Political Correction

Rove Ignores Bush Record, Says Obama Needs A "George W. Bush Moment" In Afghanistan

September 04, 2009 1:50 pm ET - by Matt Finkelstein

President Bush's efforts in Afghanistan were a decided failure.

Earlier today, Karl Rove tweeted the following:

Rich Lowry: If Obama wants to prevail in Afghanistan, he needs a George W. Bush moment. http://bit.ly/YWOJO #TCOT #SGP

The link goes to a New York Post column in which Rich Lowry writes, "If he wants to prevail in Afghanistan, Barack Obama needs a George W. Bush moment. He'll have to ignore the polls, brush aside doubters in his own party and reinforce a failing war effort."

Lowry was talking about Bush's commitment to the war in Iraq.  However, what he ignores -- and Rove should be acutely aware of -- is that Bush's own efforts in Afghanistan were a decided failure.  According to the National Security Network:

An initial victory over the Taliban in 2001 was squandered, as the Bush administration drastically underestimated the commitment that would be needed to stabilize the country and lost al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora.  While the Administration turned its attention to Iraq, al Qaeda and the Taliban reconstituted, leading to the formation of a vicious insurgency that now poses a grave threat to Afghan civilians and coalition efforts in the region. Violence in Afghanistan has increased every year since 2003. This has led the nation's 16 intelligence agencies to conclude that the country is in a "downward spiral."  The region remains home to al Qaeda and other terrorists, whose safe-haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border constitutes the greatest threat to the American homeland, according to two National Intelligence Estimates.  In Pakistan, the Bush administration exercised the same neglect by blindly outsourcing counter-terrorism efforts to an ineffectual autocrat.  Fixated on Iraq, the Bush administration never developed the comprehensive strategy necessary for reducing the extremist threat in northwest Pakistan, or addressing Afghanistan's debilitating opium trade or its host of development and reconstruction challenges. In the region that served as the staging ground for the worst attacks on the U.S. homeland, the Bush administration has left a legacy marked by incompetence and neglect.

Which is to say, senior Bush administration official Karl Rove probably shouldn't be talking about how to succeed in Afghanistan. 

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