During a press conference yesterday after President Bush’s briefing on Iraq progress, ABC’s Jake Tapper pressed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to speculate on post-withdrawal from Iraq.
Even though Reid responded and explained that the U.S. should withdraw because Iraqis feel more insecure right now, Tapper refused to back down. Later that night, he produced a segment for ABC’s World News Tonight attacking Reid. Watch it:
Tapper then wrote a piece for ABC News entitled “Benchmarks and Bickering: Where Are Dems on Iraqi Security?,” stuffed with right-wing rhetoric. He alleged that Reid “refused to discuss whether the United States had a moral obligation to secure the country for Iraqis or even answer questions as to whether withdrawing troops would make the country safer for the tens of millions of Iraqis.”
In fact, as the ABC segment showed, Reid did answer the question, telling Tapper: “It is clear that the Iraqi people don’t want us there. It is clear that there is now a state of chaos in Iraq, and it is up to the Iraqi people to make themselves safe.”
Nevertheless, the Washington Times picked up on the exchange today and reinforced Tapper’s attacks in an editorial titled “They Still Have No Plan“:
Mr. Reid’s response to this very reasonable question was to dodge here, dodge there. … What they [war critics] lack is any compelling rationale for the precipice over which they seek to push Iraq. Congress, do not turn a bloody and difficult stalemate in Iraq into an even bloodier, still more dangerous strategic catastrophe.
These talking points have been refuted time and again. Numerous military and diplomatic analysts argue that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq would in fact “prevent Iraq’s multiple sectarian conflicts from spreading beyond its borders and gives Iraq and its neighbors the right incentive to help resolve Iraq’s internal conflicts.”