McCain’s Op-Ed Vs. Obama’s
Tuesday’s New York Post has an op-ed by John McCain making conservatives all-aflutter because the New York Times wouldn’t publish it without revisions. McCainiacs are claiming this is proof of liberal media bias, in spite of the fact that even then-President Clinton had pieces rejected by the Times, says former staffer Jennifer Palmieri.
When I worked for President Clinton, “The New York Times” rejected many op- eds written by him as a sitting president of the United States. They don’t just give up space to a candidate because their opponent has space. You can’t just go — you can’t go to “The New York Times” editorial page and say I want to say what’s wrong with the other guy. They want to leverage their space, which is very valuable, to force you to say something you haven’t said before. And I think that they turned down McCain not because they like Obama but because McCain, all he was doing in his piece was criticizing Obama and they wanted him to put him on the spot to say more.
While Obama’s editorial gave specific actions he would take in Iraq, McCain’s piece largely bashed Obama without any plan of his own, save for “victory”. Besides, much of what McCain says is wrong, as Think Progress notes. Here is some of what McCain says, followed by my comments:
Progress has been due mainly to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Sen. Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent…Now Sen. Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.
Progress has been due mainly to getting the Sunni’s to participate with coalition forces, which has been a largely responsible for the reduction in violence, in addition to the stand-down of the Mahdi army. And Barack hasn’t said there isn’t “any” political progress.
…the US embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.”
And guess who is deciding that 15 benchmarks are “satisfactory”? The White House.
To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Maliki has endorsed his timetable – when the Iraqi prime minister has merely said that he’d like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of US troops at some unspecified future point.
Sen. Obama has said that he’d consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say.
Yes, he’d consult with commanders on the ground to determine the best way to leave Iraq in a safe fashion so that we “retain our gains” there.
I’m dismayed that he never talks about winning the war – only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will – and a triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us.
I’ve yet to hear what “win” means, according to McCain, and how it can be achieved. How do we know when we’ve won? What then would be McCain’s exit strategy? What are McCains benchmarks for “victory”?Click here for reuse options!
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