Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is once again in hot water, this time over comments he made about the U.S.’s role in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which he called, “a war of Obama’s choosing.”
“This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in,” Steele said during a July 1 speech in Connecticut. “It was the president who was trying to be cute…flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be Afghanistan. Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?”
Steele’s comments have already drawn the ire of conservatives nationwide, including the 162 members of his national committee. Steele has begun a new round of damage control as calls for his resignation have arisen once more.
“As we have learned throughout history, winning a war in Afghanistan is a difficult task. We must also remember that after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, it is also a necessary one,” Steele said. “That is why I supported the decision to increase our troop force and, like the entire United States Senate, I support General Petraeus’ confirmation . The stakes are too high for us to accept anything but success in Afghanistan.”
That is not enough for some. Many say he needs to show his face in public and face the music.
“It will take more than an e-mail to 162 people,” Karl Rove, former advisor to President George W. Bush, told Fox News. “He’s going to have to take the public stage and take his licking there and say he misspoke.”
Some have gone further, calling for Steele’s ouster. William Kristol, editor of the conservative publication The Weekly Standard asked for Steele’s resignation in a July 2 column that noted. “Your tenure has of course been marked by gaffes and embarrassments.”
“You are, I know, a patriot,” Kristol wrote to Steele in the column. “So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.”
“At a time when Gen. Petraeus has just taken over command, when Republicans in Congress are pushing for a clean war funding resolution, when Republicans around the country are doing their best to rally their fellow citizens behind the mission, your comment is more than an embarrassment,” he continued. “It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders.”