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Left calling Obama out on Afghanistan

Posted By Uncle Jimbo • [January 14, 2009]

Armed Liberal over at Winds of Change points out that the left has begun to realize that with the Iraq war won, their complaints that it took the focus off the real war in Afghanistan could actually mean something. 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.

There was never any coherence to his calls for cutting and running from a fight that al Qaeda had joined and called their main front in Iraq, yet claiming he wanted to invade Pakistan if any jihadis popped their heads up. Between the two Iraq was much more important for every reason once we invaded and AQ decided to send all they had there. A-stan only became a problem once Pakistan turned the tribal areas over to the loons and that gave the extremists a place to recruit and refit.

I fear Obama's campaign rhetoric will cause him to send troops to cover his bet and then pull them at the mid terms when the howls from the left all focus on the new/oldest quagmire. I echo AL's concern that troops will be used for political purposes by Obama and that would be shameful. Again I hope I am wrong. From AL.

I'm shocked, just shocked to discover that antiwar people are - you know - antiwar, no matter what. But that wasn't the most interesting part.

Second, for 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. 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.

[emphasis added]

I don't have time to go search for cites, but pro-war bloggers (like me) have been making charges like this for quite some time. I think it's interesting to hear a progblogger like Ackerman acknowledge the claim.

It's a serious claim, for two reasons; first because if the anti-Iraq war commentariat has been lying about their positions - beefing up their hawkish credentials by talking tough on Afghanistan while pushing hard for folding our hand in Iraq - it's something they should be called on (note that Ackerman calls out people who he specifically insulates from that charge - himself, Yglesias, and the folks from Democracy Arsenal). Second, because it's kind of important that Obama not take or withhold military action in Afghanistan for domestic political purposes; I don't want our kids sent somewhere (or not sent somewhere) primarily to make domestic political points; it needs to be about achieving our foreign policy goals.



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