Tag Archives: General David Petraeus
Afghanistan A War of Obama’s Choosing?
While speaking at a Republican Party of British Petroleum (GOBP) fundraiser in Connecticut on Thursday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s comments were captured on camera and posted online. In the midst of his shilling, Steele criticized President Barack Obama and his handling of the nine-year-old war begun by Republican President George W. Bush in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He suggested the war cannot be won.
Steele said Afghanistan is, “a war of Obama’s choosing” and the conflict “is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”
Well, let’s see, Bush invades Afghanistan in Oct 2001 in order to catch Bin Laden; gets side tracked by the bright shiny object Iraq, ignoring Afghanistan, thus allowing the Taliban to regroup and Bin Laden to escape, which then creates the absolute necessity of sending in a “surge” of troops in order to stabilize Afghanistan, push back the Taliban and maybe finally catch the man who “can run, but who can’t hide”.
In trying to place the war at the President’s feet, and in painting a picture of defeatism Steele said, “If he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right? Because everyone who’s tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed,” Steele said. “And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”
Steele quickly tried to dodge the fallout, and issued a statement Friday, saying, “There is no question that America must win the war on terror. … And, for the sake of the security of the free world, our country must give our troops the support necessary to win this war.”
He said, “The stakes are too high for us to accept anything but success in Afghanistan.”
Steele’s comments came as President Obama’s new chief in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, arrived in the country Friday to take over the war. The President, last week dismissed his previous commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, after he made disparaging comments about his superiors in a Rolling Stone interview.
Steele called the dismissal “very comical” but said it shows the frustration members of the military have with Obama. This might be true except for the fact that 45% of the military vote in 2008 went to President Obama. This is one of the great myths of the conservative right in America today, that the military loathes the President.
Unhappy with Steele’s words, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said it was “simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.”
Weekly Standard conservative pundit Bill Kristol, has called Steele’s resignation.
“There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case,” wrote Kristol, who has consistently supported the Afghanistan war. “But one of them shouldn’t be the chairman of the Republican Party.”
Steele has enraged congressional Republicans throughout the last year; he has predicted the GOBP won’t win House control this fall. He has also criticized fellow Republicans in a book that party leaders didn’t know he was writing until it was published. His GOBP critics were irked further when he told them to “get a life” and “shut up.”
Earlier this year, his oversight of the RNC was called into question because of lavish spending, including money to entertain donors at a lesbian bondage club in Los Angeles. That incident led to the departure of a key Steele adviser, the party’s finance chief and the top committee staffer.
Steele, has been, and ever after shall be a political joke…
Troops do not have a “right to defend themselves”?
During an appearance on Tuesday’s (29 Jun 10) Fox and Friends, God’s Self-proclaimed spokesman, Glenn Beck, suggested that the rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan prevent American soldiers and marines from defending themselves, saying that American leaders (aka President Obama) should “take the shackles off our troops; they have a right to defend themselves.” Only problem with Bruder Beck’s suggestion is, well, current ROE states “that no one is ever denied the right to self-defense.”
Fox and Friends talking head Steve Doocy asked the Beckster what he wants GEN Petraeus to say, “You know, I’m going to start pulling things out in a year?”
Beck replied, “First of all — first of all, if our troops feel they’re in danger, shoot to kill. Take the shackles off our troops; they have a right to defend themselves. Enough with this little medal where — you know, it’s very interesting to me that the radicals who are now in charge from the 1960s who used to call our troops baby killers and really under George Bush did everything but call them baby killers, he was ‘General Betray-us.’ They give an award now for having restraint. That’s just a nice way of saying here’s a medal for not killing a baby. It’s the same thing. Take the handcuffs off and respect these people.”
Of course, the truth of the matter is that according to current rules, “no one is ever denied the right to self-defense”, in fact, the incoming commander, GEN David Petraeus, in a 17 Mar 10 congressional hearing (accessed via Nexis), testified that the directive emphasizing the protection of civilian lives “says that no one is ever denied the right to self-defense, nor will we ever hesitate, if someone is pinned down by fire, in responding to ensure that those troopers never feel as if they’re fighting with their hands tied behind their back.”
And in declassified portions of a revised “Tactical Directive” to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan issued in July 2009, outgoing commander, GEN Stanley McChrystal wrote: “This directive does not prevent commanders from protecting the lives of their men and women as a matter of self-defense where it is determined no other options (specific options deleted due to operational safety) are available to effectively counter the threat.” McChrystal also wrote: “I recognize that the carefully controlled and disciplined employment of force entails risks to our troops — and we must work to mitigate that risk wherever possible. But excessive use of force resulting in an alienated population will produce far greater risks.”
At the stroke of midnight, Wednesday was just another day of making stuff up for Beck; and just another day of spreading falsehoods and half truths for Fox News.
(thanks again to our friends at Media Matters)