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Former Clinton Aide & Current NYT Editor Rejects McCain Column

…because it doesn’t “mirror” Obama’s. Media bias? What media bias? Here is the text of McCain’s column that was rejected, courtesy of The Drudge Report:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily 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. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator 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.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. 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.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would 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. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

This partisan hack of an editor is dreaming if he seriously thinks the Times has the influence and control it once held. Thanks to new outlets like Drudge and blogs, what used to be buried by a deliberate news blackout still gets out.

For more see Gateway Pundit & Hot Air.

– John (Average Gay Joe)

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32 Comments

  1. That “op-ed” sounds more like a campaign advertisement. Obama wrote a thoughtful piece without making it a screed against McCain. McCain should welcome the opportunity to get free space by writing something other than an attack ad–e.g. use some thought if that is possible.

    Comment by Bill — July 21, 2008 @ 2:03 pm - July 21, 2008

  2. I call bullshit, Bill. You mean this piece?

    The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown…

    Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government. But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States…

    Comment by John — July 21, 2008 @ 2:08 pm - July 21, 2008

  3. #1: Bill, you are so right! This was a shameless attempt by McCain to use the Times as a campaign tool. This foiled attempt to manipulate the Media’s unimpeachable reputation for objectivity and impartiality is SHOCKING. I hope Obama plans to address this outrage in the interviews he will be conducting from the Middle East with Katie Couric, anchor at CBS, Charlie Gibson, anchor at ABC, and Brian Williams, anchor at NBC. Thank goodness the top anchors from all three broadcast networks are in Obama’s entourage! Now we can rest assured that there will be a sufficient opportunity for Obama to condemn McCain’s mortifying and pedestrian attempt to use the Times to endorse his campaign propaganda.

    Comment by Sean A — July 21, 2008 @ 3:19 pm - July 21, 2008

  4. An interesting point you make, John, about the New York Times’ declining influence. Did you see the reports last week about the number of cuts in personnel a number of the leftwing daily newspapers are having to make as circulation and advertising drop?

    Comment by Trace Phelps — July 21, 2008 @ 3:58 pm - July 21, 2008

  5. I hope McCain realizes that the MSM is not his friend anymore, and that all the free love he got from them when he was part of the Gang of 14 mavericks in early 2006 has now been yanked away.

    The MSM is so in the tank for nObama that it will actually end up driving away voters. Mark my words.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 21, 2008 @ 5:58 pm - July 21, 2008

  6. The New York Times’ stock has declined 394% in the past 5 years, so there.

    Comment by Mitchell Blatt — July 21, 2008 @ 6:11 pm - July 21, 2008

  7. Now John,

    Bill has a point. If McCain would write a fawning Obama piece, then he’d get it published.

    Comment by The Livewire — July 21, 2008 @ 8:48 pm - July 21, 2008

  8. They’ll publish a Hamas op-ed and opine about “the danger of one-sided debate” and then pull something like this? Four years ago they posted a piece by an astrologer! But a piece by a presidential candidate after they published one by his opponent is too much for the Duranty Times?

    The grey lady is no lady. She’s a prostitute, and the Democrats are her pimps.

    Comment by Attmay — July 21, 2008 @ 10:22 pm - July 21, 2008

  9. You neglect to point out that McCain has had no less than *7* op-ed pieces published in the New York Times. If the times wanted to be “fair and balanced”, shouldn’t they first let Obabma publish 6 more first? In addition, the response McCain received was very specific that he is essentially saying nothing new and he should respond directly to points brought up by Obama, rather than just repeating what he’s already said.

    He also repeats his rhetoric of winning. What exactly is the definition of winning? We were told by commanders in Vietnam about he importance of winning there (under both Democrat and Republican administrations) and looked what happened in the end. If winning is so important in Iraq, then someone better tell us wha that means.

    Comment by Kevin — July 21, 2008 @ 10:37 pm - July 21, 2008

  10. No matter what McBush says, we have already heard it.

    Comment by Pinky Bear — July 22, 2008 @ 12:50 am - July 22, 2008

  11. It is censorship, pure and simple. Whether one is for Sen. “F— You” McCain or not, and I am one coming on dragging and screaming, he has the right as a major political party presidential nominee to respond to the great Anointed One. Every blogger that believes in fairness and open debate should put what Sen. “F— You” McCain wrote on their blogs. It is showing the depths that the DDBMSM will go to elect Sen. Messiah Barack. Disgusting!

