Democrats, trying to chip away at John McCain's foreign policy credentials, happily accused him today of conveniently forgetting the war in Afghanistan.
In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee was asked about Democrat Barack Obama's argument that the money spent on sending 30,000 additional US troops to Iraq last year might have been better spent in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is strengthened and where al Qaeda is reconstituting.
"The fact is we had four years of failed policy. We were losing. We were losing the war in Iraq. The consequences of failure and defeat of the United States of America in the first major conflict since 9/11 would have had devastating impacts throughout the region and the world," McCain replied.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., US forces attacked the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in October 2001 -- well before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
“It is disappointing that John McCain doesn’t recognize that the war in Afghanistan was not only the first major conflict after 9/11, and is in fact a major front in the fight against terrorism. No wonder John McCain doesn’t understand why the American people are looking for new leadership that will bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end so we can direct the resources we need to getting the job done in Afghanistan," Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney said in a statement.
UPDATE: Alex Conant, a Republican National Committee spokesman, responded, "The DNC’s attack is pathetic considering Obama voted against funding for the troops and abdicated his responsibilities as chairman of the subcommittee overseeing the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Misguided attacks by the DNC are no substitute for Obama’s lack of credibility on Afghanistan.”
Now, both McCain and Obama want to send more troops to Afghanistan, while Obama wants to withdraw from Iraq.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.