December 7th, 2009
04:48 AM ET
7 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.”

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Charlie in Maine

    Okay does that mean you hate him less or are you trying to get me to love him less........ I'd say there is a slim chance (or is it a fat chance) that either will happen.

    December 7, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Dale

    And what country has Obama invaded unneccessarily? It is one thing to start wars. It is another thing entirely to end inherited wars responsibly.

    December 7, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Joe the Troll

    What a crock. If they had worked thus far, Afghanistan would no longer be current news.

    December 7, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Rick

    You mean the lady with the keyboard neck tie?? It's okay...I wouldn't worry too much about what she has to say....

    December 7, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Tim in NC

    The Bush doctrine asserts our ability to act preemtively against threats that may or may not currently exist.

    Sending additional troops to reinforce those already in a warzone (a war which Bush started and failed to finish) is hardly preemptive. I'd hardly say Bush's tactics worked as it is another President who is cleaning up HIS wars.

    Stop spouting off lies and deceit.

    December 7, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Morass Matalin's "tie" says it all.

    This is the confused and muddled memoirs of a clown.

    The shrub had no exit strategy.

    December 7, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. Ben in Texas

    I think it's a waste of time and money to send more troops to Afghanistan, but at the same time, I don't buy the phony argument about setting a date for withdrawal. If al Qaeda and the Taliban get any news from America, they already know that we've run out of patience with the war and that we won't stay forever. They knew this from day one. Their tactic has always been to wait us out, and knowing when we might begin pulling out will not change that tactic one iota.

    The deadline should have been set before we went in there. It should have been on the order of a few months, not 8 years and counting. The objective should have been to capture or kill bin Laden and other top al Qaeda and disrupt the Taliban government as much as possible within the time limit. Instead, Bush and Cheney got us bogged down in a war that Obama is having to extract us from.

    It's too bad President Obama feels he has to give it one more try. The result will be the same, whether we pull out today or in a year and a half.

    December 7, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Tim in NC

    You'd be ripping Obama part if he didn't send the troops, so stop complaining about it! Just cause you and your Republican friends have been screwing the world up for the first 8 years of this century doesn't mean you can keep doing it now with impunity.

    If you're going to criticize, then do so constructively. Stop bashing!

    December 7, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Greg

    Obama used campaign had much of Bush's empty rhetoric, too. People vote for the best used car salesman. It would make much more sense to tighten up our borders and become better friends with China and Russia because those two countries don't want Muslim extremists obtaining more military might. Europe should be much more worried about Muslim extremists because that is their backyard not ours. The US has much more physical distance and can afford more emotional distance. If Europe doesn't ramp up then we should save our dollars and stay home. The only thing worth sending to Afghanistan is a nuclear bomb to send a message on what is going to happen if Islamic extremists take Pakistan. Israel will level Pakistan then chaos will reign until people start realizing the stupidity of it all. One day it will be self evident that Obama and Bush made horrible decisions on economic and military matters.

    December 7, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  10. Stop the war

    Unfortunately I have to agree, I don't see much difference between Bush's approach and Obama's. There is a troop surge into an amorphous and poorly understood war zone, no mention of a draft , no mention of a war tax – just shameful misuse of the troops again and again and the same speaches extolling the nation's 'sacrifice' .
    Meanwhile young men and women are still coming home in boxes and the generals are still running the show. The war machine charges ahead against all reason... what's different?????

    December 7, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. david

    I personly side with president Obama policy of troops increament because the security of world and America can not be compromise . we cant afford to lose in Ahghanistan cos the result would be disastrous. Time table for redrawal is absolutely wrong cos the redrawal would depend on situation on the ground.

    December 7, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Richie

    No, the Bush doctrine says "go attack anyone you want so they won't attach you". That's not what is going on in Afghanistan. More importantly, big O is a leader who does not find it necessary to LIE. Bush was a big LIAR.

    December 7, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. Dick Wilkinson

    Oh, Come Now! It's a different country and a different war. Also, this time there is an exit strategy, thank goodness.

    December 7, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Paul Duncan - Charlotte NC

    "And since he likes Hamburgers, clearly he's just like Nixon".

    Good gravy people.

    December 7, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Jeff from Chicago

    Same as Bush? Only Bush was better and more of a leader. (and for those doubters, the first 6 years of Bush were very prosperous, it was only the last 2 when things fell apart. What changed those last 2 years you ask? Democrats took control of Congress. Funny that democrats forget that. It's easier to blame Bush and ignore the facts. It's the democratic way!)

    obama is just a community organizer, (never a leader at anything who is getting on the job training as president. Only in America!), who gives good speeches.

    December 7, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Obama Nightmare

    It is that thought keeping Democrats up at night.

    December 7, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. A.Darton

    Don't try to make GW Bush seem like some kind of success. The truth is, President Obama shouldn't have to be trying to clean up another Bush/Cheney disaster. They started the war in Afghanistan, and it should be further along than it is now. If handle right by those two our troops should be on their way home instead going back over there.

    December 7, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. Travis in Texas

    That's like saying "cleaning my child's dirty diaper means that I embraced the act of pooping in your pants." It's our responsibility to clean up our messes, but that doesn't mean that the original cause of the problem is justified. That's just typical 'spin'.

    December 7, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. Jon Gradie

    Ms Matalin, you are right and I would add: Obama IS a mixed message. This country is suffering because of Obama's mixed messages. In other words, he doesn't know what he is doing but he thinks noone out in the country here have noticed?

    December 7, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia

    “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.”

    The problem with MATALIN is – for saying this – is that the WAR in Iraq should have NEVER started and the WAR in Afghanistan should have been ENDED – under BUSHwack and his sidekick CHENgang!! CASE and POINT!

    She states the above but also states that Obama decision is DIFFERENT because he set a DEADLINE to get out!!! Therefore, it cannot be the SAME!!!

    President Obama will end the war in Iraq and end the war in Afghanistan........... Something the PREVIOUS administration could not do!!!

    December 7, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |

    That is about as lame of a comparison as lame can be.
    There is no preparation under the window of "axis of evil" cresendo–more patience and deliberation, analysis, input from all kind of experts, not limited to a handful of cronies and lakies. Again-someone "just do not get it".

    December 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. OleSarge in Maryland

    The Bush strategy is the military's strategy. Bush followed his military leaders guidance. Obama for the most part is following his military leaders guidance. Ms. Matalin should give credit where credit is due.

    December 7, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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