The Addison Independent, published in very liberal Vermont, surprisingly reports a message that implies support for troops staying in Iraq -- from a BBC bureau chief, Adi Raval who delivered it at a local speech. Neither Vermont nor the BBC are exactly known as supporters of Bush's foreign policy, so such statements are helpful to remind us that those like Senator Barak Obama who advocate immediate withdrawal from Iraq are indeed on the fringe of even the Democratic party.
The Addison Independent reported on Raval's talk:
Even in Baghdad, Adi Raval couldn't escape talk of the U.S. democratic primary. Back in August, when the BBC Baghdad bureau chief was working in Iraq, he found himself all too often answering Iraqis' questions about the nominees' campaign rhetoric about pulling out the troops.
"These people watch television, they read newspapers, American blogs," Raval said in a talk at Middlebury College on Thursday. "They're probably, in a lot of ways, more tuned in to what's going on with American politics than most of us are. Because in a lot of ways, the election here matters more to them than it does to ordinary Americans."
What the Iraqis told Raval they want from the Americans more than anything else is a clearer sense of U.S. resolve. "They want to know how patient we are in reference to continuing this war in Iraq," he said.
And they want Americans not to forget Iraq when they cast their votes in the presidential election this November.
"They didn't have a chance to witness first-hand the beginning of their new future back in 2004, they didn't have a chance to confront or even see the Abu Ghraib soldiers, and I think they will have little or no say in a lot of ways with how their future revolves," Raval said. "That is for American democracy, not for Iraqi democracy to decide."
That a BBC producer, from a news organization well known to have fought coalition efforts in Iraq tooth and nail, to come out and tell us the Iraqis are clearly wanting us to stay, is notable. What is not surprising is that such news is not reported in the major liberal media but in small market outlets.