Deja Vu All Over Again: Former Bush War Spox Defends Obama’s Surge


Dan Senor spent years defending President George W. Bush’s war strategy as spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Today, the Republican National Committee made him available to reporters so he could put on his war strategy defender hat again for President Obama.

Senor criticized the length of time it’s taken Obama to make a decision about a strategy for Afghanistan, but he said that now that the details are out, Obama’s plan to add troops to the conflict “is a really good decision.” Much as he did during the years of the Iraq occupation under Bush, Senor then called on reporters to take the long view.

“It’s going to take a couple of years to see real, coherent progress,” Senor said. “We need to give the president time.”Senor said Obama’s plan to add troops will likely mean the summer of 2010 will be deadlier for both sides than this summer was. But he said that the extra fighting will pay off in the long run.

“The real comparison needs to be the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2009,” he said.

Senor acknowledged Obama was facing criticism from the left on his decision to step up the war in Afghanistan over the opposition of some inside his administration, but in another moment of deja vu on the RNC call, Senor said it was clear Obama had taken all views into account before making his decision.

“I don’t think anyone can argue that the President did not have a robust internal debate,” he said. “No one can argue that the President wasn’t fully informed.”

Though he praised Obama’s plans for Afghanistan, Senor admitted it was strange to essentially be doing the job he did under Bush a year into Obama’s presidency.

“If you had told me Obama would have doubled the number of troops in Afghan and not significantly reduced our presence in Iraq,” he said, “I would have had a hard time believing it.”