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Anti-Iraq War or just knee-jerk Anti-War?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, January 15, 2009

Armed Liberal cites Spencer Ackerman wondering if the jig is up for some of the left:
...[F]or at least four years, there's been something of a dodge taken by liberals when discussing Afghanistan. To speak broadly, liberals have endlessly invoked the mantra that the real center of the war on terrorism is in Afghanistan, rather than in Iraq. But that's been a statement about Iraq, rather than Afghanistan. To put it a different way, liberals, I think it's fair to say, have discussed Afghanistan not on its own terms, but as a cudgel against the Iraq war.
In other words, Afghanistan was merely a convenient tool with which to beat up on the Bush administration's decision to go into Iraq.
That's by no means monolithic. A bunch of progressives - the Democracy Arsenal crew, Matt Yglesias, I daresay myself - have written about Afghanistan (TWI sent me there last year) from that perspective of first-order-national security importance. But lots of us have been content to take the safe position of rallying to the more-popular cause of the Afghanistan war as a way of insulating ourselves to charges of excessive dovishness for opposing the Iraq war. Well, as he's said all along, Barack Obama will be calling that bluff.
AL, who supported the war in Iraq, says:
I'm shocked, just shocked to discover that antiwar people are - you know - antiwar, no matter what.
The anti-Iraq war left has always implied that Afghanistan was the good war, one they supported, and often wondered outloud why we were wasting troops and time in Iraq.

Well Iraq is pretty much done and a success as well. So what does it all mean now? Uncle J at Blackfive provides a little summary:
I never believed that most of those making these claims actually wanted us to do anything in A-stan, they simply wanted inoculation from charges of over all pacifism. I also believe the same is true about Obama. His people have already begun walking his big talk back and saying even if we send more troops it probably won't matter.
And he speaks with some authority:
Murtha stopped well short of calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. But if the U.S. is going to remain without a clear strategic goal in south Asia, calls for withdrawal — understandably — will be a short logical step away.
Of course they will. And the question becomes is there an acceptable "clear strategic goal" for the left? We shall monitor.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I want to see the contortions they go through as they abandon the Europeans (as if they’d allow themselves to BE abandoned...) in Afghanistan.

All the while talking about how the US needs to get the rest of the world to support our efforts to bring terrorists to heel (Afghanistan) instead of doing things almost unilaterally (Iraq).

This will be a variation of the contortions they learned to do when they "supported the troops but not the mission".

If you goad them enough during the conversation, they eventually admit there is NO good mission and NO good use for the military because there is NO just war, and the military is just a bunch of ignorant hired killers, many of whom deserve to die anyway because they don’t love peace at all costs.

Sometimes they realize they let their inside voice out, but it was George Bush’s fault so it was okay to feel that way.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually I think it is the other way around. Cindy Sheehan, of all people, actually sent out a very good analysis where she draws a distinction between the tiny "peace" movement and the much larger "anti-war" movement:

"What we have here in the US is an "anti-war" movement that is selective in its opposition to war. It seems that for many of the national organizations, Democratic Wars are okay, while Republican Wars are bad. . . The "anti-war" movement was always very careful to make a distinction between Iraq (bad) and Afghanistan (justified) which to me was always a failure and bad reasoning that would eventually harm the integrity of the movement. . . The tiny Peace Movement that we do have in the US has always said that the US invasions and occupations of BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan are illegal and immoral and our troops should be brought home immediately . . . The Anti-Republican-War movement are the ones that hold marches on the weekends where the status-quo won’t be inconvenienced, pat themselves on the back, and then go to their national meetings to plan how more Democrats can be elected. . . The Anti-Republican-War Movement will stand down during the Obama regime and "give him a chance."
Written By: Robert L.
Slightly off-topic, Obama says it’s no longer necessary to kill Osama bin Laden.

So, all those who criticized Bush for not going after OBL will now criticize Obama, right?
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
And the question becomes is there an acceptable "clear strategic goal" for the left?
You mean other than the destruction of the United States, first by hacking off as much sovereignty as possible?

Is there something not clear about that?

But it wouldn’t end with diminishments of sovereignty.

You recently heard that former KGB Russian political scientist talking about the break-up of the United States?

Well, any guesses hereabouts as to who was pushing that idea, oh, four, five years ago? Hint: he’s also a poltical scientist.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Be ironic if "evil Bush" wins in Iraq and then Obama looses the "good war".
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Be even more ironic if the next strike at the US happens to hit the Capitol.
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Actually I think it is the other way around. Cindy Sheehan, of all people, actually sent out a very good analysis where she draws a distinction between the tiny "peace" movement and the much larger "anti-war" movement:
Well, what Sheehan might be missing is that you can further split the "antiwar" camp into two groups: those that actually are infavor with the Afgan war, and those that simply voice support for the Afgan war as a retorical tool.

My point being, her far left view is such that the distinction is likely irrelevent, but to me and others who are not hard left, the distinction is in fact relevent.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
You know, part of the reason we went into Iraq is that Afghanistan is such a hellhole. Regime change was possible in Iraq because the Iraqis had a history of peaceful governance before Saddam Hussein. The same simply can’t be said about Afghanistan because they’ve never been anything but a mess of tribes and they’ve never had any real industry.

I’m inclined to say we should pull out of Afghanistan. We’ve got a bulwark in Iraq that will make a major impact over time, so things didn’t go the way we planned, but we’ve clearly made a lasting gain. I think it’s in our strategic interests to periodically thrash groups like AQ and the Taliban, but the long term solution is to assist the free market in lifting people out of poverty.
Written By: ben
URL: http://
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Written By: 2
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