Obama goes beyond his campaign pledge, sending more troops to Afghanistan
The last time we checked in on this promise was in February 2009, when we rated it Promise Kept. About a month after taking office, President Barack Obama sent two additional brigades to Afghanistan to stabilize American efforts at security and to prevent terrorists from planning new attacks.
Since February, Obama has ordered even more troops to Afghanistan, and we wanted to note that here since this is one of PolitiFact's Top 25 promises.
Obama made the case for additional troops in a Dec. 1, 2009, speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
"I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama said. "This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak."
Obama said he would order an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.
"After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan," he said.
Obama's order to send more troops does not change our rating for this item. It is still Promise Kept.
The White House, Remarks by the President on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan , Dec. 1, 2009
Obama orders brigades to Afghanistan
President Barack Obama issued an order Feb. 17, 2009, to send two additional brigades to Afghanistan.
"This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires," Obama said.
He also recognized "the extraordinary strain that this deployment places on our troops and military families. I honor their service, and will give them the support they need."
Obama often said during the campaign that Afghanistan required more troops and attention than it was receiving from the Bush administration. ( Read our previous campaign coverage .) Obama said the United States "had taken our eye off the ball" by invading Iraq instead of concentrating on Afghanistan.
"Our troops have fought valiantly there, but Iraq has deprived them of the support they need — and deserve," Obama said in a speech on Aug. 1, 2007. "As a result, parts of Afghanistan are falling into the hands of the Taliban, and a mix of terrorism, drugs and corruption threatens to overwhelm the country. As president, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to reinforce our counterterrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban."
In his Feb. 17 action, Obama said he would deploy a Marine Expeditionary Brigade during the spring of 2009 and an Army Stryker Brigade with support troops by the summer. That's two, just as he said he would. Promise Kept.
Finally, we want to note that our ruling here only covers Obama's pledge to send two brigades. We'll use Promise No. 148 to rate whether he equips them properly .