Saturday, October 24, 2009
Told You So
At the end of that post I predicted that the White House, stung by Cheney's revelation that they were a pack of liars, would respond with further falsehoods, and I was right. The Obama White House immediately sent spokesman Gibbs out to further slander Bush and Cheney, knowingly falsely accusing them of sitting on a request for troop increases there for over eight months.
But as the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes establishes (again) in his Obama's Minions Are Ingrates, Cheney was telling the truth and Obama's claims are demonstrably lies:
There is more to Hayes' article, at the center of which is the all too predictable fact that Obama and his minions in the White House are still stuck in blaming George W. Bush for everything they possibly can, even when it can be proven that Bush did Obama's homework on Afghanistan for him, allowed him to take all the credit and left himself open to yet more Obama attacks on his character.
So there are two separate and very serious charges that Obama White House officials are making about their predecessors. First, that the Bush administration had no real Afghanistan policy and failed for eight years to ask the important questions about the war there. And second, that the Bush administration ignored requests from commanders on the ground to increase troops in Afghanistan...
In fact, the Bush administration did ask those questions. From mid-September to mid-November 2008, a National Security Council team, under the direction of General Doug Lute, conducted an exhaustive review of Afghanistan policy. The interagency group included high-ranking officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the office of the director of national intelligence, the office of the vice president, the Pentagon, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its objective was to assess U.S. -policy on Afghanistan, integrating a simultaneous military review being conducted by CENTCOM, so as to present President Bush with a series of recommendations on how best to turn around the deteriorating situation there. The Lute group met often--sometimes twice daily--in a secure conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. (The group used the room so frequently that other national security working groups that had been meeting there were required to find other space including, occasionally, the White House Situation Room.)...
The Lute review asked many questions and provided exhaustive answers not only to President Bush, but also to the Obama transition team before the inauguration. "General Jones was briefed on the results of the Lute review, and that review answered many of the questions that Rahm Emanuel says were never asked," says Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley. Jones and Hadley discussed the review, and Lute gave Jones a detailed PowerPoint presentation on his findings. Among the recommendations: a civilian surge of diplomats and other non-military personnel to the country, expedited training for the Afghan National Army, a strong emphasis on governance and credible elections, and, most important, a fully resourced counterinsurgency strategy.
Jones asked Hadley not to release the results of the Lute review so that his boss would have more flexibility when it came time to provide direction for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Bush officials reasoned that Obama was more likely to heed their advice if he could simply adopt their recommendations without having to acknowledge that they came from the Bush White House. So Hadley agreed.
"Mr. Emanuel either did not know about our review or chose to lie about it," says Eliot Cohen, who served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was one of the principal participants in the Lute review. Virtually nobody believes Emanuel is clueless. In any case, the author of the review, Doug Lute, remains a senior Afghanistan adviser in the Obama White House.
Perhaps more infuriating for Bush veterans was the suggestion by Gibbs that the Bush administration ignored requests for more troops. It's nonsense, they say. McKiernan wanted more troops--he asked for three additional brigades in the summer of 2008--but he understood that he could have them only when they became available. "McKiernan was making requests down the line," says a Pentagon official, "and late in 2008 we did have the ability to commit more forces. So we did." Indeed, Bush sent nearly 7,000 additional troops to Afghanistan before he left office, including one brigade that had been repurposed from Iraq.
One Bush veteran asks, "If it's true that the Bush administration sat on these troop requests for eight months, is the White House suggesting that the Pentagon was incompetent or negligent or both? That would be a good question to put to the defense secretary--and President Obama is in a position to make him talk."
George W. Bush demonstrates tremendous respect for the office and its traditions by ignoring the pettiness by which Obama daily diminishes it, while in his defense of the former President Dick Cheney embodies loyalty to the man, the office and the truth.
Making Obama and all his minions look very petty indeed.