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“Remember we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time,” Katrina Pierson told CNN early Saturday, referencing the year 2011, when the U.S. withdrew from Iraq. “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan creating another problem.”
“That was Obama’s war,” she declared later in the program, when asked to clarify if she meant Obama was responsible for its launch.
In fact, the invasion of Afghanistan took place in 2001 after the attacks on September 11 of that year. Obama was a state senator in Illinois at the time, moonlighting as a restaurant critic. Being president was nothing but a dream for him back then.
When he did end up in the White House in 2008, the war in Afghanistan was still going on. And Obama made ramping up U.S. presence there a central plank of his foreign policy platform during his campaign to be president. Too many resources had been spent on Iraq, he repeatedly argued, and not enough on the country from which al Qaeda actually planned the attacks.
Pierson most likely mistook Obama’s announced surge in December 2009 ― the outgrowth of his campaign policy ― as an actual invasion. But it wasn’t.
There is good reason to conclude that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent war created a real mess. Obama will leave office with American troops still there. But there is a reason it is widely described as America’s longest war. It’s because it started in 2001. Not, as Pierson implied, 2009.