Sunday, July 04, 2010

What are we to make of this? Michael Steele and Afghanistan

One of the really frustrating things about dealing with Republicans is their ability to simply make things up out of thin air. Consider these quotes from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele:
This was a war of Obama's choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.
That's bad enough, but consider this:
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, alright, because everyone who's tried over a thousand years of history has failed.
I am of mixed feelings on this. Can someone tell me what is going on in the Republican Party's leadership? Is Michael Steele just telling a bald-faced lie, ignoring the fact that it was George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who decided to invade Afghanistan on October 7, 2001? In 2001, Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator. Barack Obama had nothing to do with the decision to invade Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan was always something of a long shot. We had to get everything right, do everything perfectly--make every choice correctly. Sadly, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney fell far short of that very demanding standard. After Bush and Cheney made the decision to embroil the United States in Afghanistan, they the starved our efforts there to feed their war of aggression against Iraq. They installed Hamid Karzai and his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai as the official and shadow leaders, respectively, of Afghanistan. Between them, the Karzai brothers may have corrupted Afghanistan beyond repair.

All of that occurred before Barack Obama ever took office. It was the Republican leadership that turned Afghanistan into a kleptocracy where everything requires a bribe--usually paid to Ahmed Wali Karzai. I don't know what is more frustrating: the refusal by Republicans to accept responsibility for their failures or their refusal to cooperate going forward in fighting and winning a war they started on their watch.

Let's be perfectly clear about what happened last week: the political head of the Republican Party got up at a fundraiser and lied about one of the wars our nation is involved in, then he tried to use that lie as a springboard for Republican fundraising. Michael Steele ought to be forced out over these remarks, but he won't be, because Republicans think doing the right thing would hurt their chances in this year's mid-term elections. As always, politics trumps ethics in the Republican Party.

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