Romney first calls for Afghan troop withdrawal then yesterday says surge a success

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Two days before a major address by President Obama on Afghanistan, in which he’s expected to announce the drawdown of 33,000 troops, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has again changed his message on Afghanistan.

In Denver yesterday, Romney said the Afghan surge should be seen as one of Obama’s successes, as reported by The Denver Post.

But in covering the Romney press conference (starting at the six minute mark in this video), Denver reporters didn’t ask Romney how this squares with his statement during June 13 GOP presidential debate that U.S. troops should be brought home as soon as possible:

“It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can – as soon as our generals think it’s okay,” Romney said. “One lesson we’ve learned in Afghanistan is that Americans cannot fight another nation’s war of independence.”

Does Romney think that the surge was a success, America has achieved its goals, and so the U.S. is now ready to go home?

And how do both of Romney’s recent statements comport with his Dec. 2009 comments on CNN that he may have added even more U.S. troops to the Afghan surge, if he had been President?

These questions, flowing from Romney’s statements about Obama’s successful surge in Afghanistan, went unasked during Romney’s visit to Denver yesterday.

As recently as January of this year, Romney said U.S. troops should not leave Afghanistan, according to a Boston Globe report.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ralphie says:

    is that he has no fucking clue what he believes.

    That makes it really hard to tell the people what he believes.

  2. cdsmith says:

    there’s nothing inconsistent here… apparently he thinks the additional forces were a good idea, thinks he might have sent more himself, and that they shouldn’t have been removed in January; but not believes that they did their job, succeeded, and should come home.

    Romney isn’t the only person to have those thoughts, either… it looks like Barack Obama agrees with him.

    • ellbee says:

      It would be nice to have a President that doesn’t make war decisions based completely and solely on political considerations, focus groups, and internal polls.

      • BlueCat says:

        So you’re saying that since Obama and Mittens appear to agree for the good reasons cdsmith cites, kudos to both of them? Who’d a thunk?

        • ellbee says:

          Obama took 9 months to ignore his generals the first time, I guess at least he’s being ignorant of them in a more timely manner now.

            • ellbee says:

              The President took 9 months to come up with the first ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, which was less than what most of his generals told him he’d need for success, and now he’s timing withdrawals along political, and not military success lines.

              IMO, not a way to win a war.

                • ellbee says:

                  Eradication of Taliban and AQ.

                  • Ralphie says:

                    So was Iraq.  We just didn’t like the people in charge.

                    AQ has moved on to different countries.  Are we going to invade them all?

                    Afghanistan will always have a theocracy whether it’s called the Taliban or not.

                    None of what you propose sounds tangible enough to be considered a “win.”

                  • BlueCat says:

                    How many decades, how many billions a week and how much blood (other people’s, not yours) do you want to spend on this project, Elbee? One decade down, how many to go?  You’re a fool if you think your “win” is achievable in the foreseeable future. Or if you think, even in the absence of Taliban, it would all be nice and stable and west friendly. Do you know anything about the last few thousand years of Afghan history? Interesting story about a single British doctor being the only survivor of one particularly nasty British withdrawal.

                    The most remarkable thing about it is how much remains pretty much the same over all those centuries and how similar the fate of centuries worth of various invaders. Everybody eventually goes home empty handed and every Afghan knows that they will. It’s just a matter of how much it’s going to cost us before we join the club.  

          • SSG_Dan says:

            You’re revising history again – and you should know better that I’ll call you on it.

            Obama is sworn into office in Jan 09. After consulting with lots of advisors (civilian and military) he announces his plan on Mar 28th, 2009:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/

            The process was extremely well–planned and focused on getting overwhelming force on the Taliban right away rather than trickling them into theater:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12

            Forces starting arriving in Dec 2009 in AFPAK:

            http://www.cbsnews.com/stories

            Spout your made-up bullshit somewhere else.President Obama did not wait 9 months to start making plans for AFPAK – he started on it right after he got into office! And those plans were implemented within 9 months.

            Did I mention I call BULLSHIT on you?

            • ellbee says:

              http://www.cbsnews.com/stories

              Mr. Obama formally ends a 92-day review of the war in Afghanistan Tuesday night with a nationally broadcast address in which he will lay out his revamped strategy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He began rolling out his decision Sunday night, informing key administration officials, military advisers and foreign allies in a series of private meetings and phone calls that stretched into Monday.

              Military officials said at least one group of Marines is expected to deploy within two or three weeks of Mr. Obama’s announcement, and would be in Afghanistan by Christmas. Larger deployments wouldn’t be able to follow until early in 2010.

