Matt's Dreamin' of a Wide Withdrawal; Iraq Elections Lead to Unfriendly Government?

While sugarplum fairies dance in other heads, Matt Lauer dreams of US withdrawal from Iraq and envisions democracy in Iraq as having negative consequences for the United States.

As reported here, Lauer set the stage earlier this week, couching Today's coverage of the then-impending Iraqi elections largely in terms of their potential for troop withdrawal.

Matt was back at it again this morning. At the top of the show, Lauer teased election coverage this way: "If the various factions there can work together it could make it easier for our administration to get US troops out."

Lauer interviewed Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Biden, both in Iraq as election observers.

An aside: although potential voter fraud was never raised, for some reason Today chose as its on-screen graphic for the Biden-Graham interview: "Are Iraqi Elections Fair?" An NBC left-over from Florida and Ohio?

Matt posed this 'hopeful' question to Graham:

"What happens if this new Iraqi parliament is formed, and they get together and say to the US, 'we want you to set a firm time-table for the withdrawal of your troops from our country.' How do we handle that?"

Graham: "I think we would honor the request of the Iraqi people."

But Graham didn't think Lauer's dream scenario was likely: " I don't think they're going to ask us to leave until they have a chance to build the infrastructure of a democracy. They've got a long way to go, but no one wants to stay uninvited."

Lauer then laid out this gloomy scenario for Biden's comment:

"What about the fact that a lot of observers say that this new parliament could be much more in the direction of a religious status, a government that is less friendly to the United States? Isn't it a possiblity that they ask us to get out?"

Biden thought is was a possiblity, perhaps a probability.

Lauer then tried to paint the bleakest face on democracy in Iraq and our justification for going in:

"Senator Graham, does this fall under the 'careful what you wish for' category? We wanted democracy in Iraq but if we get a democracy that's unfriendly to the United States, then how do we view these last three years of effort on our part?"

In sum, for Lauer:

  • Progress in Iraq isn't measured at all in terms of winning the war on terror.
  • It's really all about getting our troops out.
  • And even success could be failure, as democracy in Iraq could bring an "unfriendly" government.

A democratic, but 'unfriendly' government, Matt? You mean, in contrast to the 'friendly' one in the good old days under Saddam Hussein?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.