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September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin Interview=Opposite Day
Posted by Patrick Barry

When it comes to foreign policy, Sarah Palin's 'blizzard of words' is fast becoming a torrent of massively contradictory or just plain-wrong assertions.  Here's the latest from tonight's interview with Katie Couric:

"And as I say, Katie, that we cannot withdraw in Iraq.  That's not gonna get us any better off in Afghanistan either. And as our leaders are telling us in our military, we do need to ramp it up in Afghanistan,"

This is, of course, wrong. Our military leaders have actually said just the opposite, stating repeatedly that our troop commitments in Iraq constrain our options in Afghanistan, preventing us from answering the pleas from NATO-ISAF Commander General David McKiernan for more forces, and contributing to a climate of worsening violence and instability.  Take a look:

“I don’t have troops I can reach for...I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq.” - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen

“[W]ithout changing deployment patterns, without changing length of tours we do not have the forces to send three additional brigade combat teams to Afghanistan at this point. My view is that those forces will become available probably during the spring and summer of 2009.” - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

"My predecessor asked for a minimum of three brigade combat teams (about 10,000 soldiers). I have said that was a valid requirement. But since I got here I have asked for some additional forces in the east." - ISAF-NATO commander, General David McKiernan

(Note: This request is on top of the troop deployments promised by President Bush two weeks ago.)

It gets worse.  According to General James Cartwright, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, even if we were to re-deploy more quickly from Iraq, we still might not be able to meet the troop demands in Afghanistan:

“If we reduced our troop presence in Iraq more quickly, would we be able to meet our U.S. commander in Afghanistan’s request more quickly?” Cartwright responded, “We would not be able to meet the entirety of that request.” He followed with, “We could meet part of it.” - General James Cartwright

So I guess the M.O. from now on has to be that whenever Sarah Palin says something about foreign policy, it's pretty safe to assume the opposite.


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