              The initial infusion is a recognition by the administration that something tangible needs to happen quickly, officials said. The quick addition of Marines would provide badly needed reinforcements to those fighting against Taliban gains in the southern Helmand province, and could lend reassurance to both Afghans and a war-weary U.S. public.

              Speaking to “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith Tuesday morning, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the months-long process of deliberation Mr. Obama took to make his final decision.

              “Everybody involved really worked hard with the President to make this policy better than it would have been had we announced it after only a week,” said Gibbs.

              Thirty thousand more troops would be 10,000 fewer than Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, requested, reports CBS News correspondent David Martin. The president hopes to make up at least some of the difference with contributions from NATO allies.

              • SSG_Dan says:

                Adopting the ‘tad method of changing the subject to avoid looking like an asshat?

                You said he ignored his Generals for 9 months before he did anything. Those links posted above proved you’re spouting BULLSHIT.

                McSpook wanted 10K more than he got…that’s what happens in the military. He asked for the whole store, and the CiC decided he got 90% of it.

                BTW, how’s his Army career these days?

    • BlueCat says:

      I doubt that anything like what you describe is behind the latest one. But you  are right that sometimes people change their minds for perfectly good reasons, such as perceiving a changing reality or understanding that past perceptions may have been mistaken.  Every change of stance on issues doesn’t deserve to be derided as a flip-flop.  Just don’t see much evidence that Mitten’s are predicated on principle rather than political expedience. But, to be fair, I’m considering it. Done. Considered and rejected as too far fetched.

    • 20th Maine says:

      His statements don’t conflict.  We sent troops in.  They’ve done a great job.  Time to deliberate seriously about getting them out.  I’m glad he’s taken this position and I’m glad that Obama is doing so as well.

      Not sure what the point of this thread is.

    • Romney got caught in the span of two years being a talking point robot depending on his audience. That’s why he was praising the hawkish position on Afghanistan in 2009, but criticizing timelines, because that’s how Republicans were supposed to attack Obama back then. Now he’s criticizing the Afghanistan war and saying we should leave, because that’s where the polls are, and he’s getting national attention for it, but he has to square these feelings with his old position. But that won’t stop him from sounding different themes in front of small groups or local media.

      The weather vane meme is going to keep getting traction.

      • BlueCat says:

        “to be fair” from cd and “to be accurate” from you.  Guess we’re the “fair and accurate” blog.  Uh-oh…  In any case viewing Mittens every convenient change as a merely coincidental matter of principle having nothing to do with audience, feedback or political ambitions is tough to swallow.  I think that’s what the thread is about, Maine. To swallow or not to swallow Mittens as an exemplar of principled  integrity. And yes, I know.  Dems have expedient revelations, too. Fair and accurate all round.

  3. ClubTwitty says:

    GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is calling for big U.S. troop reductions in Afghanistan, hours ahead of President Obama’s speech tonight detailing his withdrawal plan.

    Huntsman, who launched his presidential bid Tuesday, said this morning on CNN that the United States can go beyond Obama’s reported plans to withdraw 30,000 U.S. forces by the end of 2012.

    “I think we can go beyond that,” Huntsman said in the CNN interview. “…At some point, the 100,000 troops on the ground will have to be taken out substantially.”

    http://content.usatoday.com/co

    • ellbee says:

      He has zero chance of getting the nomination.  

      • ClubTwitty says:

        On the second point.  I think that the GOP will nominate a clown, however, thus I believe your post is somewhat of a non-sequitur.

        It is because he is reasonable he will be by-passed…

        Romney might get it, but he keeps opening his mouth and saying things that could be construed as reasonable–like a belief in science.  Then opening his mouth again, with an opposite position.  That will not do.  

        Bachmann still has time to flame out, Palin wants to sell books so she’ll stay out, but keep suggesting she just might, ya know?, to keep the interest and proceeds rolling in, and perhaps to get another family vacation or two out of her Sarah PAC contributors.

        T-Paw might break double digits eventually.  Rick Perry, third world governor and would be secessionist?  Roan Paul?  The pizza guy who believes in a religious test in the US for public service (hey, the Constitution never meant we should allow non-Christians to serve!)?

        Or, perhaps, Newt will take the world by storm reaching out to the kids who clearly make up his base via all that exciting ‘new’ stuff like the intertubz!  

        I know maybe it’ll be Little Ricky ‘so what if its incest’ Santorum?  

        That Huntsman is the least clown-like among them is, in fact, his greatest liability.  

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