Sarah Palin, the Neocons and Howard Dean Love the War in Afghanistan

The neoconservative Project for a New American Century
laid much of the groundwork for the foreign policy of the Bush
administration. Its members received important postings in the White
House, Department of Defense and other institutions. But what is seldom
mentioned is that PNAC achieved its first great political victory
during the Clinton administration when PNAC pushed Clinton to sign the
Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. In January 1998, the group wrote
to Clinton: "[Y]ou have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined
course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity,
and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the
U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should
aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."
The Iraq Liberation Act, backed overwhelmingly by Democrats and
Republicans and signed by Clinton, made regime change in Iraq official
US policy and set the course for the eventual invasion and occupation.

recently re-branded itself under the new name of the Foreign Policy
Initiative. The three major figures behind FPI are well-known neocons
William Kristol, Robert Kagan and Dan Senor. "The United States remains
the world's indispensable nation," the group's mission statement
reads--"indispensable to international peace, security, and stability,
and indispensable to safe-guarding and advancing the ideals and
principles we hold dear."

On September 7, the FPI sent a letter
to President Obama about Afghanistan, eerily similar to the one PNAC
sent Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq in 1998. It praises
Obama's escalation in Afghanistan before calling on him to expand the
war even further:

You've called Afghanistan an "international security
challenge of the highest order, " and stated that "the safety of people
around the world is at stake." Last month you told a convention of
veterans, "Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so
again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even
larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more
Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is
fundamental to the defense of our people."

We fully agree with
those sentiments. We congratulate you on the leadership you
demonstrated earlier this year when you decided to deploy approximately
21,000 additional troops and several thousand civilian experts...

the announcement of your administration's new strategy, we have been
troubled by calls for a drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan and
a growing sense of defeatism about the war... There is no middle course.
Incrementally committing fewer troops than required would be a grave
mistake and may well lead to American defeat. We will not support
half-measures that repeat the errors of the past.

The list of signators
to the FPI letter is a predictable cast of neocon characters who
somehow make a living showing how little they know about so much. But
there are some new names. Perhaps most comical among them: Sarah Palin,
that famed foreign policy visionary. If Palin could see Russia from her
backyard, she clearly missed the part where the Red Army got chased
back to the Motherland after being defeated in Afghanistan.

recent polls indicating that the American people are increasingly
questioning the US presence in Afghanistan and leading conservatives
like George Will saying
it's "time to get out of Afghanistan," the White House is desperate to
find support for its deteriorating war. What is emerging is a sort of
neocon alliance with some partisan Democrats backing the White House.
The Center for American Progress has teamed up with neocons at public forums supporting the war (and FPI has promoted these events) and has put out pro-war reportsFox News Sunday--hosted
by Dick Cheney's little BFF, Chris Wallace--Howard Dean fumbled his way
through a defense of Obama's Afghan war policy (and went so low as to
use neocon talking points about the war being for women's rights) and
found himself in agreement with a table of discredited right-wingers,
including Newt Gingrich: supporting the surge in Afghanistan. On

WALLACE: All right. Let me get into one more subject.

Governor Dean, the president will reportedly decide in the next few
weeks whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan. As a leader of
the anti-war movement when it came to Iraq, will the liberal wing of
the Democratic Party -- will you -- support the president if he deepens
our commitment in that war?

DEAN: I'm not so sure I'm the liberal wing, but I guess I'm
the -- I'm appointed by you the head of the liberal wing or whatever.
No, I -- look, I've supported the president on this one. I think this is
different than Iraq. I think there are people who mean the United
States harm over there.

I think -- I was very pleased to say the -- hear the president a few
months ago say, "Look, we can't win this war militarily." He gets what
we have to do here. And it is true that American public opinion is not
supportive of the war effort anymore.

I think this does have something to do with security to the United
States. I do believe it has something to do with the role of women in
these kinds of societies. I think we ought to be supportive of the role
of women and their ability to get an education and things like that. I
don't think that's the only reason we're there.

But I'm supportive of the president, and I'm going to continue to be supportive of the president on Afghanistan.

WALLACE: Well, I'm glad we were able to reach these cross-party...

DEAN: Yeah.

WALLACE: ... and intra-party divide.

DEAN: You see, it can work. It can work.

WALLACE: I brought -- I helped bring you all together.

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