Terrific catch by Stephen Hayes from this afternoon’s Afghanistan testimony by Lt. Gen. John Allen. I can’t help but wonder: Why would the White House lie and claim that Obama’s withdrawal plan was within the range of options presented to him by Petraeus? I thought the next 18 months were going to be all about Obama going with his gut. Wingin’ it, if you will.
His gut told him that he needs to get reelected, and the easiest way to do that was to yank as many troops as possible out of the country no matter what it might mean for the war. That was the only “range of options” that mattered.
So he winged it.
In response to questioning from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Allen testified that Obama’s decision on the pace and size of Afghanistan withdrawals was “a more aggressive option than that which was presented.”
Graham pressed him. “My question is: Was that a option?”
Allen: “It was not.”
Allen’s claim, which came under oath, contradicts the line the White House had been providing reporters over the past week—that Obama simply chose one option among several presented by General David Petraeus. In a conference call last Wednesday, June 22, a reporter asked senior Obama administration officials about those options. “Did General Petraeus specifically endorse this plan, or was it one of the options that General Petraeus gave to the president?”
The senior administration official twice claimed that the Obama decision was within the range of options the military presented to Obama.
Follow the link up top for a full transcript of what that senior administration official said last week. Are Hayes and I missing some nuance in the quotes? It’s one thing if the White House wants to squander the surge in the name of winning next year, but at least own it. Don’t use Petraeus as the fig leaf for a terrible, electorally motivated war “strategy.” Good lord.