FLASHBACK: Steele's Book Blasted Obama For "Dithering" In Afghanistan

July 02, 2010 3:06 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in hot water again, this time over astonishing comments regarding the war in Afghanistan.  Speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut yesterday, Steele called the Afghanistan conflict "a war of Obama's choosing" and "not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." Those statements are not only comically false — President Bush ordered troops into Afghanistan in 2001 — but antithetical to the Republican Party's steadfast support for the war.  Accordingly, prominent conservatives like Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson are calling for Steele's resignation. 

As TPM's Brian Beutler points out, Steele previously described Afghanistan as "a war we have to win" and criticized President Obama for "sending mixed signals" by setting a timeline for withdrawal.  Furthermore, in his 2009 book, Right Now, the embattled chairman attacked Obama for "dithering" in response to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for additional troops (page 161):

But after less than a year of his presidency, it's already become clear that certain policies don't increase our strength, international respect, or security.  Those policies include:

  • going around the world apologizing for defending ourselves
  • palling around with thuggish left-wing dictators like Hugo Chavez, accepting their propaganda books as gifts, and shaking hands and smiling with them for the camera
  • dithering about whether to fulfill his generals' requests to send more troops into Afghanistan