Anxious, it seems, to dispel the idea that the New America Foundation supports peace in Afghanistan, today the NAF scrounged up a former adviser to none other than Dick Cheney to spew nonsense about the failing occupation of Afghanistan as a “war of necessity.”
The NAF forum today followed last week’s release of a study by the Afghanistan Study Group that called into question the very premises of the war and suggested a sharp drawdown of US forces by 2011. The ASG study was organized by Steve Clemons, senior fellow and director of the American Strategy Program at NAF, who helped assemble a team of nearly fifty experts, academics, and policy analysts who issued a report entitled “A New Way Forward: Rethinking US Strategy in Afghanistan.”
On Tuesday, the NAF presented the other side, bringing Bergen and the former Cheney aide, Michael Waltz, to a forum that sounded dire warnings about the stakes in the war.
Waltz, who advised Cheney in 2008 and who served in Afghanistan as a US army commander in charge of a Special Forces unit, said that he’d been holding his tongue until now, refusing invitations from various thinktanks—presumably including the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. But on Tuesday, Waltz declared that he couldn’t stand it any longer, because he was “so disturbed…by the Afghanistan Study Group” and its report. Hefty, square-shouldered and square-jawed, the former military officer blasted President Obama’s decision to announce a timetable for starting the withdrawal of US forces in July, 2011. The war, he said, is a “war of necessity…not an optional effort,” and he said that the United States “must prevail.”
"I was mortified at the July 11 announcement,” he intoned. Because of it, he warned, tribal elders and other leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan concluded that the United States is pulling out, and no longer want to work with the United States. Not only that, but he complained that the United States isn’t spending enough money nor sending enough soldiers to Afghanistan, despite Obama’s two surges that nearly tripled the American commitment. “We still haven’t resourced it properly,” he muttered.