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Wednesday, November 4, 2009     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Cheney refutes claims Obama started from scratch in Afghanistan

The following is excerpted from an article in the current edition of

Former Vice President Dick Cheney bridles at the claim by the Obama administration that it had been forced to come up with its own plan for Afghanistan.  

Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the Center For Security Policy dinner at Union Station in Washington, on Oct. 21.     AP/Harry Hamburg
Cheney said the Bush administration handed its new strategy on Afghanistan to the Obama administration, which formed the basis for the new strategy announced in March.

“In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama's team,” Cheney said.

“They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt. The new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them.”

Also In This Edition

Cheney said the decision to do a troop surge in March was good but that “now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced.”

Cheney said Obama’s advisers have begun blaming the Bush administration rather than supporting U.S. troops.

He noted that a senior Obama adviser claimed the new administration had to start from scratch on Afghanistan.

“It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity,” Cheney said.

Cheney said that “despite our success in Iraq — we're hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan.”

“These criticisms carry the same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of national security,” he said.

Cheney said President Obama appears “afraid to make a decision” and unable to back the ground commander with the troops needed for completing the mission.

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