The Washington Post, in an editorial today, takes Barack Obama to task on his Iraq troop withdrawal timeline. The editorial, headlined "The Iron Timetable," accuses Obama of stubborness on troop withdrawals that is "arbitrary," "irrational," and "ahistorical." Read it in full here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/15/AR2008071502531.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
On today's Obama national security conference call, The Bourbon Room asked Dr. Susan Rice, a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama, about the editorial. Here is her verbatim response.
“I found it striking for its myopia, and its singular focus on Iraq as seemingly the only significant national security challenge this nation faces. On other days of the week, the Washington Post is wont to talk about Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear terror and proliferation and all these other threats that, that are desperate for attention and that we ignore at our peril.
The logic of Barack Obama’s position on Iraq, as I've said repeatedly on this call, is that it's literally not possible to sustain indefinitely impermanent bases at high troop levels, as John McCain would argue we must, without substantially degrading, if not breaking, our military. And that is the first and foremost element of securing our nation's interests. Secondly, I would be stunned if the Washington Post would make the argument that we have no reason to be concerned at the growing threat from Al Qaeda the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That runs counter to what our intelligence community is telling us, what our joint chiefs of staff are telling us, what (Defense) Secretary (Robert) Gates is telling us, and what we see to be the case, by virtue of the tragic fact that we are sustaining more brazen and more frequent attacks on America and coalition forces and on Afghanistan citizens inside Afghanistan.
The Post would have you believe we have the luxury of worrying only about one challenge and whether it's going well or going poorly, the answer is the same, to stay indefinitely. The Post has long been a champion of the war in Iraq. And that's their perogative, but we have a fundamental difference on the threat environment we face globally and the responsibility of our commander in chief to deal with the various aspects of the threat, rather than focus primarily, if not soley, on one element.”
Take that, Washington Post.