MoveOn to Obama: Exit Strategy, Not More Troops to Afghanistan

Robert Naiman

The cavalry has arrived! is asking MoveOn members to write to President Obama in
opposition to Pentagon/ McCain/Lieberman demands for more U.S. troops
to be sent to Afghanistan, Greg Sargent reports.

MoveOn To Call On Obama To Develop Exit Strategy For Afghanistan

In its first direct pressure on President Obama over a major
war-and-peace issue, MoveOn will call on the president today to develop
an exit strategy for Afghanistan, a MoveOn official confirms to me.

MoveOn will blast an email to its massive list later today calling
for members to write to the White House and demand "a clear exit
strategy," the official confirms.

Indeed, MoveOn has already sent the email to some of its members.
(If you are a MoveOn member and didn't see the email, don't panic -
MoveOn typically starts its engagement by sending an email to part of
its massive list.)

Sargent publishes the email here.

Pro-war advocates both inside and outside the
administration - including John McCain and Joe Lieberman - are calling
for a big escalation. The general in charge of Afghanistan is expected
to request tens of thousands more troops, and that may just be the
beginning. They're cranking up the pressure for an immediate surge.

But other powerful voices are urging caution: Vice President Biden
and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have raised real concerns
about the idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan without a clear
strategy, as have Democrats in Congress. And a majority of Americans
oppose increasing troop levels.


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Can you write to the White House and tell them we need a clear exit
strategy--not tens of thousands more US troops stuck in a quagmire? You
can send the President a message by clicking below:

This is a huge deal, not just, of course, because many more people
will now be writing to the President in opposition to escalation and in
favor of an exit strategy. (Although that also is very important - have
you written President Obama yet?)
But also because 1) this is a clear signal to Democrats in Congress who
don't support escalation that now is the time to say so publicly, in
particular, by calling for an "exit strategy" and 2) this is a clear
signal to the political people in the White House that they have public
backing for resisting the Pentagon/neocon pressure demanding military
escalation and more troops.

Sargent notes:

The move is significant, because the major liberal
groups had, until now, largely refrained from pressuring Obama on
Afghanistan, partly to give the new president breathing room to tackle
major domestic challenges, partly to preserve good relations with the
new administration, and partly because public opinion wasn't exercised
about the war.

But a host of new factors -- the sudden media focus on Afghanistan,
the public's swing against the war, the administration's internal
debate over a a troop increase, and pressure from conservatives for an
escalation -- means MoveOn must now engage the issue, even if it means
exerting direct pressure on the President.

MoveOn is right. Come out, come out, anti-war liberals. The time to
speak out is now, while the White House is publicly uncommitted. As
journalist Andrea Mitchell said regarding President Obama's response to
the McChrystal report,

So, you have to ask, would you prefer to have a
president who doesn't shift strategy when he gets this kind of 'ground
truth' from the commanders?

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