I believe that Republicans are poised to cement their complete opposition to everything Obama and reap a huge political win by twisting their political principles to oppose further escalation of troops in Afghanistan. Unless, of course, Obama can be convinced not to send more troops.
We've reached a crucial juncture. More troops to Afghanistan would be a disaster, both over there and politically over here. Can you sign the petition urging Obama to rethink Afghanistan strategy and not send more troops? For every signature we get, CREDO Mobile will generously donate $1 to the blog fellowship that supports Derrick Crowe, a prominent anti-war voice who's been a leader on this issue. (For a bit more about Derrick's work, click here.)
Politically, this issue is about to turn on its head. America has a strong anti-interventionist streak, which Republicans lost when George Bush invaded Iraq. A majority of Americans think we should stop sending more troops into Afghanistan. Republicans see an opportunity, a way back to this popular position by opposing Obama, and they're ready to take it. The writing is on the wall.
In the past few months, more and more influential, movement conservatives have come out against Obama's policy or future plans for Afghanistan. They hail from all parts of the party -- moderate and neoconservative -- and from all walks of political life -- pundits to elected officials. What they have in common is a skepticism to the idea that the Afghanistan war is worth more troops.Here's the rundown:
- Senator Chuck Hagel: "Iraq and Afghanistan Aren't Ours to Win or Lose"
- Former Presidential candidate Fred Thompson: "The war in Afghanistan 'has been lost.'"
- Former talking head Lou Dobbs: "Bring our troops home."
- Conservative columnist George Will in the Washington Post: "Time to get out of Afghanistan"
- Republican Congressman Tim Johnson: "Take immediate steps to begin a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan."
- Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher: "We owe [the troops] our best judgment, not just an easy answer of sending more military people into a conflict."
- Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra and John Shadegg: "If the Obama administration's priority isn't providing our troops with the tools to do the job and win, we shouldn't be there."
- Conservative columnist Tony Blankley in Humane Events: "The president has three choices: 1) Cut and run, 2) cut and walk or 3) stay and fight with enough troops. Either No. 1 or No. 3 may be justifiable based on hardheaded thinking. No. 2 is an evasion of reality and sinfully would sacrifice American troops for no good purpose."
- Richard N. Haass, Council on Foreign Relations president under Bush Sr. and Jr.: "Defining success down on Afghanistan."
- Conservative columnist Andrew C. McCarthy in the National Review: "Our troops are not in Afghanistan for a social experiment."
- Malou Innocent and Christopher Preble at the CATO Institute: "U.S. Must Narrow Objectives in Afghanistan"
Though the views represented in the list above are not yet mainstream conservative thought, the list is full of influential conservative thinkers who will have a say in how the party moves forward on the issue. And the list is by no means exhaustive.
If Obama isn't careful, Republicans will shortly outflank him on the issue. They'll grab the mantle of non-intervention -- a populist position which has large numbers of supporters in both parties -- and start appealing directly to the majority of Americans who think we should stop sending more troops into Afghanistan, or even start withdrawing.
That's why it's so important progressives stand up on the right side of this issue. Progressives are the anti-war people, and the Democrats should be the anti-war party. Republicans outflanking Democrats on this issue would be disastrous politically as more Americans sour on the war and its leader.
Derrick Crowe has been writing about getting out of Afghanistan for the last three months because of a blog fellowship The Seminal and Brave New Foundation awarded him. We've been fundraising to allow him to continue getting the message out to progressives for another year.
CREDO Mobile has generously offered to give us $1 for every signature they get on their petition calling for President Obama to rethink Afghanistan strategy and not send more troops.
By signing this petition, you do two things: Make your voice heard to the administration and pressure them to do the right thing on the Afghanistan war, and help support a progressive anti-war voice in the blogosphere, Derrick Crowe.
Thank you for your support. Hopefully together, we can get Obama on the right side of this issue, if not by his announcement than shortly thereafter, before Republicans step up their opposition and grab back the populist, anti-interventionist mantel they lost when George Bush invaded Iraq.
The course in this war must be changed, for the world's sake, our security's sake, and for to sake of our continued majority in Congress and the Executive branch.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/j_ro