Gorka on Developing Afghan Strategy: ‘We Want to Start from Scratch’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American people should expect President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan war strategy to primarily address why the United States remains engaged in the nearly 16-year-old war, Breitbart News has learned from the White House.

“First the question is: what is the U.S. national interest in Afghanistan? When we understand that, then we can tell you what our presence in Afghanistan will be like,” explained Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president in the office of the chief strategist.

“Is it going to be small special forces outposts? Is it going to be training locals to defend themselves or is it going to be something else? Let’s get the big questions right,” he added.

According to Gorka, the administration refuses to be restrained by promises of U.S. withdrawal.

“Whether or not we leave Afghanistan must be a function of whether that serves the national interest,” declared Gorka. “Not the other way around. We’re not going to let the tail wag the dog.”

The White House official emphasized that the Trump team has decided to go back to basics and develop an Afghanistan strategy “from scratch” in response to the president’s demand that the plan does not resemble the failed ones of the past.

Trump’s Afghanistan strategy is being developed primarily by the Pentagon and the NSC.

“The president has expressed very clearly both here in the White House and at the Pentagon that we’ve inherited ideas with regards to Afghanistan over the last 16 years that simply do not serve the U.S. national interest,” Gorka told Breitbart News.

“What we’re doing is we want people to reassess the assumptions we have inherited since 9/11” and overhaul those “assumptions because then we have a chance of getting the strategy right,” he added.

Since the war in Afghanistan started in October 2001, the United States has implemented a plethora of failed military and diplomatic strategies to deal with the conflict.

Despite the billions of dollars in U.S. investments on Afghan security and thousands of American military casualties, Trump inherited deteriorating security conditions along with a powerful Taliban as a result of the failed strategies of his predecessors.

“The president wants whatever we do to be based upon reality,” pointed out Gorka.

He made it clear that the United States is not interested in fighting other people’s wars.

“If you’re serious about your national security, you have to step up to the plate,” he explained. “If, however, you share our values; if you have interests common with us; if you want to be our ally; if you are our partner: we will help you. We won’t fight for you. We’re not going to have American troops on the front line, that’s not in the American interest. But if you want to help, we will help you.”

The Trump administration was expected to unveil its Afghanistan strategy in July but, when presented with the plan that month, the president sent his team back to the drawing board.

Gorka refused to provide a timeline for when the administration plans to unveil its new strategy, saying only, “We’re going to make sure whatever the strategy our great team — the ‘A team’ — comes up with for the first time in 16 years actually has a chance to succeed.”

Addressing why the United States remains engaged in Afghanistan is expected to ensure the success of the strategy in preventing the country from serving as a launching pad for attacks against America.

One of the primary objectives of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was to ensure the country would never again be used to launch attacks against the American homeland.

“Now we have to ask again, why are we there? What is the vital connection, if there is one, between Afghanistan and America? And if there is a vital connection, we have to make sure Afghanistan is not used as a base for mass casualty attacks against the United States,” pointed out Trump’s deputy assistant.

Prior to taking the job at the White House, Dr. Gorka was the Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University and national security editor for Breitbart News.


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