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Finding Our Footing Again

Posted by Derrick Crowe on August 31st, 2009

The New York Times over the weekend reported that the anti-war movement is gearing up to challenge President Obama on Afghanistan:

A restive antiwar movement, largely dormant since the election of Barack Obama, is preparing a nationwide campaign this fall to challenge the administration’s policies on Afghanistan.

This is the best news I’ve read in months, and it couldn’t come at a better time. General McChrystal just submitted his strategic review to the Defense Department, and he’s expected to ask for as many as 20,000 more troops. That’s a recipe for increased casualties (both civilian and military), continued waste of national wealth and damage to our national security. These are just some of the effects of the war in Afghanistan documented in Rethink Afghanistan, which, by the way, the New York Times mentioned in their piece:

“Rethink Afghanistan,” …is being produced and released in segments by the political documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald. In six episodes so far, Mr. Greenwald has used interviews with academics, Afghans and former C.I.A. operatives to raise questions about civilian casualties, women’s rights, the cost of war and whether it has made the United States safer.

The episodes, some as short as two minutes, are circulated via Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogs. Antiwar groups are also screening them with members of Congress.

I do have one quibble with the NYT’s characterization of the movement, however. Many of the groups mentioned have been consistent in their opposition to war, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican sat in the White House. While it’s true that many have been reluctant to publicly oppose President Obama, others have stood on street corners, badgered their representatives, held screenings of Rethink Afghanistan in their local communities, and worked against a massive public desire to sink into obliviousness now that George W. Bush is back in Texas. As Robert put it in the NYT piece, it’s been “lonely out there,” and the folks who’ve been out there from the beginning deserve a pat on the back for helping to swing public opinion against this war.

That’s not to say that there aren’t people working to kill the energy of the nascent movement to end the war in Afghanistan. Even some who were with us on Iraq are trying to stop the turning of the tide:

“People do not want to take on the administration,” said Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org. “Generating the kind of money that would be required to challenge the president’s policies just isn’t going to happen.”

…Others, like VoteVets.org, support the American military presence in Afghanistan, calling it crucial to fighting terrorism.

Hide and watch, Mr. Soltz.

(Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal.)

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  1. [...] Finding Our Footing Again posted on August 31st, 2009 at Rethink Afghanistan [...]

  2. lonjones says:

    Rethinking Afghanistan puts everything on the table, or so said Ambassador Holbrook a few months ago. Agreed we will lose the support of the population with the use of violence. And that is what our military does. Since the Pashtuns are the major growers of opium and since their support is provided in large part by the drug users in this country it makes sense to try to co-opt this source of funding by legalizing opium and dealing with it as the drug that it is. Rather than destroying their crops we ought to be buying them. That would put their farming enterprise in an approved sector and buy the hearts and minds of those people who are providing the safe havens and the money for the Taliban.

  3. lonjones says:

    Rethinking Afghanistan puts everything on the table, or so said Ambassador Holbrook a few months ago. Agreed we will lose the support of the population with the use of violence. And that is what our military does. Since the Pashtuns are the major growers of opium and since their support is provided in large part by the drug users in this country it makes sense to try to co-opt this source of funding by legalizing opium and dealing with it as the drug that it is. Rather than destroying their crops we ought to be buying them. That would put their farming enterprise in an approved sector and buy the hearts and minds of those people who are providing the safe havens and the money for the Taliban.

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