Legendary news anchor Dan Rather nailed down President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy in just a few words on Tuesday while blasting it in detail in a Facebook post.
Trump’s speech was widely panned not only for lack of substance and a clear flip flop, but because he is becoming increasingly worse at giving teleprompter speeches.
Dan Rather outlined his doubts in Trump’s strategy, noting that those who advocate for escalation in Afghanistan — the longest running U.S. war — had not mapped out any strategic objectives defining what would be considered a “victory” in the war-torn nation.
“[Trump] decried nation building,” Rather said. “Again, as he spoke the words, the teleprompter reading was so noticeable that he rarely looked into the camera at the American people he was addressing. He said his instinct was to pull out, but that somehow he had changed his mind by the responsibility of sitting in the Oval Office. His history lesson, a faulty retelling of the Iraq withdrawal and a simplistic linking to 9/11, did not suggest a nuanced understanding of these complicated forces.”
“The president blamed, obliquely, his predecessor for dealing him a bad hand,” Rather said noting a typical Trump tact of blaming others for anything and everything. “But he said, ‘we will win.’ The problem is, what is victory? What is winning? We hear a lot of the word, but not much of a definition? What was not mentioned, was the rise of Iran as a major player.”
“The fight in Afghanistan is being framed as a fight against the forces unleashed in Barcelona. But the Taliban is a more complicated foe,” He continued pointing out a false analogy of the Taliban to lone wolf terrorist threats. “Afghanistan has bedeviled empires for centuries, for a reason. Mr. Trump gave lip service to diplomacy, even as his State Department is severely understaffed and rudderless.”
Rather concluded by revealing that Trump’s “new strategy” is not new at all — it is “exactly what we have been doing for the past several years.”
“The idea of shifting from time based approaches to conditions based, sounds good. But what are the conditions for success? And how do we achieve them? Those issues were left unanswered. The big headline from tonight is that there really wasn’t one.”
Rather followed up his Facebook post with a tweetstorm where he summed up Trump’s Afghanistan strategy: “Bottom line conclusion on Pres. Trump’s Afghanistan speech? We will continue to spend and bleed: no end in sight.”
Bottom line conclusion on Pres. Trump's Afghanistan speech? We will continue to spend and bleed; no end in sight.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 22, 2017
Rather’s Facebook post is embedded below: