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Cenk Uygur

Cenk Uygur

Posted: October 14, 2009 12:27 PM

Did Bush Screw Up Afghanistan Worse Than Iraq?

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Right now, there is a debate as to what President Obama should do in Afghanistan. As there should be. Should he send in more troops? Does it make sense to escalate the war without a viable partner in the Afghan government? Will this be his Vietnam? Woh, woh, woh ... whose Vietnam?

What is not being talked about enough is the disastrous situation George Bush left for Obama in Afghanistan (as he did in just about every aspect of government). What the hell did Bush do in Afghanistan for over seven years? Apparently, not a damn thing.

Do you know how many troops Bush had in Afghanistan in early 2008? He had an unbelievably small contingent of 26,000 troops in the whole country. At the same time, he had 160,000 troops in Iraq. I don't know if you know this, but Iraq did not attack us. The people who did attack us on 9/11 lived in ... Afghanistan.

Now, that's past tense of course. The leadership of Al Qaeda now resides in Pakistan. Why? Because that's where Bush let them escape without much effort. I've written before about how Bush let Osama bin Laden get away, it appeared without trying very much at all. But here's what you can't argue with - Bush did not try at all in Afghanistan. He didn't give a damn. 26,000 troops -- are you kidding me? Right now, we're having a debate if 65,000 troops are anywhere near enough or if we need 40,000 more troops.

Bush's gross indifference to the war in Afghanistan is being overlooked, understandably because of how badly he mangled the other war he started. But there is an excellent case to be made that Bush screwed up the Afghanistan War more than the Iraq War. It's a hell of a competition. In the one case, he tried, which is usually disastrous for him. And in the other, he didn't even bother, which can be argued is morally worse. What was the mission of our troops there for all those years? What did they die for?


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UPDATE: AOL Poll -- Which war did Bush screw up worse? Iraq or Afghanistan. Vote here.

 

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