- Posted May 6, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Congressional Intelligence Heads: Taliban Stronger Than Before Afghan Surge
President Barack Obama last Tuesday in an address to the American people from the war zone in Afghanistan proclaimed that the former rulers of that nation, the Taliban, are weaker now than the sect was before the surge of American troops he ordered about two years ago.
But today in an interview with Sandy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union, the heads of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, one a Democrat and one a Republican, disagreed with the President and stated that the Taliban instead are much stronger now than before.
The Taliban were driven out of Afghanistan after 9/11 for having given support, aid and a safe haven to Al Qaeda which had planned and carried out the World Trade Center tragic disaster killing thousands, the crash into the Pentagon and another aimed at the White House, but thwarted by passengers aboard the fatal flight which crashed in Pennsylvania where all aboard died.
The leaders of the congressional committees said Sunday they believed that the Taliban had grown stronger since President Barack Obama sent 33,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010.
The pessimistic report by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., challenges Obama's own assessment last week in his visit to Kabul that the "tide had turned" and that "we broke the Taliban's momentum."
Feinstein and Rogers told CNN's "State of the Union" they aren't so sure. The two recently returned from a fact-finding trip to the region where they met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
"President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I'm not so sure," Feinstein said. "The Taliban has a shadow system of governors in many provinces."
When asked if the Taliban's capabilities have been degraded since Obama deployed the additional troops two years ago, Feinstein said: "I think we'd both say that what we've found is that the Taliban is stronger."
This provides fuel for opponents that the President's speech was more about politics than substantive foreign policy.
While most of both Democrats and Republicans agree the President should have visited the war zone. encouraged the troops and signed a security agreement with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, there are some who question his timing. Obama made the trip on the anniversary week of the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, killed in a daring raid Navy Seals Team 6 inside Pakistan.
What does this say about the President's pronouncement of a weakened Taliban when powerful California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein disagrees?
Was it more about politics and capturing votes than a substantive foreigh policy pronouncement in the President's speech?
From the Cornfield, I am worried we have not learned the lessons of Viet Nam.
I am worried that politics is taking more of a role in the execution of the war than it should.