Deja Vu

With President Obama committed to nearly doubling the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, promising to draw down as the Afghan security force stands up, its hard not to get a sense that America’s transformative new leader is merely copying his discredited predecessor’s “surge” strategy used in Iraq. That Obama praised said escalation of the Iraq war as having succeeded “beyond our wildest dreams” does not allay these fears.

That Obama is escalating his way into Afghanistan and Pakistan (“Af-Pak” to those who view the rest of the world as the U.S.’s imperial playground) much like President Bush may be lost on his more earnest liberal sycophants at the Center for American Progress, but it isn’t on Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In an interview earlier this week on ABC’s Chris Cuomo, Mullen made a telling mistake. Here’s the exchange:

CUOMO: A year from today, do you think that there’s a very different situation in Afghanistan than there is today?

MULLEN: I look forward to a very active year. I want to be clear that my expectations are as we add more troops, the violence level in Iraq — or, sorry, Afghanistan — is going to go up.

That said, it’ll put us in a position to start to turn the tide and provide security for the Afghan people, which is absolutely critical, in addition to training the Afghan forces, which I expect to improve significantly over the next 12 months.

There is at least one way the Afghan surge will be different than its Iraq counterpart: it will receive the uncritical backing of nearly all Democrats in Congress and their supporters in the liberal blogosphere. So there’s that.

About Charles Davis

A writer and producer with whose work has aired on television and radio and been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic.
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