Blog

On Afghanistan, Obama Hanging by G.O.P. Thread

Republican support will be "vital" for continuing the war and occupation of Afghanistan, the New York Times points out today, noting that Obama's reliance on Republican votes for the war means Republicans could pull the plug at any time.

One danger for Mr. Obama is that he may be forced to abandon his own party on Afghanistan for the right, which could put him in a perilous position if Republicans at any point decide they do not want to support a Democratic president on the issue.

In an op-ed Tuesday in the Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will called for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

Might George Will's op-ed encourage more Republicans in Congress to speak up in favor of withdrawing U.S. troops -- or in opposition to the increase that is now being planned?

When we get our troops out of Afghanistan will depend to a significant degree on what Republican members of Congress are willing to say and do.

This summer, the House of Representatives took what was in effect a "no confidence" vote on Afghanistan policy: it voted down, 138-278, Representative Jim McGovern's amendment requiring the Pentagon to present Congress with an exit strategy.

The majority of House Democrats supported McGovern's amendment. Among Democrats, the vote was 131-114, or 57 percent to 43 percent. But Republicans were overwhelmingly opposed. Only seven Republicans voted yes; 164 Republicans voted no; in percentage terms, 4 percent yes and 96 percent no.

JFP News 9/2: Time to Talk to the Taliban?

Just Foreign Policy News
September 2, 2009


Can We Get Some Republicans to Defect on Afghanistan?
Conservative columnist George Will had an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday, calling for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. We need some Republicans in Congress to listen to George Will.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/316

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) The New York Times published a forum on "whether it is time to negotiate with the Taliban." New York Times reporter Elizabeth Rubin says "the short answer is yes." Rubin asks what concessions the U.S. might be willing to make: is it prepared for referenda on constitutional issues? There is no risk to pursuing reconciliation or talks with the Taliban, Rubin says. The real risk would be to imagine the insurgents can be defeated through military means alone.

2) A thousand more Americans could die "on Obama's watch" in Afghanistan, writes Tom Hayden on Huffington Post. Hayden arrives at the number by extrapolating the July-August average through 2011.

Tags:

JFP News 9/1: Conservative George Will Calls for U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
September 1, 2009


Can We Get Some Republicans to Defect on Afghanistan?
Conservative columnist George Will had an op-ed in the Washington Post today, calling for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. We need some Republicans in Congress to listen to George Will.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/316

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) In an op-ed in the Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will calls for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. America should do only what can be done from offshore, Will says.

2) A new report by the top commander in Afghanistan is "laying the groundwork" for a request for more troops in the coming weeks, the New York Times reports. But Representative Jim McGovern said that after a recent trip there he was pessimistic about the chances of "success" and did not even know how to define it. "I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that we're getting sucked into an endless war here," McGovern said.

3) Iran says it has prepared an "updated nuclear proposal" and is ready to talk to world powers, Reuters reports. But a senior U.S. official was dismissive of the report.

Tags:

Can We Get Some Republicans to Defect on Afghanistan?

In an op-ed today in the Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will dissociates himself clearly from Republicans who support escalating the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces "should be substantially reduced," Will writes. "America should do only what can be done from offshore." Will's piece carries this clear-cut headline: "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan."

Might George Will's op-ed encourage more Republicans in Congress to speak up in favor of withdrawing U.S. troops?

Whether we get our troops out of Afghanistan anytime in the next five years will depend to a significant degree on what Republican Members of Congress are willing to say and do.

This summer, the House of Representatives took what was in effect a "no confidence" vote on Afghanistan policy: it voted down, 138-278, Representative Jim McGovern's amendment requiring the Pentagon to present Congress with an exit strategy.

The majority of House Democrats supported McGovern's amendment. Among Democrats, the vote was 131-114, or 57% to 43%. But Republicans were overwhelmingly opposed. Only seven Republicans voted yes; 164 Republicans voted no; in percentage terms, 4% yes and 96% no.

There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth - as there should be - about Democrats not representing their constituents on the war. But the story on the Republican side is worse, and changing U.S. policy will require turning that around as well.

The Washington Post reported on August 20 that "A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country. " Seven in 10 Democrats said the war was not worth fighting, while seven in 10 Republicans said that it was.

