- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On July 14, the NYT published an op-ed by Barack Obama explaining his security plan for Iraq, in which he argued in favor of removing U.S. combat troops by the summer of 2010, while leaving a much smaller residual force in place. At the same time, Mr. Obama proposed sending at least two additional combat brigades to support the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Fair enough - that’s what an Op-Ed Page is for.

Unfortunately, the NYT failed to give the same courtesy to John McCain when his campaign staff attempted to submit an op-ed (which we reprint today on our op-ed page) in response to Mr. Obama’s submission. When Michael Goldfarb, a member of Mr. McCain’s staff, drafted an essay explaining the Arizona senator’s position on these issues, it was rejected by NYT op-ed page editor David Shipley. Mr. Shipley e-mailed Mr. Goldfarb that the Obama op-ed “worked for me” because “it offered new information” and because the senator “went into detail about his own plans.” Then, Mr. Shipley (a speechwriter in the Clinton White House) told Mr. Goldfarb that an acceptable op-ed from Mr. McCain “would have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory - with troop levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the senator’s Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan.” With that, Mr. Shipley announced that he would be out of the office this week, adding that if Mr. McCain should decide to revise his op-ed, he should be in touch with the deputy op-ed page editor.

The chain of events reflects poorly on the Gray Lady.

Mr. McCain is a sitting U.S. senator and a candidate for president of the United States. He is not an undergraduate at some military school who submitted a term paper on some narrowly defined subject area chosen by his professor. Mr. McCain should have been accorded the same respect as Mr. Obama - unless, of course, Mr. Obama tossed his own principles aside and wrote his op-ed to conform to NYT positions.

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