Clinton Backed Obama's Withdrawal From Afghanistan "100 Percent," A Plan That Has Now Stalled And Will Be Handed Off To The Next President
- Today, Obama announced that he would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, handing off the conflict to the next president, breaking his promise to withdraw all troops before the end of his presidency.
- As Secretary of State, Clinton supported "every facet" of Obama's initial "aggressive" withdrawal plan, despite skepticism from top military officials. She even said in congressional testimony she supported the plan 100%.
- In the wake of Obama's announcement, it appears rather embarrassing that Clinton's political allies have credited her with ending the war.
Today, Obama Announced That He Would Leave "Nearly 10,000 U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Through Most Of Next Year And 5,500 When He Leaves Office In 2017, Casting Aside His Promise To End The War On His Watch And Instead Ensuring He Hands Off The Conflict To A Successor." "President Barack Obama announced plans Thursday to keep nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through most of next year and 5,500 when he leaves office in 2017, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands off the conflict to a successor." (Lolita C. Baldor and Julie Pace, "Obama Says He'll Keep More Troops In 'Fragile' Afghanistan," The Associated Press , 10/15/15)
- The New York Times Headline: "Obama Announces Halt Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal In Afghanistan" (Matthew Rosenberg, "Obama Announces Halt Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal In Afghanistan," The New York Times, 10/15/15)
"The Announcement Underscores The Difficulty Mr. Obama Has Had In Achieving One Of The Central Promises Of His Presidency" And Concedes That "Afghan Forces Are Not Fully Up To The Task Of Protecting Their Country." "But the announcement underscores the difficulty Mr. Obama has had in achieving one of the central promises of his presidency in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Obama conceded that despite more than a decade of fighting and training, Afghan forces are not fully up to the task of protecting their country." (Matthew Rosenberg, "Obama Announces Halt Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal In Afghanistan," The New York Times, 10/15/15)
DESPITE THE MILITARY'S SKEPTICISM, CLINTON SUPPORTED OBAMA'S "AGGRESSIVE" TROOP WITHDRAWAL PLAN AND INSISTED THE TRANSITION WAS "ON TRACK"
As Secretary Of State In 2011, Clinton Testified Before The Senate Foreign Relations Committee That Obama Had "Hit The Mark" With His Decision To Withdraw All Troops From Afghanistan By The End Of His Presidency. SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): "Let me ask you, do you a hundred-percent agree with what the president had to say last night?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do." CORKER: "In every facet?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do, Senator. And this was an -- a very open, candid discussion within the national security team. Obviously, people forthrightly presented their own views. It will not surprise you that the views ranged across the spectrum about what should be done and what should not be done. But I think that the president, you know, with his decision, has hit the mark." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)
When Asked If She Agreed "100 Percent" With Obama's Afghan Withdrawal Plan, Clinton Said "Yes I Do," And Said She Supported "Every Facet" Of The Announcement. BOB CORKER: "Let me ask you, do you a hundred-percent agree with what the president had to say last night?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do."CORKER: "In every facet?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do, Senator. And this was an -- a very open, candid discussion within the national security team. Obviously, people forthrightly presented their own views. It will not surprise you that the views ranged across the spectrum about what should be done and what should not be done. But I think that the president, you know, with his decision, has hit the mark." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)
- Clinton On Obama's Troop Withdrawal Plan: "But The Bottom Line…Is That We Have Broken The Taliban's Momentum. So We Do Begin This Drawdown From A Position Of Strength." CLINTON: "First, let me say a word about the military effort. Last night, the President explained his plan to begin drawing down our forces next month and transitioning to Afghan responsibility. I will leave it to my colleagues from the Defense Department to discuss the specifics. But the bottom line, as the President said, is that we have broken the Taliban's momentum. So we do begin this drawdown from a position of strength." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)
Obama's Top Defense Officials Warned That The Withdrawal Plan Was Too "Aggressive"
Top Military Commanders Criticized The Obama Administration's Withdrawal Schedule As "Aggressive." "Top military commanders told members of Congress on Thursday that President Barack Obama's scheduled withdrawal of 33,000 'surge' troops from Afghanistan by next summer is more 'aggressive' than the Pentagon initially proposed." ("Afghan Withdrawal More 'Aggressive' Than Military Proposed," CNN, 6/24/11)
- CNN Headline: "Afghan Withdrawal More 'Aggressive' Than Military Proposed" ("Afghan Withdrawal More 'Aggressive' Than Military Proposed," CNN, 6/24/11)
