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. Reny

    Obama is cleaning up Bush's mess.

    December 7, 2009 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  2. William - Denver

    Absolutely agree!!! Now that Obama has access to the Intel, isn't it amazing just how Bush-like he has become!!! Um what about Gitmo people?? Closing next month right???? The only difference is that CNN and all the rest of the Lame Stream media will give Obama a pass and blame Bush for Obama's "strategic" decisions! It's PREDICTABLE!!! Come on Bush Haters – bring it on!!!

    December 7, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  3. john

    The Bush Doctrine =
    To be incompetently prepared in the planning, deployment and operations of Intelligence, Military and Civil Services.

    December 7, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  4. TBA

    I belive that Bush Doctrine FAILED, due to the fact that Geroge Walker Bush and Dick Cheney drop the ball by proclaiming that Iraq had WMD and must be taken out. While leaving Afgan hanging. If George Walker Bush had keep eye on the ball instead of making up false information to go to war in Iraq then MAYBE we would've been done with Afgan by now. Instead we are not, due to the fact that our FORCES are split between 2 wars that George Walk Bush put us in. And the GOP failure to acknowledge the fact and are in denail.

    December 7, 2009 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. Braeden

    Let's get this straight: President Obama is no Bush. He is cleaning up after that mess of a presidency and has had to make decisions that were against his original wishes because of that sad fact. We should stop attacking him for decisions that are a result of the Bush's failures.

    December 7, 2009 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  6. Braeden

    **result of Bush's failures

    December 7, 2009 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  7. brokearrow

    Also the idiots that are giving away Nobel Peace Prizes for sending in more troops to enhance war efforts better find out what giving away such prizes implies! Something simply don't smell right in Denmark when "Peace Prizes" are handed out to recipients to FIGHT more wars!

    December 7, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  8. AndyB

    I think that we better ask Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh about this. LOL

    December 7, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  9. Dee, 1 Vote

    Ms. Mat, You, Jr, and Cheney did noting in 8 yrs! For your talking is say's to me you like the money at CNN!

    December 7, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. orville

    What? So let me get this straight – the "Bush doctrine" prioritized Iraq under false pretenses instead of going after the real terrorists and created a huge safe haven and "breeding ground" for more terrorists in a previously more secular Iraq ? Actually, I think Obama's Afghan troop buildup is entirely practical – he's in a tough spot due to the terrible policies of the last administration and is finally putting our forces closer to where they need to be, not manufacturing evidence and making something out of nothing as Bush did with Iraq. Someday, hopefully soon, the lies of Bush and Cheney will be fully exposed and get them jailed for life, maybe for a permanent stay in sunny Guantanamo Bay...

    December 7, 2009 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  11. ChuckB

    President Bush had no policy for Afghanistan, that was obvious from 8 years of nothing happening,except for the taliban getting stronger, al queda getting stronger, bin laden no where to be found, oh yeah and do not forget the narcocracy government.

    December 7, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  12. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    the far right has come up with all kinds of insults for President Obama from calling him everything from a sociolist to a communist, BUT to compare him to President Bush has to be the ULTIMATE insult.

    December 7, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  13. therealpatriot

    Actually Bush put the surge in the wrong country...

    December 7, 2009 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  14. Michele

    Well, Mary, he's kind of stuck here, isn't he? Make no mistake, this is Bush's war, Bush's legacy, and Obama should not be sending more troops to an unwinnable war. We have killed enough people, suffered too many losses, and spent too much money already, but the Republicans would be after him with their precious artillery if he had decided to pull out. So he's stuck, and the rest of us are stuck with the dead and wounded and the drain on our fragile economy for decades to come. Thank you, President Bush, for your rush to war.

    December 7, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  15. Greg, MN

    Isbn't it funny thay Obama loves blaming anything that is wrong on Bush, but when he actually (almost) continues his types of actions, like the surge, there is no mention.

    Of course it took Obama 3 months to decide that a surge like Bush's was the best idea.

    December 7, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  16. James from Columbia, MO

    I say you make the Afghanistan front a priority, get specific objectives accomplished, then get the hell out! If Obama isn't lying to us about those objectives, 18 months should be enough time to do those things.

    It seems like this administration's dates are never firm, but that's OK as long as they get things moving. If this all goes as planned, great. If not, it's Obama's Vietnam and he'll go the way of LBJ.

    December 7, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. Marc

    Either this woman is one of the biggest hypocrites that are in the world or she's delusional. The Bush Doctrine failed miserably and had to be switched for a better and more elaborated militar strategy which produced the surge, so if the President is using a surge-like strategy for Afghanistan HE IS DEFENITELY NOT USING THE BUSH DOCTRINE!!!

    December 7, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Ms. Matalin is somewhat correct, but the difference between the two President's is that Obama actually has a plan whereas Bush took his eye off the ball and had no exit strategy for either war. The Bush administration had their eyes on taking over the Middle East. In Bush's state of the union address where he listed the "axis of evil," he pre-emptively was telling the country that these are the countries we are going to war with.

    December 7, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  19. ran

    President Obama is doing what Bush was incapable of doing which is to finish what was started by Bush. If Bush had not gone into Iraq this war would be either over or near the end.

    Bush had 8 yrs to take care of this issue. President Obama has had 1 yr. Give him a break.

    All of our current problems happen on Bush and Republican watch. Instead of President Obama getting to do his thing he has to first clean up Bush's messes.

    People do not reward the GOP in 2010/2012 because things are not going as fast as we want. Remember Bush/Republicans got us into the messes and now the Republicans want to keep us in these messes so they hope you will vote them back in. Don't fall for it.

    December 7, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  20. joel palmer

    Mary Matalin is an idiot; Bush screwed up the entire mid east war strategy from start to finish; aided and abtted but the uber incompetent Rumsfeld and Cheney.

    The surge was a last minute Hail Mary forced on him by his generals and Secretary Gates.

    Bush is a serial failure without a single success in his long, drunken, sordid, misbegotten career. Long propped up by his family; he failed his way into the oval office where not even Poppy could save him. A disgraceful man and a decade that will live in infamy

    December 7, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that is the case really. Bush just did what his handlers told him to do with Iraq because of the mistaken assumptions. Afghanistan was so neglected. Sec. Gates even said so on Meet the Press that there were unfilled requests for more troops from the generals in the Afghanistan theater of operations. It was that there were too many in Iraq that couldn't be spared.

    December 7, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  22. Dean O

    The only difference with the war now vs GWBush admin is the reversal of each party – GOP is now against and DEms are for it. Obama has no authority when he talks afghanistan or Iraq. Harry Reid has even less, Schumer, Pelosi, and Durbin are the lowest of the low. Dems are going to take a drubbing in 2010 because of these phonies. A divided govt is best for the American People. Vote these clowns out in 2010. Send Obama and the socialists a message.

    December 7, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  23. James

    I disagree with Matalin.

    Bush was a much better man, with far more dignity and respect for our troops.

    December 7, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. phoenix86

    Not like Bush at all.

    No matter what happens, Obama will begin pulling out of Afghanistan in summer 2011. The ONLY reason for that is to allow Obama to tell the voters during the next campaign that the troops are coming home.

    I've never seen a president use human lives in such a blatant political manner for electoral purposes only.

    For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of an American president.

    December 7, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  25. Jessie

    I don't know... I just have a hard time taking seriously the political commentary of a person wearing a piano tie...

    December 7, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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