Saturday, July 3, 2010

RNC Chair Steele: Afghanistan Is "A War of Obama's Choosing"

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is confused about the origin of the war in Afghanistan. He stated the following at a Republican fundraiser in Connecticut:

Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in. [...]

It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, 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 has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.
 (h/t Think Progress) Listen:

Steele's contention that Afghanistan is "a war of Obama's choosing" is contradicted by the fact that it was started in 2001 by George W. Bush. In addition, while Steele asked valid questions about the viability of the military mission, actually voicing the concerns of many liberals, he spoke against his party's position. As a result, commentator William Kristol, blogger Erick Erickson of and other conservatives called for Steele's resignation. The Democratic National Committee also criticized Steele, stating, "It's simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement."

Steele also contradicted his past position. In December, he stated that he supported the war and criticized the president's prosecution of it: "If the president remains committed to this crucial fight, Republicans - and the American people - will stand with him. But sending mixed signals by outlining the exit before these troops even get on the ground undermines their ability to succeed."

Following the GOP uproar over Steele's comments, RNC spokesperson Doug Heye wrote in an email to Political Hotsheet, "... "nowhere did Steele say or suggest that (a) we shouldn't be there, (b) we can't win or (c) he didn't support the surge."

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