Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama/Zebari/Taheri scandal -- case closed?

Some on the left are noting that Hagel and others back up Obama. Therefore, they argue, Taheri’s story is false and McCain owes Obama an apology for believing it.

Well . . . if everyone is going to drop this business, I’m going to drop it as well, but there are problems with the above stance. The biggest is that for Obama and Hagel to be telling the truth, Zebari would have to be lying. A third possibility is being offered by Taheri-haters, namely that he made the whole thing up, but if so, why hasn’t Zebari come forward to deny what Taheri said he said?

Then there is the problem of the Obama June 16th speech. In it, Obama is saying some of the things Zabari (per Taheri) claims Obama said to him later. Remember that the critical bit is Obama asking that the Status of Forces Agreement not be approved until after the election. Obama in his June 16th voices the opinion that Congress get involved in the negotiations process which, since congress is notoriously slow, would have that effect. I list the site where you can hear Obama say this – also he admits to saying somethings that fit the definition of “negotiating” which would put him in violation of the Logan Act. Forget the later visit. He confesses in this speech: Later Obama’s Wendi Morigi will say that Zaberi and Taheri were mixed up and that Obama only asked for approval rights of the Strategic Framework, never the Status of Forces Agreement which he was leaving solely to the Bush Whitehouse. There is a big contradiction between what Obama said in that speech and what Morigi later said that he said in Iraq.

And where is Zaberi? Why hasn’t he said something? I mentioned in an earlier article that the reason he may very well keep quiet is that it would do his country no good to participate in the political hanging of Barack Obama. Obama might get elected anyway and then he, as well as his country, might have a powerful enemy. Notice that Obama’s “drawdown” recommendations involve kicking Iraq out of the nest and moving American forces to Afghanistan – even though Maliki and Zaberi don’t want the drawdown to happen too quickly. Obama has continued to argue for courses of action that Maliki and Zaberi have opposed. What good would it do Zaberi and Iraq’s cause if he admitted, “yes, Taheri accurately wrote what I said.” Of course if we can find the Zaberi interview Taheri refers to, it would be out of Zaberi’s hands – unless Zaberi could force the pan-Arab Asharq Alawsat to withhold it . . . (am I beginning to sound paranoid?)

So, once again, where is it Amir? Is Zaberi backing away from what he told you? And if he is, are you backing away from what you told us?

Lawrence Helm


Grace 77x7 said...

Some of us have been discussing this story & are wondering why this mscnbc article, OBAMA'S TALK WITH IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER, does not definitively prove that Obama did indeed suggest a delay to Zebari till the next administration? The quotes given here by Obama are clearly a sanitized version of what was given in the NYPost article. Have you any idea why this is not considered affirmative proof?

Lawrence Helm said...

Hi, Grace 77x7,

What you quote would definitively prove that Obama violated the Logan Act, but it refers to what he said over the phone before he went to Iraq a month later. It doesn't cover what Taheri said Zaberi said. Notice that in the portion you quote, Obama on June 16 still wanted to get the troops out as quickly as possible. He was still under the Democratic predisposition to think the war was lost. Between that time and his actual visit, Obama had changed his mind. The Surge had worked. He no longer thought the war was lost. His concern was different.

Many in congress, including Chuck Hagel, thought that Congress should be involved in negotiating the final "Iraq Strategic Framework and Status of Forces Agreement." The Bush administration said they would run the Status of Forces agreement past Congress, since they will need them to finance the troops staying in Iraq. But they will not ask for congressional approval of the Strategic Framework agreement.

Taheri said Zebari said that Obama tried to browbeat him into keeping any troops from going home until after the election. If any of them go home before, it will be clear that the Bush surge worked.

We don't have positive evidence that what Taheri said is true. He refers to an interview he had with Zaberi, but the reference he gives is in Arabic. Chuck Hagel supported Obama's contention that he said nothing wrong; so we don't have a "smoking gun" for Taheri's interpretation.

As to Obama's violation of the Logan Act, no one has been convicted under that act in 200 years. It isn't likely that Obama will even be charged with violating it.

I discussed some of these issues in earlier notes on

Lawrence Helm

Grace 77x7 said...

Thanks! I appreciate you clearing that up for us!