September 17, 2008

The Freshman's Arrogance

New York Post columnist Amir Taheri continues to hammer Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama today for secretly meddling in U.S. foreign policy in Iraq for his own naked political gain. Taheri first made these allegations on Monday, quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on the record as saying that when Obama visited Iraq in July, he tried to convince Iraqi government officials to not work with President Bush's Administration.

Obama told the Iraqis that President Bush's administration was in a "state of weakness and political confusion," and tried to convince the Iraqis to wait to negotiate on troop-level agreements until the next administration took office in 2009. At the time of his trip in July, Obama had a comfortable lead in the polls over John McCain and was assuming he would likely be President.

The American Spectator reports from sources inside the campaign that Obama's advisers were stumped for more than five hours trying to figure out a response to Taheri's article, because:

  • the account was true
  • there were at least three other witnesses to the conversation between Obama and Zebari
  • the campaign felt there were enough reporters in Iraq that "were aggressive enough" to debunk a denial, causing the campaign even more embarrassment.

Instead, Obama's campaign attempted to rebut Taheri's article with a snide accusation that Taheri was confusing the Status of Forces agreement with a Strategic Framework Agreement, with a statement that read:

"This article bears as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial. Barack Obama has consistently called for any Strategic Framework Agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Congress so that the American people have the same opportunity for review as the Iraqi Parliament," said Obama spokeswoman Wendy Morigi. "Unlike John McCain, he supports a clear timetable to redeploy our troops that has the support of the Iraqi government. Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades."

Tellingly, the Obama campaign never attempted to push the Post for a correction or retraction of Taheri's charges, and observers quickly noted the campaign's response seemed to confirm the story.

Taheri's response in today's New York Post gives the Obama campaign both barrels, first stating that if there was any confusion about the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA), the confusion came on the part of the Obama campaign, as the documents are closely intertwined. Tom Maguire notes the campaign's apparent confusion in Barack Versus Barack On Iraq, which shows Obama's own web site is consistent with Taheri's claims.

Ed Morrisey at Hot Air excoriates Obama for his "me first, country second" arrogance.

First, Senator Obama has no authority to negotiate on behalf of the executive branch, which has sole authority to conduct foreign policy. Second and most important, Obama attempted to interfere against the interests of the United States. He can ask all the questions he wants, but when Obama started pressing Iraqi officials to stop negotiations with the executive branch in other words, break one level of diplomatic contact and freeze a military alliance in time of war that crossed a line and clearly violated the Logan Act. It also makes clear that Obama would do anything to get elected, even harm diplomatic relations between the US and an ally.

And while many are focusing on Obama's interference in foreign policy, Taheri also noted in his Monday article that Obama tried to use his trip to pressure the military to support his political goals.

As he has made clear on numerous occasions, the first-term Senator has consistently pledged a date-based withdrawal built according to his own timetable, not a conditions-based withdrawal determined by upon security and political considerations and competencies on the ground.

Obama pressured U.S. commanders for a "realistic withdrawal date," a date that would have been used as a transparent sop to his radical left-wing political base, and an attempt to unethically put those U.S. military commanders in a position of potentially influencing the course of the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. Commanders declined to be baited.

Barack Obama attempted to compromise the pledge of military commanders to remain apolitical, while actively undermining the foreign policy of the current administration while our soldiers are still deployed.

Barack Obama clearly values what is best for Barack Obama, but does he value anything else?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 17, 2008 10:58 AM

He is in violation of the Logan Act and should be prosecuted forthwith...

Posted by: Carlos Echevarria at September 17, 2008 03:23 PM

And meanwhile the US oil deals go south because of pressure from Democrats, and China signs on instead - all to benefit The Party.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at September 17, 2008 06:50 PM

This vaguely reminds me of the Clinton impeachment period:

It is one thing to lie to the press and American people about having sex with an intern.

It is a fundamentally different thing to lie about it under oath in a sexually harassment lawsuit.

But, Clinton was just able to get away with it among the American people because enough voices in the media kept saying it was just about sex.

Obama will have a much easier time - really no difficulty at all - getting away with this, but he shouldn't be able to:

As a candidate, you can undermine the current administration's foreign policies all you want in the press and American public opinion.

It is a very different matter to seek to undermin those policies when talking to a foreign head of state or high level government figure....

Posted by: usinkorea at September 17, 2008 07:57 PM

Barry carries on the difficult work of treason pioneered so ably by John Kerry. It seemed that the Clintons selling out to Red Chinese interests was as low as one could go. The Dems are strung up between Obama and the Clintons? That is far worse than the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It's fire whichever way you turn. If you ever must predict the actions of a Democrat the treasonous position/action is the safe bet. Every time.

Posted by: megapotamus at September 18, 2008 12:51 PM