03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

MoveOn Moves Against Obama On Afghanistan

The progressive advocacy organization MoveOn.org formally opposed President Obama's troop surge strategy on Tuesday, calling it "wrong" and urging its five million members to call the White House to voice their displeasure.

The group's anti-escalation statement was long predicted. But the politics of it still seem noteworthy. MoveOn played an integral role in rallying grassroots support for Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. And it remains one of largest organizing, if not ideological, forces within the progressive community today.

"After talking to MoveOn members about this possibility for months, it's become clear what most of us think: This is wrong. Everyone knows that George W. Bush left a mess in Afghanistan, but escalation only deepens our involvement in a quagmire," the email reads.

"It'll cost the lives of thousands of American troops and Afghan civilians, and it won't make us safer. And with urgent priorities like health care, the climate crisis, and a struggling economy to tackle here at home, it simply does not make sense to divert billions more dollars to this war.

"More and more foreign policy experts are coming to the conclusion that military escalation is not going to solve the problem in Afghanistan. And the majority of Americans already oppose the war. So today the President needs to hear from those of us who disagree with his decision.
'Today, can you call the White House and tell the President that we want him to focus on bringing our troops home, not escalating our involvement in Afghanistan?'"

Beyond the email, the extent to which MoveOn will organize its vast resources to make troops escalation in Afghanistan politically untenable for the president -- and congressional Democrats -- remains to be seen. An official with the organization said they would discuss strategy and next steps once Obama officially announces the troop surge during his speech on Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, at this point all signs suggest the schism that has developed between progressives and the president is only widening as the new war policy is implemented.

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