Hannity falsely suggested Obama set out plan for Afghanistan only after his visit -- but he has called for more troops for years

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Sean Hannity falsely suggested on his radio show that Sen. Barack Obama "c[ame] up" with his plan for Afghanistan, including calling for the deployment of more troops there, only after his recent visit to the country. But Obama has been calling for an increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan since at least 2006 and has specifically proposed the addition of at least two combat brigades since 2007.

Nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity falsely suggested during his July 22 broadcast that Sen. Barack Obama "c[ame] up" with his plan for Afghanistan, including calling for the deployment of more troops there, only after his recent visit to the country, aligning himself with "President Bush, John McCain, the Joint Chiefs, France, Britain, other countries." In fact, in a July 15 speech -- before his trip to Aghanistan -- Obama said, "Our troops and our NATO allies are performing heroically in Afghanistan, but I have argued for years that we lack the resources to finish the job because of our commitment to Iraq," and proposed "send[ing] at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions -- with fewer restrictions -- from NATO allies." Moreover, Obama has been calling for an increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan since at least 2006 and has specifically proposed the addition of at least two combat brigades since 2007.

Hannity said:

President Bush, John McCain, the Joint Chiefs, France, Britain, other countries, you know, they've -- they're out there. They're already have been saying that we need more troops in Afghanistan. They've been saying it for weeks and months. Obama didn't come up with this idea. He's in Afghanistan for two hours and he comes out, "We need more troops on the ground. I can tell, I'm here, I know."

Obama has long talked about the need for more troops in Afghanistan. For instance:

  • In a November 20, 2006, speech, Obama asserted:

The President should announce to the Iraqi people that our policy will include a gradual and substantial reduction in U.S. forces. ... I am not suggesting that this timetable be overly rigid. We cannot compromise the safety of our troops, and we should be willing to adjust to realities on the ground. ... Perhaps most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan, where our lack of focus and commitment of resources has led to an increasing deterioration of the security situation there. The President's decision to go to war in Iraq has had disastrous consequences for Afghanistan -- we have seen a fierce Taliban offensive, a spike in terrorist attacks, and a narcotrafficking problem spiral out of control. Instead of consolidating the gains made by the Karzai government, we are backsliding towards chaos. By redeploying from Iraq to Afghanistan, we will answer NATO's call for more troops and provide a much-needed boost to this critical fight against terrorism.

  • In a January 19, 2007, statement on the floor of the Senate regarding the proposed troop "surge" in Iraq, Obama argued for "a gradual and substantial reduction in U.S. forces." He stated: "Drawing down our troops in Iraq will put pressure on Iraqis to arrive at the political settlement that is needed and allow us to redeploy additional troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region, as well as bring some back home."
  • On August 1, 2007, Obama specifically called for the addition of at least two U.S. brigades in Afghanistan during a speech in Washington, D.C., Obama said:

When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.

The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

[...]

Ending the war will help isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out. It will also allow us to direct badly needed resources to Afghanistan. Our troops have fought valiantly there, but Iraq has deprived them of the support they need-and deserve. As a result, parts of Afghanistan are falling into the hands of the Taliban, and a mix of terrorism, drugs, and corruption threatens to overwhelm the country. As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to reinforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban. As we step up our commitment, our European friends must do the same, and without the burdensome restrictions that have hampered NATO's efforts. We must also put more of an Afghan face on security by improving the training and equipping of the Afghan Army and Police, and including Afghan soldiers in U.S. and NATO operations.

  • Obama reiterated his call for adding brigades in Afghanistan during a September 12, 2007, speech, in which he said: "When we end this war in Iraq, we can finally finish the fight in Afghanistan. That is why I propose stepping up our commitment there, with at least two additional combat brigades and a comprehensive program of aid and support to help Afghans help themselves."
  • On December 18, 2007, Obama stated during a foreign policy forum in Des Moines, Iowa: "Six years after we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan -- the origin of the 9-11 attacks -- we still don't have our priorities straight. That's why it's time to stop funding a failed policy, to remove our combat brigades from Iraq, and to increase our military, political, and economic commitment to Afghanistan."
  • During a March 12 speech, Obama said:

When I spoke out against the war, I said that I was not opposed to all wars. In fact, one of the central reasons why I opposed going to war in Iraq is that we had yet to finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. That remains true today. That is why I have consistently called for an increased commitment to Afghanistan, and why I called last August for at least two additional combat brigades to support our mission there. And that is why I will end the war in Iraq when I am President, and focus on finishing the job in Afghanistan.

From the July 22 broadcast of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: Don't know what we are seeing. Fake interviews coming from the liberal media, fake interviews. And as for the spin, I demonstrated yesterday: President Bush, John McCain, the Joint Chiefs, France, Britain, other countries, you know, they've -- they're out there. They're already have been saying that we need more troops in Afghanistan. They've been saying it for weeks and months. Obama didn't come up with this idea. He's in Afghanistan for two hours and he comes out, "We need more troops on the ground. I can tell, I'm here, I know." As if, you know, everything is -- is just -- I'm telling you. It's just -- it's frustrating to me because you know what's happening, and yet people are going to buy this, some people hook, line, and sinker.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Afghanistan
Network/Outlet
ABC Radio Networks
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
The Sean Hannity Show
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