Getting Afghanistan Strategy Right | National Security Network The U.S. is developing its first real Afghanistan strategy since the 1980’s, and it’s not just about troop levels. This weekend, in an exchange with CNN’s John King, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – who served in high-level positions under three Republican presidents – said that President Obama has put forth the first real Afghanistan strategy in decades. ----------The right is going to howl. How can they keep saying they want the President to FAIL, when right wing intellectuals say Obama is the first one doing anything "smart"? KING: You served in the Bush administration. That's a pretty broad damnation of the Bush strategy. GATES: Well, the reality is, we were fighting a holding action. We were very deeply engaged in Iraq. ----------Holding action? Is that like "dithering"? Oh these Republicans. Sending young men of to die for a "holding action".