October 25, 2009

(h/t David at VideoCafe)

Well, I guess when Dick Cheney referred to Obama "dithering", he actually meant spending any time thinking about the situation at all, given how little time they spent preparing a report for the incoming administration. CAP's John Podesta points out the problem on This Week:

(Former Bush officials and Republicans) have been citing an Afghanistan strategy report they handed off to the Obama administration that clearly laid out recommendations for moving forward (to criticize Obama's decision process). From Cheney’s recent remarks to the Center for Security Policy:

In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that repeatedly went into the country, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team. They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt.

Today on ABC’s This Week, Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta revealed that the Bush administration spent just one hour on that report:

PODESTA: [T]hey did present him with a report at the very end of the Bush administration, but I have it from reliable sources that the principals in the Bush administration spent one hour on that report before they handed it off to Obama.

Oh...I see...we're operating on the "shoot first, ask questions later" methodology of foreign policy. Yeah, that's worked so well for us so far.

Recently, Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE) — a former top aide to Biden and co-chair of the Vice President’s transition team — said that the Bush administration basically just “threw” the report “to the transition team as they were going out the door”:

KAUFMAN: So for him [Cheney] to come in at the end and say, “Well, we did it wrong for eight years. But then, in the end, we gave them a plan which really is what they should have used.” Let me tell you something: This administration came in. Rahm Emanuel was there. I was on the transition team on this. They started from scratch on Afghanistan. They took a blank piece of paper out and said, “What are we going to do to get this thing done?” … It was absolutely the perfect time to take a hard look at what we’re doing.

If nothing else demonstrates why the world community was happy enough with the new direction in foreign policy brought by the Obama administration that they would award him the Nobel Peace Prize, this certainly does. Imagine--taking a measured, educated and thoughtful approach as to how to deal with the mess that is Afghanistan. What a radical notion after the last eight years.

Steve Hynd at Newshoggers has a piece up on Afghanistan that focuses on why the Bush's gut reaction, no brains technique in Afghanistan has made it impossible to ever "win":

Daniel "Pentagon Papers" Ellsberg talks to Real News Network about Afghanistan. He says that he wrote McChrystal's assessment thirty years ago, only with the names changed; that counter-insurgency cannot succeed for a foreign occupier and that there can be no success that will survive after U.S. troops leave Afghanistan.

Ellsberg should be followed by reading Paul McGeogh's blistering critique of McChrystal and Obama's Afghan plan, which I noted yesterday and Andrew Sullivan picked up on today.

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