Michael Steele's Afghanistan comment earns ironic praise from Levin

Asked about Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele’s comment that Afghanistan is 'a war of Obama’s choosing,' Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin responded with mock praise.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, talks with reporters at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast Tuesday in Washington. The Senate Armed Services Committee Chair responded to a question about Michael Steele's recent comments on Afghanistan with tongue-in-cheek praise.

When Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin was asked about Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele’s comment about the war in Afghanistan being “a war of Obama’s choosing” he responded with tongue in cheek praise.

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on Tuesday, Senator Levin said, “first of all, I am glad Michael Steele is there. I wouldn’t want to say anything which in any way could be taken or used as a reason to remove him. I wouldn’t want Republicans to be quoting me as saying ‘look at the problems you are creating, Mr. Steele.’ So I am glad he is there. He serves an important purpose.”

The Michigan Democrat, who is just back from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, then addressed the substance of Steele’s remarks from earlier this month. “As to that particular statement of his, this is not President Obama’s war, it is our war. It is a mission which needs to succeed and can succeed if we pursue the course of taking many steps – some of which have been taken, some of which are yet to be taken, to shift responsibility for the security of Afghanistan to the Afghans.”

Chairman Steele made his controversial comments about US involvement in Afghanistan at a fund raiser in Connecticut. Among other things, Steele said it was "not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." After the remarks provoked a firestorm of criticism from within his own party, Mr. Steele issued a statement saying, the Afghanistan war "is a difficult task. ... It is also a necessary one."


of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.