Obama Waffles on Afghanistan
In a continuing series of indecisions, the President is putting off making a decision about sending troops to Afghanistan. After he spent the campaign screaming his head off about the need for a surge in Afghanstan, Obama wants more time to study the issue.
Here he is at the first presidential debate, September 28, 2008:
We need more troops. The situation is getting worse. We had the highest fatalities among US troops this past year than at any time since 2002. I would send 2 to 3 additional brigades to Afghanistan. Keep in mind that we have 4 times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no al Qaeda before we went in. That is a strategic mistake, because every intelligence agency will acknowledge that al Qaeda is the greatest threat against the US, and that the place where we have to deal with these folks is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s not just more troops. We have to #1, press the Afghan government to make certain that they are actually working for their people; #2, we’ve got to deal with a poppy trade that has exploded; #3, we’ve got to deal with Pakistan, because al Qaeda and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan. Until we do, Americans at home are not safe.
Here he is on Meet the Press, May 4, 2008, answering “Would you, as president, be willing to have a military surge in Afghanistan in order to, once and for all, eliminate the Taliban?”:
Yes. I think that’s what we need. I think we need more troops there, I think we need to do a better job of reconstruction there.
And here he is today:
The latest sign of crossed signals occurred Friday, when White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Obama “hasn’t made a decision on augmenting our force structure in Afghanistan,” three days after Pentagon officials said he would likely do so that week.
Of course, this is spun by some Politico so-called reporter as a “methodical and independent decision-making style” which is a sharp break from the “usual style” of Bush 43. Despite his confident statements (lies?) on the campaign trail, Obama is now “questioning the timetable, the mission and even the composition of the new forces.”