Last night, I got this statement from Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office on President Obama’s speech at West Point:

After several long months of deliberation, I’m pleased that the President has finally decided to follow the recommendation of our commanding officer in Afghanistan and deploy more troops to the country. As the President has said, the war in Afghanistan is a war of necessity. However, I sincerely hope that the President is truly committed to victory. While it’s important to acknowledge that U.S. forces will not be in Afghanistan forever, we must not have a concrete time line for withdrawal as it will ultimately hurt our effort and energize our enemies.

Clearly, it’s in the vital interests of the United States to defeat the Taliban, destroy Al Qaeda, and establish a free, sovereign Afghanistan that can govern and look after its own people. Anything less and we’re guaranteeing almost certain instability and chaos in the region. But going forward, we must be in it to win it because if we engage in this effort halfheartedly, then the war is already lost.

Former Sen. Norm Coleman issued this statement after President Obama’s speech:

I do give Obama credit for stating our security requires this increased troop presence. But why isn’t that still the case in 2012? We set deadlines for withdrawal in iraq after the surge proved successful. Here, we are invitng the Taliban to wait us out.

Rep. Bachmann and Sen. Coleman clearly want the military to win this fight and this war. It’s in that context that they both expressed reservations about the timetables President Obama hinted at during his speech.

I mentioned in this post that it seemed strange to hear this in President Obama’s speech:

This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda.

then hear this a few short sentences later:

First, we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum and increase Afghanistan’s capacity over the next 18 months.

I don’t know how you go from saying that Afghanistan is “the epicenter of violent extremism” where al-Qa’ida planned the 9/11 attacks to saying that the increase in troops will last 18 months. Either it’s a serious threat that must be defeated or it isn’t. Triangulation doesn’t work in this situation. To use a poker metaphor, with Afghanistan, you’re either all in or you’re folding.

To anchor one foot in each camp is a great way to put yourself east of the rock and west of the hard place.

I hope the strategy works. I definitely have confidence in Gen. McChrystal and Gen. Petraeus. I can’t say the same thing of President Obama. Still, I’m willing to give him the opportunity to succeed without criticizing his policy.

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One Response to “Bachmann, Coleman Statements on Afghanistan Policy”

  • eric z. says:

    Bud Grant almost always kicked the field goal, especially on those goal line situations, first and goal from the three, etc.

    His philosophy is you had three downs to do it, why expect you’ll do it on fourth.

    And if you trail in regulation time, you don’t get overtime.

    Just a pair of thoughts, for a football fan.

    Did you notice the complete lack of detail on how to motivate Karzi to cease being a corrupt SOB?

    Ditto for how to motivate the Pakistani side of that border to mess with a situation that’s given them years of leverage.

    The devil’s in the details; but tactics are being left to McChrystal – Obama’s being like the team owner, to go back to football stories.

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