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October 22, 2009

Cheney attacks Obama on Afghanistan: rewriting history.

    Bush administration veterans and their partisans have launched a frontal assault on President Barack Obama over the war in Afghanistan and what former Vice President Dick Cheney called Obama's "dithering" and "waffling" on whether to send more U.S. troops.
    Do we smell a campaign of historic revisionism by those widely seen as primarily responsible for the disaster in Afghanistan that has prompted Army Gen. Stanley A. McCrystal's request for up to 80,000 more soldiers?
    It was, after all, the Bush administration that failed in 2001 to deploy U.S. forces to stop Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahri, Mullah Mohammad Omar and thousands of their followers from escaping into Pakistan and then diverted U.S. troops, time, resources and energy to the 2003 invasion of Iraq before the al Qaida and Taliban threat was eliminated.
    It was also the Bush administration that empowered the return of the warlords whose deprivations sparked the Taliban's formation in the early 1990s. And it was the Bush administration that helped bring to Afghanistan and maintain in power the corruption-rife government of Hamid Karzai.
    As late as December 2005, despite official warnings about the Taliban resurgence and a lack of U.S. resources for critical reconstruction programs, the Bush administration planned to reduce the 19,000 U.S. troops then in Afghanistan by 2,500 soldiers in order to bolster hard-pressed U.S. forces in Iraq.
    And even after seven years of war _ and the deaths of 630 U.S. service members, more than 400 other coalition soldiers and thousands of Afghans _ the Bush administration lacked strategies for dealing with the al Qaida and Taliban safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where it backed a military dictatorship, or building Afghan security forces, according to the Government Accountability Office.
    The Bush administration's last secretary of defense - who happens to be Obama's first secretary of defense - Robert Gates last month described the Bush administration's approach to Afghanistan as a "holding action" that lacked "a comprehensive strategy" or enough soldiers.
    By the time Obama administration took office, the Taliban-led insurgency infected huge swaths of  Afghanistan while allied extremists held sway in virtually all of Pakistan's tribal areas and were imposing hard-line Islamic rule in the Swat Valley, 60 miles from Islamabad.   
    Yet there was Cheney, receiving the "Keeper of the Flame Award" on Wednesday night from the right-wing Center for Security Policy, accusing Obama of jeopardizing the lives of U.S. troops, hurting U.S. allies and encouraging the insurgents by delaying a decision on McChrystal's request.
    The White House response?
    "I think it's a curious comment. I think it's pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. "Even more curious, given the fact that a increase in troops sat on desks in this White House, including the Vice President's, for more than eight months, a resource request filled by President Obama in March."


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Todd Alan Smith

Cheney will say or do anything to protect his domestic and foreign cronies who are making billions in oil, "defense", and opium. The sick master of spin and self-protection...and remember...he worked for Nixon and his ilk.


uh Dick? Stop being a...you know?

D Biggs

If you look at the history around Pope Urban and the year 1000 you will see that the Catholic Church originally morphed killing as a Christian virtue into the 'blessings' to be received for killing in the name of God.

So, regardless of who you worship, this jihad-style war has been with us since the Crusades.

No one in power seems to be able to deal with the fact that you don't squash that kind of zealotry with armies.

The solution is to seal their borders and let them have at each other internally. They will have plenty of opportunites to plunder, rape and pillage each other sect-on-sect. Look at Iraq (and soon Iran).


Cili's fatalistic view is reflective of the ultra-religious fanaticism that causes such horrors. Reminiscent of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy prerogative.


By helping Afghanis to help themselves, a pro-American sentiment is cultivated and with this sentiment comes potentially further cooperation and coordination between the Afghani people and the US/International community.. !
Thanky Nice Post

Philip Henika


There is an approach to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency that is nonpartisan and places e.g. the Afghanistan government and its people in the forefront of the discussion. By helping Afghanis to help themselves, a pro-American sentiment is cultivated and with this sentiment comes potentially further cooperation and coordination between the Afghani people and the US/International community. Such efforts may even include the capture of OBL, the demise of Al Qaeda and the end of the drug cartel. And if you don't think this approach works then take a look at ASEAN counterterrorism efforts in SE Asia.


Do not get lost in detail, in personalities. The reality is that the tyrants, dictators, and Islamist fascists will NEVER "cooperate & coordinate" no matter how subservient we are towards them, no matter how much we bow and scrape, no matter how much any politician blames the US and apologizes.

We are involved in a war of civilizations - have been involved for centuries. They will not rest until the whole world accepts their brand of Islam. They are at war with their fellow Muslims as well, or didn't you notice.

Philip Henika

Cheney and Obama provide contrasting perspectives re: the precedents and practice of foreign policy in times in which globalization has replaced the Cold War. Cheney's approach is to isolate America i.e. 'us vs them' with the Cold War machine at full capacity and maximum profit. Obama recognizes the trend of International cooperation and coordination i.e. the perception that America is a player in global community and not the World's cop or its judge or jury. There has been a call for International cooperation re: several global issues which include the end of war, the end of disease, the adaptation to climate change and energy conservation. My question: will the American people follow the likes of Cheney or Obama?

bob h

I seem to recall that in the year after Bin Laden et. al. were allowed to escape, aid to Afghanistan totalled all of $1 million.


Dealing with the safe haven of Taliban/Alqaida ie Pakistan is far more important than sending troops to Afghanistan. There is strange dichotomy: Pakistan Uses US dollar to create and nourish Talibans and keeps a Hoax war against its own creation to earn US favours/dollars. Unless the US understands this enigma, no strategy can succeed in Afghanistan. The only option for US is to give up fearing any SURGE of taliban in Pak( as the rise of talibans in pak is just drama because Talibans are nothing but a private army engineered by ISI and self-engineered suicide attacks on innocent pakistanis are meant to increase the cost of war for US and panic the world by showing nuclear pak going into the hand of extremists). The US must stop being fooled repeatedly and must be wise enough to understand the motives and hidden policies of pak secret agencies. So no more appeasement for pak.

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"Nukes & Spooks" is written by McClatchy correspondents Jonathan S. Landay (national security and intelligence), Warren P. Strobel (foreign affairs and the State Department), and Nancy Youssef (Pentagon).

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