ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl pressed outgoing White House press secretary Jay Carney Thursday, asking him if the Obama administration can still boast ending the war in Iraq and decimating core Al Qaeda as two of their top foreign policy achievements.
“The president and senior officials in this White House have repeatedly, over the years and as recently as Tuesday, described as the president’s top foreign policy accomplishments ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al Qaeda,” Karl said. “Given what we’re seeing now in Iraq, can you still claim those as two of your signature achievements?”
The question came as the security situation in Iraq quickly deteriorates, with large swaths of the embattled country now controlled by a deadly Al Qaeda affiliated extremist group.
Carney responded, “There is no question that the president pledged to end the war in Iraq and he did,” later adding that “ultimately, Iraq’s future has to be decided through reconciliation of the political factions within Iraq and a unified approach to dealing with the challenge posed by a group like the ISIL.”
That answer didn’t appear to entirely quell Karl.
“And decimating and destroying core Al Qaeda when an Al Qaeda-linked group is now in charge, in control of major cities in the, in the heart of Iraq?” he asked.
“And decimating and destroying core Al Qaeda when an Al Qaeda-linked group is now in charge…?’
“Well, within the, within your question you have made the appropriate distinction, which is core (Al Qaeda) based in Afghanistan and Pakistan has unquestionably been severely compromised and decimated. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that.”
Pressed again by Karl, who asked if it was “equally dangerous or more dangerous” to have a group affiliated with Al Qaeda in control of major portions of Iraq, Carney shot back: “I guess I would have to remind you that the most severe military attack on the United States in our lifetimes occurred and was organized and ordered out of Afghanistan and Pakistan by core Al Qaeda.”
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