us out. But that's irrelevant. What's changed is we have not yet successfully installed a stable client regime. A successful regime is a government that takes orders from Washington but retains an Arab facade.
Nothing like getting sold a bill of goods. Not that I had any delusions. I think Obama successfully created an impression that he was working to pull combat troops, but if you read between the lines you could see that this really wasn't true. He had every intention of maintaining the troop presence.
For some reason I'm reminded of the Simpsons "Stampy the Elephant" episode, which is maybe marginally applicable. Bart gets an elephant and Homer charges a few bucks to ride him or see him. When he gets Stampy's daily food bill of $300 he realizes he needs to modify the fees. Now it's $100 to see Stampy, $500 to ride him. As he pounds the sign with the new fees into the ground everyone scatters. But he goes to collect anyway based on past usage.
Homer: Uh, Milhouse saw the elephant twice and rode him once, right?
Mrs. Van Houten: Yes, but we paid you $4.
Homer: Well, that was under our old price structure. Under our new price structure, your bill comes to a total of $700. Now, you've already paid me $4, so that's just $696 more that you owe me.
Mr. Van Houten: Get off our property.