Based upon a couple emails, it seems some people are not getting Yglesias' post taking issue with attempts by others to take back Maliki's endorsement of Obama's 16 month timetable.
so let me attempt to clarify. The point is that those who claim to be speaking on Maliki's behalf claiming he was misunderstood or mistranslated are not claiming he does not support a 16 month timetable.
In otherwords, we've only seen nonretraction retractions. As Matt noted at the link above, Maliki stood before everyone and said "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." At the time, Maliki made it clear he was not endorsing a presidential candidate and so called retractions saying he wasn't doing what he said he wasn't doing does not mean 16 months is not "the right timeframe for a withdrawal".
The statement will be retracted when Maliki says something to the effect that any timeframe is a bad idea, I do not support a time table, events on the ground blah, blah, blah.
But we know Maliki will not say this because he has repeatedly insisted on a timeframe for withdrawal for weeks to anyone and everyone who will listen.