Michael Steele Against the War in Afghanistan?

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Update: The video has now sparked a firestorm online, conservatives calling for Steele's resignation.

RNC chairman Michael Steele is used to controversy, but this one's particularly strange: in a speech at a fundraiser, Steele appears to be against the continuing war in Afghanistan, which would set him against the majority of his fellow Republicans. With a little help from the Democratic National Committee, the video is already getting attention in the blogosphere.

The DNC released the clip, which shows Steele calling the Afghanistan war "of Obama's choosing. This was not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." Here's another one of the quotes bloggers are focusing on:

But it was the president who was trying to be too cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in 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? All right? Because everyone who has tried over a thousand years of history has failed, and there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan without committing U.S. troops.

Liberal Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly is aghast, deciding that "after listening the clip a few times, it seems Steele is combining a liberal line on the war with fundamental ignorance about recent developments." Meanwhile another left-leaning writer, Spencer Ackerman, tries to set the record straight: "It was a war of Bush's choosing. It’s a war of Obama's inheritance." But the real story here, of course, isn't so much the reaction on the left as the remarks themselves, which have yet to be clarified.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.