Bush Officials, RNC Praise Obama's Afghan Knowledge And Surge Strategy
Two prominent Bush administration officials are publicly praising President Obama for his decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan.
In an incredibly rare occurrence, the Republican National Committee hosted a conference call on Tuesday in which the featured speaker, Dan Senor, a former Bush spokesman in Iraq, applauded the White House and said he was "quite encouraged by the president's decision."
"It sounds to me based on what we know that it is a very good decision and I applaud him [for it]," Senor said. "If you would haves said to me that a year into this administration that he would have doubled our troop presence in Afghanistan... Plus not reduced our troops meaningfully in Iraq. And if you had told me he would have fired General [David] McKiernan and replaced him with General [Stanley] McChrystal (a surge proponent)... I would have had a hard time believing it. So I am pleasantly surprised."
Senor wasn't finished with the flattery. While stressing that he would have preferred that Obama had made his decision sooner, he ventured to call the president "an expert" on Afghanistan, owing to the length of deliberations. "He is clearly educated about it," Senor said.
Senor also urged critics of the president to be patient in allowing his Afghan policy to play out -- a proposition that will definitely be tested in the months and years ahead. "There will be a rush to compare 2010 to 2009 and say it is not working," Senor predicted. "The real comparison should be to compare the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2009."
Noting that the additional 30,000 troops will reportedly be deployed to Afghanistan by May 2010, Senor said: "If that is the case that is terrific. I think you will see improvements in Afghanistan quite quickly."
The former chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq wasn't the only one-time Bush hand to lavish praise on the current president. Appearing on NBC's "Today Show" Tuesday morning, Karl Rove said that if reports of a 30,000-plus-troop surge were true, it constituted "a definitive action."
"And if the president does do that, I'll be among the first to stand up and applaud," Rove said.