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Conservatives Say Michael Steele Should Resign Over Afghan War Remarks

5 years ago
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Conservative strategist William Kristol, former South Carolina party chairman Katon Dawson and other Republicans are calling for the resignation of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele over Steele's suggestion that the U.S. effort in Afghanistan is doomed.

At a fundraiser in Noank, Conn., Steele blamed the U.S. troubles in Afghanistan on the Obama administration and expressed doubts about coalition forces' ability to succeed in the violence-torn country.

"Keep in mind again, for our federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing," Steele said. "This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

"It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan," Steele said, referring to Obama's insistence during the presidential campaign that the U.S. should be focused on Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

"Well, if he's such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan."

Former president George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to Afghanistan in October 2001 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks by terrorists based there. Obama has said publicly for at least eight years that while he opposed the invasion of Iraq, he supported the war in Afghanistan.

Steele's comments, including using the word "comical" to describe the events leading to the forced resignation of Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal, sparked an outcry from commentators as a video of his remarks made its way around the Internet.

"You are, I know, a patriot," Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, wrote in an open letter to Steele. "So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party."

Kristol added: "Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not 'a war of Obama's choosing.' It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort...There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they're certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn't be the chairman of the Republican party."

Activist Erick Erickson wrote on his influential RedState blog: "Michael Steele must resign. He has lost all moral authority to lead the GOP."

Dawson, who competed with Steele for the chairman's job last year, told CNN: "The RNC should do the responsible thing and show Steele the door. Enough is enough." Several other conservatives said in blog and Twitter posts that they agreed.

Steele backed away from his remarks at mid-day in a statement of support for the troops. "There is no question that America must win the war on terror," he said. "The stakes are too high for us to accept anything but success in Afghanistan."

The Friday fundraiser was not the first time Steele's tendency to wander off-script has surprised and embarrassed his party.

Early this year, he released a book called "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda" and took off on a publicity tour that was a surprise to elected officials, who thought they were supposed to be setting the party's course while Steele raised money and took care of infrastructure. Steele also suggested the Republican Party needed a "hip-hop" makeover, and started a blog called "What Up?" Under his leadership, the committee also endured "Bondage-gate," in which staffers were reimbursed for entertaining contributors at a Los Angeles strip club.

Filed Under: Gaffes, Afghanistan, Video

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Please don't get rid of him! He is no threat to Democrats and continues to display poor judgement and character and in so doing exposes what a mess the republiecon party is. This is what happens when the only strategy your party has is to oppose everything that can help the country.

July 07 2010 at 10:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

So much for the republiecon party use of a token black man as a gimmick to appear like they are somehow diverse......we all know the truth. Steele let his position and what little power he thought he had go to his head. Repubs should at least attempt to think before just spitting out their hatred constantly.

July 07 2010 at 10:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In the words of a former mayor of Detroit,MI (deceased),when confronted with a sim ular situation,"YOU BETTER KEEP THE DEVILS YOU KNOW,THAN GET THE DEVILS YOU DON'T KNOW...BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL DEVILS".__Coleman A.Young(paraphrased)

July 07 2010 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

he is right. no place for the usa

July 06 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael Steele, needs to resign, OBAMA, Was sworn in on January 20, 2009. this war was going on then. America wants to blame this president for everything that THAT GEORGE BUSH ANDHIS TEAM IS THE PERSON TO BLAME.

July 06 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Never unstood why republicans believe we have to be at war in the middle east forever. Yet when someone says we have to raise taxes to pay for these wars they go nuts.

July 06 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kingnus's comment

That is because war is big business for republiecons. War is an opportunity for them to line the pockets of their buddies like Halliburton and such at the expense of the tax payers. Then the warring companies turn around and put millions into the coffers of the republiecon party so they can live high on the hog while trying to win more elections. Republiecons also see war as a form of population control as long as the lower class citizens are are doing the fighting and dying and not their own family members.

July 07 2010 at 10:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Well he should at least make a public apology !

July 05 2010 at 9:10 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jachermans7's comment

You have to remember that we are talking about the republiecons here, they claim to never have ever done anything wrong and since this is what they believe, they never make amends or apologize for anything. Steele is stuck in his ways and will not apologize. Instead he tries some half measure back pedaling and attempts to rephrase what he said.

July 07 2010 at 10:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"The war on terror cannot be won" - G.W. Bush - What short memories many of you have.

July 05 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vobox3343's comment

In this case, I totally agree with wittle Bushy. Think about it......getting rid of every group/person that hates the USA is impossible.......and in our attempts to eradicate those who hate us, we are in fact causing even more damage by creating even more enemies who are caught in the crossfire of the ill fated melee.

July 07 2010 at 10:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Bring our troops home!
Semper Fi

July 05 2010 at 1:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lostcorner's comment

right on lostcorner,i 1000% agree.

July 05 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even though what Michael Steel states is true, he should not have politicized the War. I personally, believe Steel has the Afgan history correct. For over 1000 years wars have been fought and never won in that god forsaken region! . Even if we see temporary victory, it will be just that because the people of Afghanistan do not have a reason to fight. They have nothing of value to give their lives for. The only way the US can succeed is to completely subdue and destroy the Taliban. Even then, when we leave the country, they Afgans will still have nothing worth dying for. The only hope is that once they do experience a measure of "freedom" then they will fight! As great as our military is, you cannot give "freedom". It must be won and defended!

July 04 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Charles's comment

Oh please....the statements Steele made about Afghanistan and the difficulties waging war there are common knowledge. Your statement, however is incorrect about wars never being won there. We helped push the soviets out of there = victory. Maybe you and Steele should revise your statements to no invading military has ever been able to go into Afghanistan and win. We will never destroy the groups that hate the USA.

July 07 2010 at 10:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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