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Michael Steele: Afghanistan Is A “War Of Obama’s Choosing”

The Democratic National Committee has released a video of RNC Chairman Michael Steele expressing doubts about the War in Afghanistan:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was caught on video raising doubts about the war in Afghanistan at a fundraiser in Connecticut Thursday.

The Democratic National Committee pushed out the video, which shows Steele saying that the war is of “Obama’s choosing” and that it is nearly impossible to win a land war in the Central Asian country.

“Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in,” he said. “But it was the president who was trying to be cute by half by building a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should in Afghanistan. Well, if he is 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?”

Video:

The DNC is taking a hit at Steele, but it’s not really a fair one because he isn’t alone in being a Republican who is expressing doubts about continued American involvement in Iraq. George Will said pretty much the same thing, albeit much more eloquently than Steele, back in September. And, earlier this year, The Cato Institute hosted a forum in which several conservative intellectuals and Members of Congress essentially endorsed the idea that America needed to drastically scale back it’s involvement in Afghanistan. So, to say that Steele is bucking his own party on this issue simply isn’t true.

At the same time, though, Steele’s assertion that Afghanistan is a war of “Obama’s choosing” is simply absurd. For one thing, the war itself was started, and continued, under a Republican President. Moreover, while it’s true that the President did make the idea of concentrating on Afghanistan instead of Iraq part of his campaign, he was hardly alone in arguing that we needed to continue our involvement in Afghanistan. In fact, it’s hard to say what would be different in that war if John McCain had won in 2008 instead of Barack Obama. So, calling it a war of “Obama’s choosing” is simply ridiculous.

And while it is refreshing to hear Republicans questioning the war, I have to wonder if they’d be saying the same thing if the President had an R after his name.

Actually, I don’t have to wonder.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    More from Funistan. This guy is a total ass who just said a series of unbelievably stupid things and the Dems pounced on him. Duh.

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  2. Dave Schuler says:

    That the war was of President Obama’s choosing is absurd. However, the strategy, the troop build-up, and the attendant costs are of his choosing as well as the political fallout that the increased casualties that go along with more troops, greater visibility, and higher operational tempo bring along with them.

    Nobody forced Barack Obama to run for the presidency. It’s his war now.

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  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dave Schuler says:

    “Nobody forced Barack Obama to run for the presidency. It’s his war now.”

    Actually it’s America’s war. We’ve been screwing around there for nearly ten years since Bush invaded the place in 2001. But we can see the prism through which you view it Dave.

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  4. An Interested Party says:

    The amnesia among certain people is amazing…this sounds very similar to claims made by Mary Matalin and Dana Perino that there were no terrorist attacks on Bush’s watch…obviously, idiotic Republicans hacks are a dime a dozen…

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  5. [...] same thing, albeit much more eloquently than Steele, back in September. And, earlier this year, The Cato Institute hosted a forum in which several conservative intellectuals and Members of Congress essentially [...]

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  6. Dave Schuler says:

    But we can see the prism through which you view it Dave.

    What prism is that? I didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2000. I voted for Obama in 2008. I opposed the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    If you want to take be president, take responsibility. Otherwise stand back and let somebody who does want to take responsibility do the job.

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  7. James Joyner says:

    If you want to take be president, take responsibility. Otherwise stand back and let somebody who does want to take responsibility do the job.

    That’s exactly right. Obama can’t be blamed for the state of affairs that he inherited but he worked damned hard to inherit it.

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  8. [...] Chairman Michael Steele has come under fire after his recent remarks about Afghanistan became public: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele is trying to quell [...]

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  9. [...] the wake of Michael Steele’s latest gaffe and the pressure that has mounted from some Republicans for his removal as RNC Chairman, some [...]

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