Stephen Hayes has the Obami nailed regarding two scurrilous charges they had hurled at George W. Bush:
First, that the Bush administration had no real Afghanistan policy and failed for eight years to ask the important questions about the war there. And second, that the Bush administration ignored requests from commanders on the ground to increase troops in Afghanistan.
Turns out that neither is true and the first is particularly galling given that the Obama team received the extensive review (conducted by the Bush administration’s General Doug Lute) and asked that it not be released publicly:
[Obama National Security Advisor James] Jones asked [Bush NSA Stephen] Hadley not to release the results of the Lute review so that his boss would have more flexibility when it came time to provide direction for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Bush officials reasoned that Obama was more likely to heed their advice if he could simply adopt their recommendations without having to acknowledge that they came from the Bush White House. So Hadley agreed.
Yes, shocking as it may be, the Obami are making stuff up. And what’s more, it turns out that in conducting its own review earlier this year, the Obama team essentially cribbed from the Bush team’s work. (“Obama’s ‘new’ strategy bore an uncanny resemblance to that prescribed by the Lute review”).
And as for refusing the troop request, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls foul. And he should be in a position to know, of course.
What to make of this? Well, it seems as though the most “transparent” administration in history operates, at least in its “public” diplomacy, by deceit. The administration released the enhanced-interrogation memos but held back documentation substantiating that the techniques had worked. The president announces that he will look forward, not backward, with regard to CIA operatives but has unleashed Attorney General Eric Holder to gin up a special prosecutor to re-investigate CIA employees. The administration knew of the Qom facility yet remained silent and clung to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which declared that Iran had shut down its weapons program. And now the administration, lacking the will or the management skill to announce a new Afghanistan war policy, has concocted blatant lies about the preceding administration.
This administration’s thin skin is not its only point of similarity with the Nixon White House. It seems as though they also share an aversion to truth-telling.