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — July 22, 2008 @ 1:01 am - July 22, 2008

  12. Bottom line, the OPINION editor said “let me tell you how to write your piece”. That’s absurd.

    No matter what McBush says, we have already heard it.

    And what has the holy Obamessiah offered that we haven’t heard for the past 40+ years?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 22, 2008 @ 4:15 am - July 22, 2008

  13. Hope. Change. End to this war.

    Comment by Pinky Bear — July 22, 2008 @ 9:03 am - July 22, 2008

  14. It’s amazing how Obama’s piece just repeats liberal tropes that have been refuted 10,000,000 times. I guess it’s the liberal’s famous Big Lie technique at work again. This one is among the most insane:

    Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown…

    Sorry, Obambi, but al Qaeda has just been driven from Iraq with its tail between its legs, such a huge blow to it that even conservative Muslim scholars are now publishing screeds to kick al Qaeda while it’s down. That’s why a few of its survivors are *returning* to the Afghanistan area (actually to Pakistan, a sovereign nation that you have suggested we invade). Or don’t you know anything that’s going on in the Muslim world?

    Oh, also, love your attempt to make it sound like we are in Iraq against “the will of Iraq’s sovereign government” – when, in fact, we are there at the *request* of Iraq’s sovereign government, whose words / intent *you* recently *lied* about (that liberal Big Lie technique again).

    As for McCain’s column: Brilliant. He gets it. Certain points cannot be repeated enough:

    In 2007 [Obama] he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been…

    No one favors a permanent U.S. presence…

    Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.”…

    …[Obama] is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely… he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2008 @ 9:26 am - July 22, 2008

  15. It’s amazing how Obama’s piece just repeats liberal tropes that have been refuted 10,000,000 times. I guess it’s the liberal’s famous Big Lie technique at work again. This one is among the most insane:

    Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown…

    Sorry, Obambi, but al Qaeda has just been driven from Iraq with its tail between its legs, such a huge blow to it that even conservative Muslim scholars are now publishing screeds to kick al Qaeda while it’s down. That’s why a few of its survivors are *returning* to the Afghanistan area (actually to Pakistan, a sovereign nation that you have suggested we invade). Or don’t you know anything that’s going on in the Muslim world?

    Oh, also, love your attempt to make it sound like we are in Iraq against “the will of Iraq’s sovereign government” – when, in fact, we are there at the *request* of Iraq’s sovereign government, whose words / intent *you* recently *lied* about (that liberal Big Lie technique again).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2008 @ 9:30 am - July 22, 2008

  16. As for McCain’s column: Brilliant. He gets it. Certain points cannot be repeated enough:

    In 2007 [Obama] he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been…

    No one favors a permanent U.S. presence…

    Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.”…

    …[Obama] is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely… he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2008 @ 9:31 am - July 22, 2008

  17. No matter what McBush says, we have already heard it.

    If you want to assail Obama for voting for both of Bush’s energy policies while in office, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included $2.8 billion in tax cuts to big oil, you should probably call him Obusha or something, not McBush, because then you might get him mistaken for McCain who didn’t vote for any of Bush’s energy policies during those years that Obama was in office.

    Comment by Mitchell Blatt — July 22, 2008 @ 10:53 am - July 22, 2008

  18. Question: Has the New York Times ever rejected an editorial from the Obama campaign?

    Comment by V the K — July 22, 2008 @ 10:59 am - July 22, 2008

  19. According to Pinky Bearster, the Obamessiah offers the following platform to the USA:

    “Hope. Change. End to this war.”

    All nice ideas, but how do you implement them? Especially if you have had ZERO executive office experience (mayor/governor) and only 143 days of national legislative experience (Senate). How do you do it? Who do you appoint? What happens if under your watch, the US Embassy gets taken over by Islamofascists? (Hello, Jimmy Carter.)

    Funny how both Adolf Hitler and Hugo Chavez both ran on a platform of HOPE and CHANGE. Funny how people like Stalin and Pol Pot relied on useful idiots to mandate CHANGE while expounding HOPE. Is it any wonder that Obamaniacs are so full of pride for their candidate but cannot name ONE major policy accomplishment in his Senate tenure?

