The co-founder of the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, blasted the president’s GOP rivals on Sunday for being all over the map when it comes to the war in Afghanistan.
“There has been abject incoherence from the Republican side,” Bill Burton said this morning on “This Week,” before directing his ire at the likely GOP frontrunner. “For Mitt Romney, you get everything from immediate withdrawal to indefinite presence in the country. So I think that Mitt Romney has left been left woefully unprepared for a national security debate in the general election.”
Burton argued that President Obama, on the other hand, has outlined and delivered on a three-point strategy to winning in Afghanistan and expediting a troop withdrawal.
“In defense of the president, when he laid out his strategy on Afghanistan, he said we’re going to do three things: We’re going to degrade al Qaeda, stop the Taliban’s momentum, and strengthen the government security forces in Afghanistan,” said Burton, who served as Obama’s deputy communications director for the president’s first two years in office.
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who considered a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, had a vastly different take on Obama’s Afghanistan policy. He said if Obama’s strategy was defined, it was not well communicated.
“The policy changed from the Bush administration’s war on terror to nation-building, and it changed without any kind of conversation with the American people,” Barbour said on “This Week.” “If we’re fighting terrorism over there, why do we need 100,000 troops on the ground when there’s 100 terrorists, 100 al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan?”
ABC News’ George Will said, “It is time to come home,” because the United States’ mission in the Afghanistan is undefined and, “no one can tell us what winning would look like.” In light of the recent calamites in the country – including the case of the U.S. soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians last week and the uproar over U.S. troops burning Korans the week before – Will said support for the war is “shattered.”
“The events of recent weeks are, in terms of their impact on domestic opinion, a slow-motion cumulative Tet offensive,” Will said, referring to the massive surprise attack launched against U.S. and South Vietnamese forced during the Vietnam War.
While the Tet offensive ended up backfiring and causing huge casualties for communist forces, the mere fact that the opposition was strong enough to launch such a widespread attack crushed public support for continuing America’s presence in the war.
“It shattered American support, and that’s what’s happening now,” Will said.