O’Donnell Eagerly Hopes for Leaks on Afghanistan Troop Deployments

All eyes were on President Trump Monday night as he addressed the nation about the country’s future actions in regard to the war in Afghanistan. And without giving too many details, the President declared that there would be some form of troop increase but noted that there were conditions to our aid and limits to the costs we were willing to bear. But that wasn’t enough for MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who bemoaned Trump’s address and eagerly awaited White House leaks of the details.

Well, it was a speech like no other,” he mocked the President. “Tonight, the President announced that he will not announce an increase in troop strength.

He then played a clip of Trump’s speech where he stated that:

I've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.

O’Donnell claimed that Trump’s 26-minute-long address failed to “clarify anything” about the U.S. military’s mission in Afghanistan. “If this speech is meant to be interpreted as an increase in troop strength in Afghanistan, it's the first time a president has announced an increase in troop strength without actually announcing an increase in troop strength,” he sneered.

And to try and drive his point home, O’Donnell played clips of Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and even Lyndon B. Johnson announcing troop increases for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam respectively.

Just as O’Donnell was wrapping up the first segment, some 12 minutes later, he expressed his excitement for the potential of White House leaks on the matter. “The second stage of reporting on this, which I'm sure will start late tonight or tomorrow, it will be leaks from inside the Trump administration about exactly what the troop increase is going be and when it's going to happen, all of that,” he hyped.

Transcript below:

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MSNBC
The Last Word
August 21, 2017
10:04:25 PM Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well, it was a speech like no other. Trump administration sources had indicated that he was going to announce a 50 percent increase in troop strength in Afghanistan by sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan. Tonight, the President announced that he will not announce an increase in troop strength.

DONALD TRUMP: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.

O’DONNELL: “We will not talk about numbers of troops.” That is new for the American presidency. At no point, tonight did the President clarify anything about what would actually change militarily for the United States in Afghanistan. If this speech is meant to be interpreted as an increase in troop strength in Afghanistan, it's the first time a president has announced an increase in troop strength without actually announcing an increase in troop strength.

(…)

10:16:17 PM Eastern

O’DONNELL: The second stage of reporting on this, which I'm sure will start late tonight or tomorrow, it will be leaks from inside the Trump administration about exactly what the troop increase is going be and when it's going to happen, all of that. It will all have to come through leaks because it wasn't in the presidential speech.


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