People couldn’t see the similarities between Bush war policy and Obama’s stated plans for the military during the campaign?
For now, Obama gets the benefit of the doubt for having been on the right side of the argument all along. Still, some of the president’s proposals appear to maintain the status quo and have an unsettling Bush-like quality. Those who say that Afghanistan will turn into Obama’s Vietnam are being premature alarmists, but we should all be a little bit worried to hear Republicans praising Obama’s strategy as something George Bush would have done. This is not the typical knee-jerk anti-Bushism: We must remember that nearly all of Bush’s policy on Iraq and Afghanistan was wrong.
by Terence Samuel at The American Prospect: The Trillion-Dollar Question
The president’s plans for Afghanistan should come as no surprise. Despite his bold stand against the Iraq debacle from the start, Obama is not anti-war, and never was. And he has had his eye on the Afghan situation since relatively early in the presidential campaign.
In October 2002, then-Senate candidate Obama spoke before a crowd of hundreds protesting Bush’s Iraq invastion at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago: “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war….What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income.”
In May 2008, presidential candidate Obama addressed Afghanistan on NBC’s “Meet the Press”:
Tim Russert: The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating as the Taliban continues to reconstitute itself. Would you, as president, be willing to have a military surge in Afghanistan in order to, once and for all, eliminate the Taliban?
Sen. Barack Obama: Yes. I think that’s what we need. I think we need more troops there, I think we need to do a better job of reconstruction there. I think we have to be focused on Afghanistan. It is one of the reasons that I was opposed to the war in Iraq in the first place. We now know that al-Qaeda is stronger than any time since 2001. They are growing in capability. That is something that we’ve got to address. And we’re also going to have to address the situation in Pakistan, where we now have, in the federated areas, al-Qaeda and the Taliban setting up bases there. We now have a new government in Pakistan. We have an opportunity to initiate a new relationship, so that we can get better cooperation to hunt down al-Qaeda and make sure that that does not become a safe haven for them.