Admiral Mike Mullen, Then-Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Described Obama's Surge Plan As "Aggressive" And Containing "Risk." MIKE MULLEN: "And let me be candid, however. No commander ever wants to sacrifice fighting power in the middle of a war, and no decision to demand that sacrifice is ever without risk. This is particularly true in a counterinsurgency, where success is achieved not solely by technological prowess or conventional superiority, but by the wit and the wisdom of our people as they pursue terrorists and engage the local populous on a daily basis. In a counterinsurgency, firepower is manpower. I do not intend to discuss the specifics of the private advice I rendered with respect to these decisions. As I said, I support them. What I can tell you is the president's decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk that I was originally prepared to accept." (Mike Mullen, Committee On Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives, Testimony, 6/23/11)
General David Petraeus: "The Ultimate Decision Was A More Aggressive Formulation, If You Will, In Terms Of The Time Line, Than What We Had Recommended." DAVID PETRAEUS: "The president then made a decision. The commander in chief has decided. And it is then the responsibility, needless to say, of those in uniform to salute smartly and to do everything humanly possible to execute it. Now, as Chairman Mullen, Admiral Mullen, stated today before the House Armed Services Committee, the ultimate decision was a more aggressive formulation, if you will, in terms of the time line, than what we had recommended. Again, that is understandable in the sense that there are broader considerations beyond just those of a military commander." (Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)
Clinton Later Insisted The Transition In Afghanistan Was "On Track"
Clinton, 2012: "The Transition Is On Track, The Afghans Are Increasingly Standing Up For Their Own Security And Future… The Transition Can Work." CLINTON: "As difficult a week as this has been in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, the big picture is clear. The transition is on track, the Afghans are increasingly standing up for their own security and future, and NATO remains united in our support for the Lisbon timetable, and an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. The attacks in Kabul this week show us that while the threat remains real, the transition can work. The response by the Afghan National Security forces were fast and effective, and the attacks failed." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks On Afghanistan At NATO Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, 4/18/12)
- Clinton: "The Afghans Are Proving Themselves Increasingly Ready To Take Control Of Their Own Future." CLINTON: "Not long ago, this kind of response by Afghans themselves would not have been possible. So the Afghans are proving themselves increasingly ready to take control of their own future." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks On Afghanistan At NATO Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, 4/18/12)
- Clinton: "We Are On Track To Meet The December 2014 Deadline For Completing The Security Transition." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks On Afghanistan At NATO Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, 4/18/12)
AS OBAMA ABANDONS PLANS TO WITHDRAW FROM AFGHANISTAN, CLINTON'S ALLIES HAVE ODDLY PRAISED HER FOR ENDING THE WAR
The Pro-Clinton Research Group, Correct The Record, Has Repeatedly Credited Clinton With Ending The War In Afghanistan
The Pro-Clinton Research Group, Correct The Record, Has Credited Clinton With Ending The Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan. "Secretary Clinton played a role in bringing one war to an end and planning for the end of another. Working closely with Department of Defense colleagues and as part of the President's national security team, Secretary Clinton played a role in the end of war in Iraq and in beginning a transition in Afghanistan, with all NATO allies having agreed to stand-up a post withdrawal support plan. As President Obama told 60 Minutes, it was 'all a consequence of the great work that Hillary did and her team did and the State Department did in conjunction with our national security team.'" ("Attack: Hillary Clinton Had Few Achievements As Secretary Of State," Correct The Record, Accessed 10/15/15)
- Correct The Record: Clinton Began "The Transition For The End Of The War In Afghanistan." "As America's top diplomat, she spearheaded progress on some of our country's most difficult national security challenges. President Obama credited her and the State Department with helping to bring an end to the war in Iraq and beginning the transition for the end of the war in Afghanistan." (Record Analyses, Correct The Record, Accessed 10/15/15)
The Obama Administration Has Touted Clinton's Role In Bringing The War In Afghanistan To A "Conclusion"
White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice Credited Hillary Clinton With Helping "To Bring To Conclusion Two Long And Costly Wars, In Iraq And Afghanistan." SUSAN RICE: "First of all, in the first term, we were able to bring to conclusion two long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And she was very much involved in supporting those transitions." (Bloomberg's " With All Due Respect," 6/18/15)
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