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A Swing at Keep America Safe's Afghanistan Ad

And a miss.

3:14 PM, Jul 14, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Earlier this week, Keep America Safe released the following ad, criticizing President Obama for not taking his military commanders' advice and for prematurely withdrawing from Afghanistan:

The response from the left has been laughable. Consider Eugene Kiely's silly article, titled "Group headed by Liz Cheney claims Obama troop reduction plan puts soldiers at risk," which is being run by factcheck.org and other websites.

Despite his claim that Keep America Safe got its facts wrong, Kiely does not actually dispute the core point of the ad, which Keep America Safe ably captures in the title of the spot, "More Risk." Indeed, as the author points out, "It's true that both military leaders [Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. Mike Mullen] recommended maintaining higher troop levels." So, yes, the plan presents more risk, as the military commanders all say.

Instead, the author harps on this point: "But [the military leaders] supported the president's decision, and their full congressional testimony shows they believe the risk is manageable and won't jeopardize the mission." He goes on to supposedly offer context, leaving out the fact that military commanders are subordinates of the commander in chief.

One cannot reasonably believe that military chiefs would call out the president and say that they can't get the job that he's asking them to do done. The fact that the military commanders are subtle in their criticism of President Obama's withdrawal decision eludes this fact checker, who is too determined to undermine the Keep America Safe ad without actually proving that they got any of the facts wrong. Keep America Safe didn't write a book. They aired a 30 second advertisement that did not distort what the generals meant or said in any way. 

The most serious charge in the ad is by General Jack Keane, whom Kiely doesn't even mention. Taking a snippet of an appearance Keane made on Fox News, the ad quotes Keane as saying that President Obama's plan could lead to more American causalities in Afghanistan. And Keep America Safe's core point is that the president's decision to withdraw prematurely from Afghanistan is dictated by Obama's political needs rather than military strategy. I guess these facts are so obvious that Kiely cannot even begin to dispute them.

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