Another Snow Job

ANOTHER SNOW JOB….After a series of alleged attacks against Iraqi civilians by U.S. forces, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military. The New York Times quoted al-Maliki as saying habitual attacks had become a “daily phenomenon” by many troops in the American-led coalition who “do not respect the Iraqi people.”

“They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion,” al-Maliki said. “This is completely unacceptable.”

In light of the seriousness of the prime minister’s remarks, and the impact his concerns might have on the duration of American forces on the ground, al-Maliki’s comments had an immediate international impact. Is the Bush White House worried? Not at all — the Bush gang said the Iraqi prime minister was misquoted.

The White House on Friday sought to soften criticism by Iraq’s prime minister over allegations that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in the western town of Haditha last November.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had told U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad that he had been misquoted.

OK, sometimes reporters get things wrong, especially when there’s a possible language barrier. Tell us, Tony Snow, what did al-Maliki say?

“[T]hat is a little too complicated for me to try to read out,” Snow explained, adding, “[I]t really does get pretty convoluted. I don’t want to get myself too much into it.”

Yeah, that ought to clear things up nicely.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.