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Need Cover for Betraying the Democratic Base? Ask The Democratic Strategist!
Posted by Derrick Crowe on November 18th, 2009

Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.

James Vega–writing for The Democratic Strategist, co-edited by William Galston, Stan Greenberg and Ruy Teixeira–just published a 2,600+ word memo arguing that “Obama’s final decision” to “approve a significant increase in the number of troops” would not be a “betrayal” of the Democratic base.

You know, that Democratic base that overwhelmingly opposes sending more troops. What utter garbage.

Democrats — Don’t be misled. The media is going to call Obama’s new Afghan strategy a “betrayal” of the Democratic base — but it’s not. It’s actually a decisive rejection of the Republican/Neo-Conservative strategy of the “Long War”

…Based on current reports, Obama’s final decision will approve a significant increase in the number of troops – the exact number depending on the number of major cities to be covered and the degree of protection to be provided for the major road highways. For the many critics who believe that sending large numbers of additional U.S. troops may actually be counterproductive, this is a clear disappointment. But it is also already clear that Obama’s strategy will do several other important things.

  • It will establish specific criteria for success and failure.
  • It will define the mission in a concrete and specific way that can be openly debated and revised.
  • It will include an explicit “exit strategy” rather than an open-ended commitment.

Obama’s specific plan for Afghanistan may turn out to be right or wrong – there are entirely reasonable and cogent arguments that a smaller military “footprint” could actually enhance our ability to achieve our ultimate objectives more than a larger one. But, in any case, the method Obama has used to reach his decision is one that has profoundly undermined the basic foundations of the strategy neoconservatives have been following to embroil America in a perpetual “Long War” – an endless series of open-ended, military campaigns that drag on for decades, constantly requiring more and more troops to achieve hopelessly vague and unquantifiable objectives of fundamental social and cultural transformation across the Muslim world.

Again, total garbage. Decision-making processes are important, true. Asserting civilian control over the military is fundamental to the health of our democratic republic, true. But these issues are totally separate from the question of whether or not sending more troops is a betrayal of the president’s base.

Look, “strategists,” this is very simple. Decisive majorities of Democrats oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan: 60 percent want to actually start withdrawing troops, versus only 26 percent who favor adding any number of troops.

Memo to the memo-writers: you might want to refer to well-documented Democratic public opinion since your About Us section says you:

seek to publish substantial articles that draw strategic conclusions from the latest public opinion and demographic research conducted by the academic community and commercial public opinion polling firms as well as from the leading think-tanks and policy institutes across America.”

If President Obama sends more troops, he “betrays” his base. The end. This is not complicated.

Writing 2,600+ words to take the long way around doesn’t change a “no” to a “yes.” The very least you could do to sell this attempted Jedi mind trick would have been to fabricate a poll. At least then you wouldn’t be patronizing the majority of Democrats whose names you use to get your analysis in the door in order to stab us in the back.

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