Did Obama just confirm Taheri? Update: Team McCain responds
posted at 9:02 am on September 16, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Glenn Reynolds takes a close look at Barack Obama’s response to Amir Taheri and doesn’t see any daylight between them. Yesterday, Taheri accused Obama of attempting to derail a status-of-forces agreement between the US and Iraq by telling the Iraqis to wait until after the American elections and stop negotiating with the Bush administration. Obama responded by essentially confirming Taheri’s account:
In the New York Post, conservative Iranian-born columnist Amir Taheri quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying the Democrat made the demand when he visited Baghdad in July, while publicly demanding an early withdrawal.
“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview, according to Taheri.
“However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open,” Zebari reportedly said. …
Obama’s national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri’s article bore “as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial.”
In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.
Which is exactly what Taheri wrote. Barack Obama went to Iraq and interfered with the diplomatic efforts of the elected United States government, in a war zone no less, by telling the Iraqis to stop negotiating with the President. How exactly does that make Taheri’s column untruthful?
It wasn’t enough for Obama to fail at forcing the nation into a defeat in Iraq when he opposed the surge. Now he has interfered with our efforts to stabilize Iraq and provide for its security after the surge succeeded in keeping Iraq from falling into a failed state. And when he got caught working for failure and defeat, he tried making it into a smear against John McCain.
That’s not leadership America needs from a Senator, let alone a President. The Senate should investigate this as a gross violation of the Constitution and the separation of powers between the branches of government.
Update: Team McCain’s response so far, given by Randy Scheuneman:
“At this point, it is not yet clear what official American negotiations Senator Obama tried to undermine with Iraqi leaders, but the possibility of such actions is unprecedented. It should be concerning to all that he reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power. If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas. Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq’s Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama’s judgment and it demands an explanation.” —Randy Scheunemann, Senior Adviser McCain-Palin 2008