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White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Fires Back at Cheney Over Troop Levels in Afghanistan

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By Robert Farley
PolitiFact


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back at former Vice President Dick Cheney the day after Cheney said President Obama "seems afraid to make a decision" about a general's public plea for 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

"The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," Cheney said in a speech at the Center for Security Policy on Oct. 21.

In his daily press briefing the next day, Gibbs said Cheney's comments were "curious" given that "the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan."

And, Gibbs said, the comments were "even more curious given the fact that (a request for) an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House, including the vice president's, for more than eight months, a resource request filled by President Obama in March."

Gibbs is referring here to a request for additional troops made by the previous top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, during President George W. Bush's final year in office.

McKiernan made his requests public in a press conference in September 2008 in Afghanistan, saying he needed at least three more combat brigades, in addition to the one Bush had promised in January. He said more soldiers and resources were needed to stabilize insurgencies in Afghanistan.

"The danger is that we'll be here longer and we'll expend more resources and experience more human suffering than if we had more resources placed against this campaign sooner," McKiernan told reporters....(Remainder.)

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