On Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam asked Deputy Adviser to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka about proposals to send more troops into Afghanistan.
“It’s important to start with the recent speeches and testimony of the field commanders,” Gorka said. “The in-theater commander, General Nicholson, is an amazing soldier, a true professional. He’s been very clear about how more powerful, how resurgent, the jihadist forces and the Taliban have become in recent months.”
“Also the really untold story of the last administration is how al-Qaeda has retrenched itself in Afghanistan and beyond that,” he added. “There are local commanders in Afghanistan – not in the Middle East, in Afghanistan – that have publicly sworn baya, sworn the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the so-called putative new caliph of the Islamic State. There is video, you can go and see it on PBS, of ISIS schools being run in Afghanistan to educate young children into the life of the jihadi.”
“There is a serious problem that was in part facilitated by the vacuum created by the so-called ‘leading from behind’ mantra of the Obama administration, and we have to deal with it. But – and I have to be very clear on this – President Trump is not a neoconservative interventionist. He is not interested in invading other people’s countries or occupying them. He’s said this again and again and again, on the campaign trail and also since January the 20th,” Gorka noted.
“What we are doing is sending troops where they are needed to secure Americans from attack here in the homeland, and that’s why Afghanistan is important, Raheem,” he concluded.
Kassam asked if a stronger U.S. presence in Afghanistan could also provide a “forward operating base for other things in the region.”
“Absolutely,” Gorka replied. “If you look at America’s unique capacity, as one French scholar said it, we really are a ‘hyperpower.’ We’re not just a superpower. If you look at the world on fire that we inherited – whether it’s Central Asia, whether it’s the Middle East, whether it’s Asia, whether it’s Europe, there’s just instability wherever you turn. As such, our expeditionary capabilities should be as close as possible, within reason, to potential hotbeds of terrorist recruitment or other threats to the nation.”
“You can’t sit at home and wait until the threat has metastasized to such a level that it is now an imminent threat,” he elaborated. “Afghanistan and other parts of the world do play a twin role, not just dealing with the threat there, but providing a presence for when another threat may evolve, to be able to respond as quickly as possible.”
Kassam asked if Afghanistan was “General McMaster’s war,” referring to National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster.
“I know General McMaster. I’ve known him for years. The idea that he wants to ‘own’ a war and put his name on it is absurd,” Gorka replied. “He is the quintessential professional. As National Security Adviser, he provides the president with options. It is the Commander-in-Chief, it is President Trump who takes those options.”
“He’s the consummate professional, and he’s just looking at the threat analysis and giving a palette of possible courses of action to the Commander-in-Chief to choose from,” he said of McMaster’s approach. “Remember, the White House has been clear: we haven’t taken any final decision with regards to exactly what is going to happen in Afghanistan, not yet.”
Kassam pressed Gorka with concerns from outside observers that many people from the Bush administration remained influential, and could be recommending courses of action that would lead to deeper U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts.
Gorka said those concerned individuals could “rest easy.”
“I ask you to look at who this man is, and what has done in the last 50 years,” Gorka said of Trump. “This isn’t an establishment politician. He wasn’t even a politician before he became the most powerful man in the world. As such, what was he? He was an incredibly successful businessman who built an empire. You can’t do that unless you do two things: delegate to people who know what they’re doing, and have very, very concrete metrics of success.”
“It’s not about waffles, it’s not about boilerplate, it’s not about endless wars,” he stressed. “I can assure you, because this is what I saw the first time I ever met Mr. Trump in 2015, long before he became President Trump. This is a man who is very serious, very decisive, and he wants to see results. If he doesn’t see results, he will take another course of action, and you may lose your job.”
“This is a serious individual who understands his primary responsibility as the officeholder in the White House,” Gorka said. “All you will hear is concrete discussions of what we wish to achieve, how we wish to achieve it, how long it’s going to take, and most important of all the thing that we’ve so negated in the last 16 years, what are the signs that we know it’s working? Because in private sector business, you must have those. Those key performance indicators are going to be injected into the U.S. government in ways that they’ve never been done before.”
Along those lines, Kassam asked if the U.S. objective was merely to stave off the Taliban for another few years, or to undertake the far more daunting task of making Afghanistan a place where U.S. troops will no longer be needed.
“Two things, very simply: We will know when we will have won – when that nation and its territory will never be used, cannot be used, to mastermind mass casualty attacks against U.S. citizens here in America, in Manhattan, in Washington, in Pennsylvania or anywhere else. And lastly that beyond Afghanistan, if the black flag of jihad is as repugnant and rejected around the world as the swastika of the Third Reich, and people do not wish to become jihadis, then we will have won,” Gorka answered.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.