    Michael Savage was right. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 22, 2008 @ 11:06 am - July 22, 2008

  20. Obama could say he is Chinese and there will be media who will not question it. His position (s) on Iraq have changed almost daily and no matter how he flip and flops on the subject, the media will simply ignore anything of substance. They will continue to sit in awe of this emperor with no clothes until maybe some reporter with enough common sense and guts comes along and says…”hey, the Obamessiah is naked.”

    Comment by benj — July 22, 2008 @ 11:25 am - July 22, 2008

  21. John, Like you I also posted the entire text of McCain’s piece on my website The Future For Iraq by Senator John McCain and I hope many others will follow suit.

    While my site and my political leanings are far left of The Gay Patriot site, what the Times did here is simply beyond the pale. There is no excuse for this partisan hackery. Or arrogance.

    To all those Obama supporters who are straining their credibility to defend the Times, simply consider if the candidates names were reversed. How would you feel if the Times (of all places) chose to reject a reply by Senator Obama to an outrageously partisan op-ed printed a mere week earlier by Senator McCain? All hell would break loose.

    And, if the roles were reversed, I’d be on your side (which happens to be my side, anyway).

    Comment by The Wizard, fkap — July 22, 2008 @ 3:37 pm - July 22, 2008

  22. #20 – It is so refreshing to see someone from the opposite side of the aisle typify the type of courtesy and fairness that we have long tried to ask the MSM to provide.

    Needless to say, if any Republican tries to engage in so-called “bipartisanship” in Washington, they get their hands smacked. Seems as though “bipartisan” means “caving in to the Dems on their demands.”

    Except for Lieberman, I can’t name another politician with a (D) after their name who tried to engage in true bipartisanship.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 22, 2008 @ 4:34 pm - July 22, 2008

  23. #20 – Note to Pink, kevin and all other lower-casers: this is the way to invite mature political discourse on this board. Try to imitate the Wizard next time, OK? He seems to be a class act.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 22, 2008 @ 4:39 pm - July 22, 2008

  24. Hope. Change. End to this war.

    We can’t use Chope to fuel our cars or our industry. Chope won’t strengthen the economy. Chope won’t protect us from our enemies. Chope doesn’t improve the greatness and exceptionalism of this country. Chope doesn’t end the “war on poverty” which has kept millions in grinding poverty and dependent on Uncle Sugar. Chope doesn’t improve education nor does it give parents the right to choose which schools to send their kids.

    You can sit around hoping all you want, but nothing gets accomplished hoping for anything.

    And you know d**n good and well that the Obamessiah won’t take the responsiblity for losing in Iraq. He may talk purtty and use his tongue “better than a $20 whore”, but you have to know he’s not that stupid. What’s more, the majority of Americans DO NOT want to surrender.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 22, 2008 @ 9:22 pm - July 22, 2008

  25. Everytime you hear Obama talk about “Hope” and “Change.” Substitute “Rainbows” for Hope and “Unicorns” for “Change.” (“Unicorns we can believe in”)

    That way, Obama’s substance will match his vocabulary.

    Comment by V the K — July 22, 2008 @ 10:31 pm - July 22, 2008

  26. I do love several of the McCain ads that Ive seen that end, “dont hope for _____, vote for it, vote McCain”

    Comment by American Elephant — July 23, 2008 @ 3:41 am - July 23, 2008

  27. Exactly how bad does a reporter have to be to be fired from the New York Times?

    Comment by V the K — July 23, 2008 @ 11:33 am - July 23, 2008

  28. That depends entirely on their political affiliation and minority status.

    Actually, the behavior of the NYT is no surprise; remember, they had their very own Obama just a few years ago.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 23, 2008 @ 2:49 pm - July 23, 2008

  29. #26 – Their own Obama? Is that anything like “My Own Private Idaho?”

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 23, 2008 @ 3:36 pm - July 23, 2008

  30. #27: Well, they both involve whores.

    Comment by Sean A — July 23, 2008 @ 9:04 pm - July 23, 2008

  31. #28 – Sean, I lift my cup to you with that excellent rejoinder. BOOSH!

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 24, 2008 @ 1:42 pm - July 24, 2008

  32. [...] I was surprised to learn that he had personally rejected (or at least written the e-mail rejecting) presumptive Republican nominee John McCain’s column for the New York [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » The David Shipley I Knew — July 25, 2008 @ 7:52 pm - July 25, 2008

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