RNC chair Michael Steele suggested history stands against the U.S. in the war in Afghanistan, a gaffe caught on camera during a fundraiser last night in CT.
“This was a war of Obama’s choosing,” Steele says in remarks captured on what appears to be a hidden camera. Steele blasted Obama for “demonizing Iraq while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan.”
“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? Because everyone who’s tried, over a thousand years of history has failed,” Steele says.
Maybe if Steele had stopped at “a war of Obama’s choosing” he could have issued a clarification that he meant Obama’s escalating troop levels. Than he would have to explain his previous approval of Obama’s troop escalation. The second would not be difficult since such walk-backs are standard operating procedure for the conservative movement. But no, he goes on to belabor the point by highlighting the historical difficulty of waging war in Afghanistan. The RNC did not do Steele any favors with the barely cogent clarification,
“The Chairman clearly supports our troops but believes that success of the war effort in Afghanistan requires the ongoing support of the American people,” RNC communications director Doug Heye said.
“The responsibility for building and maintaining [a] strategy falls squarely on the shoulders of the President. Like so many Americans, Chairman Steele wants to hear an explanation from President Obama on what his strategy is for winning the war in Afghanistan. The Petraeus hearings were an opportunity — a missed opportunity — to do that. Instead, all we hear from the President is criticism of his predecessor for doing exactly the same thing,” Heye said. “At the same time, Congress must stop playing politics with the war and provide the funding our troops need to win and come home.”
That would be the same responsibility that was “squarely” on the shoulders of Bush, Cheney and the Republican party whose strategy included a squandered victory. Another embarrassing episode for Republicans coming just after they approved General Petraeus as new commander of the Afghanistan strategy that Steele thinks is doomed. I tend to think the administration is looking to make as much security and infrastructure improvements in Afghanistan as possible over the next year and exit as gracefully as possible. To suddenly fold and leave might sound nice, but probably not the humane thing to do for the Afghans who are caught between warlords, the Taliban and Karzai’s corrupt government. Steele’s gaffe is yet another example f the fractured thinking of the conservative movement. Yet at the same time it is an unfortunate headline grabber for the rest of us. What he thinks about Afghanistan or what neocon twit Bill Kristol thinks about Steele or Afghanistan is only reverent in the village of should be forgotten conventional wisdom. Only recently we’ve had Joe Barton (R-TX) apologize to BP because President Obama was guilty of looking out for the residents of the Gulf Coast. Followed by Sarah Palin leveling the same inane accusation. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbor(R) declaring ‘No one has more to lose in this deal than BP’ – please ignore the millions of lives ruined and billions of dollars that the Gulf Coast economy loses. Meanwhile tea nut himbo Scott Brown (R-Mass) condemns Obama’s lack of sanctions against Iran…well after Obama signed the toughest ever U.S. sanctions against Iran. Lest we forget The Orange Man, House Republican leader John Boehner(R-OH) riled against financial reform of any kind that would protect investors and consumers, complained about having to pay a little extra for his tanning booth sessions, voted against extending unemployment benefits for people who have actually worked for a living and did an analysis of the latest job numbers that would embarrass the average ten-year old. Much of this occurring, and goodness forbid interrupting, the far Right’s fetid attempts to shift the blame and responsibility for the Gulf spill to Obama. Michael Steele stealth peace activist? In many ways just another day for the conservative movement. It would be funny if it were not all so tragic. These are the clowns hoping and praying for America to have one huge collective short-term memory and return them to power.