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Saturday, November 29, 2014

War, peace and popular opinion

Right-wing pundits often point to poll numbers when doing so helps their cause. For example, they love the polls which "prove" Obamacare's unpopularity, although they never mention one key point: Many of the people who say that they don't like Obamacare would prefer something more like single-payer.

If polls are so important (and they are), then what about these numbers?
In 2009, 60 percent of Americans in an ABC News-Washington Post poll said that the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting. Hillary Clinton had explained the troop surge then, "I’m well aware of the popular concern, and I understand it. But I don’t think leaders – and certainly this president will not – make decisions that are matters of life and death and the future security of our nation based on polling."

In a CNN poll in December 2013, 82% of Americans opposed the Afghan War , making it even less popular than the disastrous Vietnam War!
Given these numbers, you'd think that GOP politicians would run on an anti-war platform. Nope.

Without a single complaint from his Republican opponents, Obama is escalating the war in Afghanistan again.
Why is it that after 13 years of Operation Enduring Freedom, more than 4000 Afghans have set themselves on fire in 2014, and another 4000 have tried to poison themselves?
Back in the military camp, you’re aware of the crisis of up to 22 U.S. veterans committing suicide every day.
If the GOP reflexively takes a stand against anything and everything that Obama supports, why don't the Republicans critique this president's war policy?

They won't complain because they're the ones who set that policy.
American officials said that while the debate over the nature of the American military’s role beginning in 2015 has lasted for years, two issues in particular have shifted the debate in recent months.

The first is the advance of Islamic State forces across northern Iraq and the collapse of the Iraqi Army, which has led to criticism of Mr. Obama for a military pullout of Iraq that left Iraqi troops ill-prepared to protect their soil.

This has intensified criticism of Mr. Obama’s Afghanistan strategy, which Republican and even some Democratic lawmakers have said adheres to an overly compressed timeline that would hamper efforts to train and advise Afghan security forces — potentially leaving them vulnerable to attack from Taliban fighters and other extremists in the meantime.

This new arrangement could blunt some of that criticism, although it is also likely to be criticized by some Democratic lawmakers who will say that Mr. Obama allowed the military to dictate the terms of the endgame in Afghanistan.
So here we are again. We have a President who is far more hawkish than are the people who voted for him, yet the Republicans do not offer an alternative. Everyone knows that the neocons would be in even firmer control right now if Mitt Romney had won the oval office.

Like it or not, it is a fact that the only American politicians who hear our cries for peace are Democrats. But not all Democrats hear those cries, and those who do are rarely allowed to wield power.

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