- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One must begin to wonder whether Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele is not only an ineffective leader prone to gaffes, but if he is off his rocker. In making the astounding contention that our conflict in Afghanistan is “a war of [President] Obama’s choosing,” Mr. Steele seeks to rewrite history.

For Mr. Steele’s edification, I would note that we went to war in Afghanistan under President George W. Bush after the dastardly terrorist attack on our nation of Sept. 11, 2001, and we did so with the support of most of the American people. Mr. Steele had not a peep of condemnation for “W” during the period in which the war was under the direction of his administration. Now, though, the conflict has somehow become Mr. Obama’s war in Mr. Steele’s eyes, and he thinks we are fighting a hopeless battle. The battle may indeed not result in victory, but that is hardly Mr. Obama’s fault. Somehow, I imagine that if Mr. Obama had undertaken as his first initiative a withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, Mr. Steele would have gotten on his soapbox to exclaim that we had “cut and run” and thereby lost a war that we could have won had we the determination to continue to fight.

The selection of Michael Steele to head the GOP has revealed it to be the party that couldn’t shoot straight. Every day that he continues to serve is a day that the party’s reputation declines. The best hope for the Republicans is that Mr. Steele soon resigns and gets off the national stage with his tail between his legs.

OREN SPIEGLER

Upper St. Clair, Pa.