During ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Arianna and Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta sparred over President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Arianna argued that the President has twice failed to make a coherent case for why America's national security interests are threatened by Afghanistan.
Asked about Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Arianna said, "For me, the main problem I have is the same problem I had with the West Point speech. He said, 'my job is to protect the American people from threats.' Of course, everybody would agree with that. But he has not defined what the threats from Afghanistan are ... He did not define them at any point. That's, at the moment, the main problem with his credibility. Because where are the threats coming from? The Taliban? The 100 al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan? And remember, in 2002, he gave a defining speech that in many ways is responsible for his being president, which was against the war in Iraq, when he said, 'I'm not against all wars, I'm against a dumb war.' Right now, Afghanistan is the gold standard of a dumb war -- immoral and unnecessary."
Podesta defended the president, saying that Obama had explained that his Afghan policy was tied to the September 11 attacks.
"I think he was fairly clear in the context of both speeches he gave that we need to go after the people that attacked us," Podesta argued. "And I think they've done that. You could argue about whether this is the right strategy to do that. But they're effectively using predators in Pakistan, they're doing more in Pakistan there over the last ten months ..."
Arianna interjected, noting that Podesta's defense echoed a line of argument often used by the Bush administration during the war in Iraq: "You now sound like George Bush -- 'the people that attacked us.'"
"That's the first time I've been accused of that," Podesta said with surprise.
"The people who attacked us are not in Afghanistan," Arianna said. Podesta responded, "[They're] in Pakistan." Arianna countered, "We're not sending 30,000 more troops to Pakistan." Podesta pointed again to the drone strikes in Pakistan, and Arianna responded that it wasn't a war in Pakistan that Obama had spoken of at West Point. "That's not what he announced. The U.S. escalation is in Afghanistan."
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