December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
9 years ago

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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.”

Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Rajinder Goyal

    Mary Matalin is in no position to offer any comments or advice. One only has to wonder what kind of advice she used to give to George Bush that America was in such a mess when Obama took over. God save us Ms. Matalin. Her husband, James Carville, is a lot wiser and smarter than his wife.

    So, Ms. Matalin, here is a piece of advice for you. Keep your advice to yourself. America had enough of your kind of advice. All of ou, including Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove, should take a leave of absence, and leave the country in the wiser hands of obama and his administration. He can only do better.

    December 6, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Moreover, the only Bush Doctrine concerning conflicts has to do with preemptive strikes. Obama is merely using the best ideas to clean up the mess that Bush made.

    December 6, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. Barry in Maryland

    Bush held and Obama is holding the office of president. All similarity between the two ends there.

    December 6, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Dimslie

    All he needs to do now is start touting making all Mexicans U.S. citizens and we won't know the difference between them at all.

    December 6, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Greg

    Obama should be honored that he's being compared to President Bush. Everything Bush did was to protect Americans from terrorists. Obama tried to be the anti-Bush candidate and now that he's President, he realizes he has to follow in Bush's footsteps in order to be a responsible leader. He criticized Bush for allowing torture, yet he is allowing outright assassinations by Predator every day in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And now, Obama is starting The Surge Part II.

    December 6, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Joe M

    There is not a penny's difference between Bush and Obozo.. Obozo is all smoke and mirrors 2012 can not get here soon enough to send this guy back to Chicago, with the rest of his thug administration..

    But as long as there is jet fuel in AF-1 this jerk will continue to amuse himself...He is off on another vacation Thursday..

    December 6, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Bob Zmuda

    The "Bush Doctrine"? Are you kidding me? There's no doctrine. He allowed Rumsfeld and others to convince him and everybody that a) Iraq could be invaded successfully with a tiny force and that b) stealing troops from Afghanistan whole-sale wouldn't impact the mission there.

    All the "surge" did in Iraq was to FINALLY add BARELY enough troops to Iraq to allow for bare-minimum safety and coverage for our allies and friendly citizens. The "surge" was not a brilliant piece of strategy. It was simply adding troops that should have been there in the first place. It doesn't take a genius to come up with some sort of master doctrine to realize the basic math of a "safe" invasion. More troops = more presence on the ground = more safety.

    Bush never had a doctrine. He had a teleprompter and horrendously unqualified crooks giving him bad advice at best and the wholesale negligence of our troops at worst.

    December 6, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Dale

    When or if Obamas plan fails, Bush will still get the the blame even though it's Obamas war now.

    December 6, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. My head hurts

    Obama like Bush.
    Does not compute.

    December 6, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. Nevada dude

    that is Partisan spin if I ever heard it. the Bush Doctrine claims America has the right to pre-emptive attack; to characterize an existing military operation as pre-emption is absurd by definition. This is more of a correction of Bush's war policy, because it more adequately resources the mission already there. calling that a "surge" could only possibly make sense to an underachiever.

    December 6, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. This reminds me of the Katie Curic Braintrust

    I think it's funny that all the negative commenters on this article seem a bit fuzzy over what the "Bush Doctrine" is. I seem to remember a certain 'news' woman asked Sarah Palin about it out of context. Because she didn't have a good answer she's the dumbest person in the country and yet all of you are obviously not remembering it correctly either.

    If you've misstated the "Bush Doctrine" in your comment you have a new title. Dumber than Sarah Palin. That doesn't mean anything to me, but I bet it does to you.

    December 6, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Trang

    I though Matalin was smart until now. It's not the external that drives things, it's the internal ... the thought processes, that drives things, and that is a miles apart between the two. Bush fights with guts, Obama fights with intelligence ... miles apart ... there's no comparison.

    December 6, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. Matt

    Who cares? It's stuff like this that makes me happy I cancelled my voter registration

    December 6, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. jimmm

    Like Bush? How, Bush ignored Afganistan for 5 years while we invaded Iraq.

    December 6, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. bcdc

    Can't compare at all, Obama and all of his sheep are trying to destroy the USA – just read most of the comments on this anti-USA comment page.

    December 6, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Terry from West Texas

    To the contrary, Obama's approach to military strategy does not resemble Geo. W. Bush at all. Bush liked to shoot from the hip, Conservative style. It only takes a Conservative a second or two to decide the fate of the nation. Bush only agreed to the surge after years of bumbling, fumbling, stumbling, top-gun blundering before he finally sat down with his generals and listened to them.

    Obama, I have read, was chairman of ten strategy sessions in which he listened to all points of view, appointed people to play Devil's Desciple, and considered all arguments carefully before deciding on an approach. This president is proceeding reasonably. I trust his team's judgement so far. Let's let him do the job as he thinks best.

    Let us also remember that no war goes as planned. War is a dynamic thing. WWII certainly didn't go as Hitler planned, nor as Stalin planned, nor as Churchill planned. The war you start is seldom the war you finish.

    December 6, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. Joe

    Wrong Matalin. The Afghan surge resemble Obama as an Indian chief attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan. George Bush retired about a year ago.

    December 6, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  18. Joseph

    There is no question that Obama is exactly following Bush's doctrines. He thought he could do something completely different from Bush's strategies, because he was elected simply by not being Bush. Having dithering for so long and wasted 3-4 months to hold a dozen of meetings with his civil and military advisors, he still ends up to follow Bush's doctrines. Hahahaha, how intelligent he and the ultra liberals have claimed he is, but he is clearly not. Remember, Kerry claimed that Bush was dumb in 2004, but Kerry was much more stupid at Yale than Demacrupts said Bush was!

    December 6, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Wade

    Well... if Bush had of 'surged' Afghanistan 8 years ago, instead of securing the oil wells in Iraq, maybe we would be looking at a Walmart opening in Kandahar this xmas, instead of a new morgue...

    December 6, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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