Shouldn't MoveOn Oppose Obama on Afghanistan? became a meaningful force in American politics when it
emerged as a muscular network of activists that was willing to
challenge not just Republicans but Democrats when they were wrong about
foreign policy.

Democratic leaders in Congress might have been willing to compromise
with the Bush administration on Iraq back in 2002. But MoveOn said

And MoveOn was right.

Now, more than ever, we need MoveOn to remain true to its historic mission.

We need MoveOn to be right about Afghanistan.

For that reason, I certainly hope that Justin Ruben, the new MoveOn executive director, was wrong when he told my colleague Ari Melber
that he did not think the group would be letting President Obama know
he is wrong to be surging more U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

Here's what Ruben said about MoveOn's agenda for the coming months:

And while MoveOn loudly led the battle against the
Iraq "surge," Ruben said he not expect ending the war Afghanistan,
where Obama is deploying additional troops, to make the priority list.
The "overwhelming priority" is still Iraq, Ruben explains, and while
his members are concerned about Afghanistan, they tend to 'differ on
what ought to be done about it.'

Unless the MoveOn membership has lost touch with its values and its
former allies, I am going to bet that they are a lot more concerned
about Afghanistan than Ruben thinks.

Here's what Peace Action says:

Yesterday, President Obama announced his decision to
send 17,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, on the grounds that
'the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention'.
Peace Action strongly opposes Obama's recent announcement and urges
people to immediately call on Obama to choose diplomacy, not

More troops won't solve our problems in Afghanistan...

We have seen the disastrous consequences of heading into war without
a plan in Iraq. We are still mourning American and Iraqi lives lost,
and struggling to rehabilitate our economy while spending billions of
dollars on war.

Peace Action calls for the 'rapid withdrawal' of U.S. troops from
Afghanistan and a new commitment to a negotiated diplomatic solution
involving all regional players.

The Obama Administration should:

-- De-escalate troop levels in Afghanistan and to reject the idea that there is a military solution to the region's problems;

-- Immediately stop military activities that indiscriminately impact civilians such as air and drone strikes;

-- Rapidly withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan;

-- Commit to negotiated diplomatic talks involving all major
regional players, including major international peace-keeping bodies;

-- Address the real needs of Afghans, which include health-care, clean water, education, and security.

Here's what the new
network -- which has been organized by the group Win Without War and is
backed by, the Council for a Livable World, Working
Assets, Women's Action for New Directions, Faithful America, 2020
Vision, the American Friends Service Committee, the Unitarian
Universalist Service Committee, the Unitarian Universalist Association
and NETWORK (the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby) -- says:

President Obama has announced a plan to send 17,000
additional troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer. In the absence
of a clear mission or exit plan, this troop escalation is more likely
to fuel anti-American sentiment and the Taliban-led insurgency than
provide any meaningful improvement in security.

Here's the Afghanistan assessment of California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the driving force behind the Congressional Out of Iraq Caucus:

We don't want to substitute Afghanistan for Iraq.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee with the steadiest track record of challenging
presidents of both parties when they make wrong moves on the
international stage, adds:

After years of a failed foreign policy which distracted
us from our top national security priority of defeating al Qaeda and
its affiliates, I am encouraged by President Obama's focus on
Afghanistan where the 9/11 attacks originated. But we need to make sure
we have a strategy in place for Afghanistan that will actually work
before we commit thousands more U.S. troops. A military escalation
without a strategy to address the complex problems facing Afghanistan
and the region could alienate the Afghan people and make it much more
difficult to achieve our top national security goal of defeating al

Is MoveOn really out of synch with Peace Action, Win Without War and
other major anti-war and religious groups and congressional allies of
the peace movement?

Let's hope not.

© 2023 The Nation