Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Obey compares Obama to Nixon, gives him a year

Congressman Dave Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said today that he is giving President Obama's foreign policy in South Asia a year,

...House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey said he was “very dubious” about the chances of success in the region and wants a “fish or cut bait” assessment in a year’s time that will determine how long the U.S. continues on this path.

“It gives the president one year to demonstrate what he can do,” said the Wisconsin Democrat. “It gives him ample resources.”

Much as the administration may wince, Obey draws a parallel between today and 40 years ago, when he first came to Congress in the spring of 1969 and gave Richard Nixon a year to make progress in Vietnam.

“The president feels obligated to give it a shot, and we’ll help him give it a shot for a year,” Obey said. “At the end of the year, I want to have a hard-nosed, realistic evaluation based on the performance standards we’re talking about.”

Toward this end, the bill requires the White House to report back to Congress prior to its 2011 budget next winter, assessing whether the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are demonstrating sufficient progress to continue Obama’s policies as laid out in March, when the president made new U.S. troop commitments to the war against Taliban forces there.

Five standards are listed, including the performance of Pakistani forces with respect to counterinsurgency operations and the ability of the government to control the territory within its borders — where the Taliban has already made significant inroads.

At the same time, the structure of the bill seems certain to frustrate Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, who shares many of the same goals but demands broad power for himself to try to achieve them.

I guess Obey wasn't paying attention to Obama when he said that he was planning on sending troops to Pakistan, or following the debate when Obama promised to combat Al Qaeda in 60 different countries?