JFP News, 8/31: Feingold - The Road Home from Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
August 31, 2009


Senator Kennedy's Most Important Vote
As Senator Kennedy has been eulogized in recent days, few have noted what Senator Kennedy himself said was his most important vote in all his years in the Senate: his vote against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Dean Baker notes that when the political and media establishments were in war fever, Senator Kennedy looked at the evidence, and found it wanting. Next month Congress will consider plans to "double down" the war in Afghanistan. Which Senators will emulate Senator Kennedy's "most important vote"?
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/314

State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras Coup Regime
State Department staff have recommended that Secretary Clinton recognize the existence of a "military coup" in Honduras, which would cut off all non-humanitarian U.S. aid, as required by U.S. law. Call the Secretary Clinton at 202-647-5171 during business hours. Deliver this message: "Designate the regime in Honduras as a military coup and cut off all non-humanitarian aid to Honduras until President Zelaya is reinstated." If you don't get through right away, please try again later.
Background:
State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/312

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News

Tags:

Senator Kennedy's Most Important Vote

As Senator Ted Kennedy has been eulogized in recent days, almost all of the discussion of his "legacy" has focused on domestic issues. Only a few have noted what Senator Kennedy himself said was the most important vote he ever cast in the U.S. Senate: his vote against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Economist Dean Baker, asked by the Beltway newspaper The Hill to comment on "the most significant aspect of Senator Kennedy's legacy," wrote:

I'll just agree with Senator Kennedy on this one. He said that his vote against the Iraq War was the most important vote that he cast the whole time he was in the Senate.

At a time when most of the political establishment, and certainly most of the media establishment, was cowed by an administration yelling about the threat of terrorism, Senator Kennedy stood back and looked at the evidence in a serious manner.
[...]
This was a display of courage and sound judgment at a time when these character traits were virtually absent from the halls of power in official Washington.

Democratic politicians are often praised by establishment pundits for showing "leadership" if they stand on the side of powerful against the interests of those they were elected to represent. But most people would see Senator Kennedy's vote against the war as a better example of "leadership": standing up for the people you were elected to represent, in the face of significant pressure to do otherwise. It's not surprising that the same media institutions which failed to challenge the Bush Administration's "faith-based" case for the war in Iraq would pass over this opportunity to remind everyone that they failed to show the same leadership as Senator Kennedy did when the nation needed it most.

JFP News 8/28: Why are we bombing clinics?

Just Foreign Policy News
August 28, 2009


State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras Coup Regime
State Department staff have recommended that Secretary Clinton formally designate the events in Honduras a "military coup," which would cut off all non-humanitarian U.S. aid, as required by U.S. law. Urge Secretary Clinton to follow the State Department recommendation. Call the State Department at 202-647-5171 during business hours. Deliver the following message: "Secretary Clinton, please follow the recommendation of the State Department. Legally define the de facto regime in Honduras as a military coup and cut off all non-humanitarian aid to Honduras until President Zelaya is reinstated." If you don't get through right away, try again later.
Background:
State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/312

Do Americans Know Senator Feingold Has Called for a Timetable for Withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Spread the news with our 4 minute video.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/exit-afghanistan

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News

Tags:

State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras

After two months, the State Department is poised to formally declare what was obvious to most of the world: on June 28, Honduras experienced a military coup.

State Department staff have recommended to Secretary of State Clinton that the ouster of Honduran President Zelaya be formally declared a "military coup," which could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding, Reuters reports.

The semi-official story has been that State Department lawyers were studying the events in Honduras to see if they met the "technical definition" of a "military coup." But all along the State Department made clear that it was purposely delaying its formal determination to give "diplomacy" - the talks in Costa Rica between representatives of President Zelaya and representatives of the coup regime - a chance to work.

It was never explained why making this determination - which, under U.S. law, requires a cutoff of aid to the coup government - would have interfered with "diplomacy." On the contrary: it was immediately obvious that the obstacle to a negotiated solution was the intransigence of the coup regime, which refused to accept a compromise proposal that would allow President Zelaya to return. So, as many Latin American governments argued - including the Costa Rican government - if the U.S. wanted a negotiated solution, it needed to ramp up pressure on the coup regime.

But the State Department is now, at last, conceding that its previous efforts were insufficient. Better late than never - much better.

No doubt Republicans in Congress who have supported the coup regime in Honduras will now complain loudly when Secretary Clinton makes her formal determination - assuming that she follows the recommendation of her staff.

In anticipation of right-wing Republican complaints, it is important to note two key facts.

JFP News 8/27: State Department Recommends Aid Cutoff to Honduras

Just Foreign Policy News
August 27, 2009

Tags:

JFP News 8/26: Out of Afghanistan? Feingold Leads the Way

Just Foreign Policy News
August 26, 2009


Out of Afghanistan? Feingold Leads the Way
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has broken a Washington taboo: he called for a "timetable" for withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. Just Foreign Policy's Megan Iorio has put together a video with highlights of Senator Feingold's recent remarks on Afghanistan. Watch and spread.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/309

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Obama is caught between two important constituencies on Afghanistan - the generals who want more troops, and the base of his own party, whose tolerance for a worsening conflict is quickly evaporating, the Washington Post reports. Sen. Russell Feingold, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called this week for the first time for Obama to set a "flexible timetable" to withdraw U.S. forces, saying he is "not convinced that simply pouring more and more troops into Afghanistan is a well-thought-out strategy."

Tags: