December 7th, 2009
04:48 AM ET
6 months ago

Matalin: With Afghan surge, Obama resembles George W. Bush

On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'
On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'

Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Obama’s decision to surge additional troops into Afghanistan is “solid policy,’ in Matalin’s view and “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“Every strategic element is from the Bush doctrine. The tactics are from the Bush surge [in Iraq],” she said.

Matalin added that when civilian contractors and forces supplied by NATO allies are considered “there are enough troops” in Afghanistan.

But, Matalin also said Sunday that, by announcing a date to begin to remove some American troops, Obama had sent a mixed message about the United States’ commitment in Afghanistan.

In laying out his new strategy, Obama gave “a discordant speech,” the Republican strategist said of the president’s address last week at West Point.

“It’s hard to reconcile [saying] this is for the security of the whole world, but we’re going to get out in 18 months,” Matalin said.

“The problem for Democrats,” Matalin also said Sunday, “is that they’ve bashed Bush strategy and tactics for so long and now they have to embrace them because they’re the only ones that do work.”

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Patriot Games

    No, Ms. Matlin.

    President Obama is trying to clean up the mess President Bush left behind when he let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora almost nine years ago. But Bin Laden and al Qaeda aren't in Afghanistan anymore, so Obama's trying to extract us as best he can.

    I thought you were a more intelligent conservative than to argue for perpetual war.

    December 7, 2009 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  2. steve

    Mary, Yeah, the Bush strategy and tactics really worked great. That's why Afghanistan and Iraq are in the state they're in, why we failed to catch Osama Bin Laden, why we are broke......with no end in sight.

    December 7, 2009 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  3. pakyaw

    Of course, they will act the same. Their control is from the same source...the financiers who own the Federal Reserve and want america to continue to wage and pay for the war and allow the financiers to make more money, from no real investment.

    December 7, 2009 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  4. Brad

    Palin/Matalin 2012!!!
    LOL!!!

    December 7, 2009 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  5. Dennis

    They may be similar in that particular action other than that it's possibly the same puppeteer is pulling the strings.

    December 7, 2009 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  6. Grahame

    This comment is obviously a no brainer since the fundamental job of any commander in chief is to protect the country. So for Obama and Bush or whoever this has to be job #1. Of course Bush screwed it up because he was, and still is, basically lazy and asleep art the switch. This is why he left everything to Chaney and Rumsfeldt. If you don't believe this then compare the amount of time he spent on holiday while Obama has been flat out since he took office. Which is why Obama will win out in the end.....
    It's called Hard Work..
    You still have to protect the country though which is why 9/11 happened on Bush's watch.

    December 7, 2009 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  7. IndyVoter

    Matalin is full of it! This is NOT the Bush Doctrine. This is the Powell Doctrine...It is show of force with a WELL THOUGHT OUT objective and a strategy for GETTING OUT. That is why Powell was pushed out of the scene by Republicans because he didn't believe in shoot first ask questions later. Nice try Matalin, but you are transparent. Bush messed up and there is no getting around it. The Bush Doctrine would be if in the middle of this uptick in Afghanistan Pres. Obama decided to start a totally unrelated and unsubstantiated war with Iran or some other country and drain all the resources from the one that matters.

    December 7, 2009 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  8. Tom in Delaware

    Governing is a lot different than campaigning....Obama and the rest of the Liberals are starting to find that out.

    December 7, 2009 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. buddhistMonkey

    No, the Bush Doctrine is preemptive war, i.e. attacking countries that don't attack us first (or, in the case of Iraq, even provoke us). It has nothing whatsoever to do with "the surge," which occurred five years into a six-year war.

    December 7, 2009 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  10. Dave G

    Republicans seem like they're surprised. Obama campaigned on stepping up the effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I guess they weren't listening.

    December 7, 2009 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  11. james

    Nice strategy Matalin... try to compare Obama to Bush, hoping voters will return to the party that spawned Bush, and supported Bush for 8 years, claiming anyone who disagreed with Bush for that 8 years was an unamerican, unpatriotic, bleeding heart liberal. The people aren't stupid Matalin, you are. The difference between Bush and Obama, Bush bailed on Afghanistan to invade Iraq... Bush never tried. The bush doctorine isn't being used by Obama to invade more countries... Obama is remaining in Afghanistan to clean up Bush's failure, if it can even be cleaned up.

    December 7, 2009 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  12. Woody Brown

    We realized that the 'War on Poverty' was a metaphor, no troops were sent, so surge was made.

    We realized that the 'War on Drugs' was a metaphor, no troops were sent, so surge was made.

    We do not realize that the 'War on Terror' is also simply a metaphor, we send troops, we surge–we drone against our fears.

    December 7, 2009 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  13. Woody Brown

    We realized that the 'War on Poverty' was a metaphor, no troops were sent, no surge was made.

    We realized that the 'War on Drugs' was a metaphor, no troops were sent, no surge was made.

    We do not realize that the 'War on Terror' is also simply a metaphor, we send troops, we surge–we drone against our fears.

    Civilians are killed.
    Terrorists are collateral damage.

    December 7, 2009 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  14. GOPBslapper

    This coming from a women wearing a piano key tie and a suit that appears to me some sort of mettalic "Gotti" type? The only thing that resembles bush went down my commode this morning.

    December 7, 2009 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  15. Craig

    Whine, whine, moan and complain. You people make me sick. You complain that Obama can't do this or that right. You're so blinded by your hatred that you've lost touch with reality. This is a perfect example of why we are having problems in this country. No President is perfect, but we have to be the "United" States in order to survive.

    December 7, 2009 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  16. Buck

    Bush's third term-you're living it.

    Someday American workers will wise up and realize that lesser 'evilism'-i.e., voting for Democrats-is a political dead end. After all, why should working people vote for representatives of the state capitalist ruling class? Because they're liberal? Pffft! The liberal bourgeoisie, like the conservative bourgeoisie, couldn't care less about working people. It's time for a mass based workers party!

    December 7, 2009 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  17. Mara

    I thought the Bush Doctrine was 'If ya ain't fer us, yer agin us. If yer fer us, you do what yer told and keep yer trap shut. If yer agin us, we will kill you (and your women and children, too)"

    December 7, 2009 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  18. GeorgeVT

    I thought the Bush Doctrine was that we didn't need to wait to be attacked to attack, ala Iraq. As for Afghanistan, I believe the actual Bush doctrine was to pretend it wasn't even there and to outsource the war to the CIA and local tribes. In regards to the Surge, that was NOT the Bush doctrine, that was the Petreaus doctrine, which Bush reluctantly accepted against all advice from Rumsfield. Matalin, just like all good GOPers these days, it seems that hind sight is 40-20, not just 20-20.

    December 7, 2009 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  19. chesapeakephil

    uh, the bush doctrine was to shoot first and ask questions later, think obama is asking questions first like a real president should.

    ps dont forget to get your copy of "Going Rouge, How the GOP Put Lipstick on a Pig".

    December 7, 2009 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  20. doug

    if that was the bush doctrine, then why didn't bush send extra troops? he had plenty of chances, and as we recently heard, if he would have done it, bin laden might not be around anymore.

    if anything the bush doctrine is just to make sure bush's friends get more money and power.

    December 7, 2009 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  21. Kate

    No way can you compare the President with Bush........the GOP are just plain out of touch with this Country, with the people of America and with the World.........

    December 7, 2009 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  22. brokearrow

    I'd say that Shrub never had enough of a fungus in his skull cavity to formulate what could be called a "doctrine". On the other hand, Obama is as dumb as a box of rocks and wins a Nobel Peace Prize for doing as Shrub did, and merely is sending in more troops. No difference in either idiot. This country is on a failing path until the likes of another FDR or Harry S. Truman enters the realm of president again, and there simply is not a man from that mold left on the planet!

    December 7, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  23. Lew

    Mary Matalin is incorrect. Obama is not reasserting a failed Bush doctrine. He is merely trying to correct the mistakes made by the Bush administration. Maybe her husband needs to explain the difference to her.

    December 7, 2009 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  24. hongli

    I call on Mary Matalin once and for all to get a LIFE. The only person that resembles George w Bush is Dick The Prick Cheney. President Obama was always for the war in Afganistan.

    December 7, 2009 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  25. Jim

    There are two differences. One is that the Afghans now have a timetable. The Afghans must shape up and provide for their own security because the U.S will not stay indedfinitely. Obama's doctrine is not Bush's doctrine of stayjng forever and placing the United States in the position of being the policeman of the world. Two, I also don't believe the intent of Obama's policy is the same as Bush's of providing war profits for political cronies such as Halliburtin and Blackwater.

    December 7, 2009 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
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