Afghanistan: Fact Check Time
President Obama made a number of claims last night in an attempt to sell America on an increased military force in Afghanistan. Here’s how they stack up:
OBAMA: “Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead.”
THE FACTS: Obama’s confidence skirts years of mostly empty-handed American efforts to get others, including allies in NATO, to deepen their commitment to combat in Afghanistan.
One reason, which Obama did not mention, is that other countries, particularly those in Europe, have viewed the conflict – and its likely solution – much differently than Washington. They have seen it primarily as a humanitarian and reconstruction mission, rather than a counterinsurgency fight. And they have pushed for greater nonmilitary means of addressing Afghanistan’s instability.
OBAMA:”…The Pakistani Army has waged an offensive in Swat and South Waziristan. And there is no doubt that the United States and Pakistan share a common enemy.”
THE FACTS:…Among the groups not yet confronted directly by the Pakistan army: al-Qaida, whose top leader, Osama bin Laden, is believed to be hiding on the Pakistan side of the border…
OBAMA: “Let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war.”
THE FACTS: He is correct, despite being accused by former Vice President Dick Cheney of dithering by taking the autumn to review options for Afghanistan.Click here for reuse options!
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