Hilarious RNC chair Michael Steele apparently doesn't know his party's position on the Afghanistan war. Yesterday, Steele called the war one of Obama's choice that's unnecessary and not winnable. Agreed! Steele's flacks have now taken to mop duty.
Parts of the audio are difficult to hear, but the good folks at Talking Points Media offer a fine transcription:
"The McChrystal incident, to me, was very comical. And I think it's a reflection of the frustration that a lot of our military leaders have with this Administration and their prosecution of the war in Afghanistan," said Steele. "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 one of those, one of those areas of the total board of foreign policy ["in the Middle East"? — Note: The audio is not quite clear in this section.] that we would be in the background, sort of shaping the changes that were necessary in Afghanistan as opposed to directly engaging troops," Steele continued. "But 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."
Emphases ours, because this is pretty unambiguous language. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent tries to parse Steele for a more charitable interpretation and finds an insanely confusing pastiche of post-9/11 invasion arguments and cheap slams on Barack Obama. But maybe he just hates the Afghanistan war! Good for him. It's not really his job though, as a professional partisan hack fundraiser.
RNC Spokesman Doug Heye released a statement this morning that's about as confusing as Steele's talk:
The Chairman clearly supports our troops but believes that success of the war effort in Afghanistan requires the ongoing support of the American people.
The responsibility for building and maintaining that 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.
At the same time, Congress must stop playing politics with the war and provide the funding our troops need to win and come home.
Yeah, guy just wants to know if there's a strategy for the war. Also, Congress should stop playing games and pay for this war that may or may not have a strategy. Why wasn't President Obama of the Executive Branch asking David Petraeus any questions during his Senate confirmation hearing?
Too cute by half, Steele, flack.