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Gorka departs White House over Afghan strategy

Still, Gorka remains optimistic about Trump’s presidency moving ahead

(National SentinelForeign Policy: One of President Donald J. Trump’s most reasonable voices on foreign policy matters has apparently been forced out of the White House, as the purge of “Make America Great Again” voices continues.

As reported by The Federalist, initially it was thought that Sebastian Gorka, formerly the the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair at Marine Corps University and also contributed to Breitbart News before joining the Trump administration, resigned. Turns out he was forced out by some of the same people who have been weeding out #MAGA voices since Trump was inaugurated.

In a letter, however, Gorka explained his reasons for wanting to depart.

“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

Specifically, Gorka said he was displeased with the direction Trump’s foreign policy was taking, as embodied in the new strategy for Afghanistan the president unveiled earlier this week.

“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week,” he wrote, as reported by The Federalist.

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost,” he continued.

“Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”

The Federalist noted further:

A source close to the White House said of his decision, “This was more or less going to be a done deal when [former White House strategist Steve] Bannon submitted his resignation. Not because he didn’t have a protector, but because there is no point in having your life ruined every day if you’re not going to get much accomplished.” The same source said that what did change after Bannon left was that anti-Bannon factions began erecting bureaucratic road blocks to undermine Gorka internally.

Bannon has since gone back to run Breitbart News.

Gorka’s concerns about the apparent lack of real change in strategy for Afghanistan were echoed in a recent analysis by threat analyst Jon Dougherty at Forward Observer:

No matter what you thought personally about President Trump’s speech earlier this week when he announced a new way forward in Afghanistan, it is beginning to look like more of the same kind of strategy that has been pursued now for a number of years — wash, rinse, repeat if you will.

When I was in Afghanistan doing route clearance in 2009-2010, we were part of the Obama surge; our mission was different in that it was offensive in nature and aimed at keeping the Taliban off the roads in RC East and off-balance. But for the past 3-4 years, as Obama withdrew forces, the mission refocused on training, primarily, and special ops. Like now. And that sounds a lot like that’s what U.S. troops will be doing for the foreseeable future.

Which means, the promised victory-then-withdrawal isn’t likely to happen very soon either, if at all. We very well could be looking at a permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Still, Gorka remains optimistic about Trump’s presidency moving ahead.

“Your presidency will prove to be one of the most significant events in modern American politics. November the 8th was the result of decades during which the political and media elites felt that they knew better than the people who elect them into office. They do not, and the MAGA platform allowed their voices to be heard,” he wrote. “Millions of people believe in, and have chosen, you and your vision of Making America Great Again. They will help eventually rebalance this temporary reality.”

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1 Comment on Gorka departs White House over Afghan strategy

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