Democracy Arsenal

« Should Liberals Be Angry with President Obama? (If So, How Much?) | Main | What's Our End Game for Afghanistan? »

June 25, 2010

More on Lefty Silence on Afghanistan
Posted by Michael Cohen

So a couple of week ago I wrote a rather lengthy essay for the New Republic on the silence of the left in criticizing Afghanistan policy. Several people (including a rather prominent progressive national security expert who will go nameless) made the rather excellent point that it wasn't just the blogosphere and think tanks that had been silent on Afghanistan policy; it was also the liberal advocacy groups. 

For editorial reasons that particular point didn't make it into the final version of my TNR piece. So with some bemusement I feel the need to highlight this rather curious incident over at the website

I'm not always in agreement with MoveOn, but in general I think they do important work on behalf of progressive goals. One notable exception was this ad that referred to General David Petraeus as General Betray Us. While I was sympathetic to the notion that General Petraeus was presenting Congress and the American people wit  an overly rosy view of the war in Iraq (and said so at the time) this ad was in incredibly poor taste and actually undercut the progressive argument against the surge. 

Yet, MoveOn kept that ad up on its website for three years . . . until a few days ago when it decided to remove it. One can draw their own conclusions as to the reasons for its sudden removal, but clearly it's not too hard to figure out why: Petraeus is on our team now! 

Surely if MoveOn believed its "Betray Us" ad was correct then (and has been correct for the past three years) I can't see how President Obama appointing Petraeus to be the US commander in Afghanistan changes anything. 

What's even more surprising is that MoveOn has been critical of the war in Afghanistan and of escalation (although there is no mention of the war on its homepage today). The fact is, a change in command doesn't change the fundamental incoherence of our current strategy, which President Obama made clear on Wednesday will remain the same. If MoveOn thinks the war is a mistake it should say so - but then again so should a lot of people.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More on Lefty Silence on Afghanistan:


After reading the whole article I would like to say that the wars are still there and in Afghanistan, getting larger, but Bush is no longer the boogeyman in the White House.

So Move On is the left?

1- "Infrastructure
David Ignatius thinks we should be building Afghanistan.
Once upon a time when the Afghanistan invasion happened I thought that what might work would be to bring an economic miracle to the area by investing heavily in their infrastructure. But that was over 8 years ago."

2- "That 9/12 Feeling
The post-9/11 "unity era" was an era in which people were told to watch what they say. Crazy hippies who suggested that maybe going to war in Afghanistan might not be as awesome as everyone thought were shouted down, and we all agreed that the Dixie Chicks were history's greatest monsters because Natalie Maines said she was ashamed Bush was from Texas.

It was a unity era where some part of the population, along with the White House, the mainstream media, and conservative media had fun shouting down the all powerful hippies. Such an awesome time."

3- "Forever War
I caught a bit of an NPR segment with some guy from Brookings and he basically said what they're doing in Afghanistan isn't working very well so we're going to have to keep doing it and there's no way we can remove troops in 2011.

That's all Atrios, from this week. And he's been moving to the left over the past couple of years, so in some ways you could call him left instead of liberal. But you don't mean 'the left' you mean Americans you take seriously who disagree with the people you spend most of your time talking to. And Move On was founded to defend Bill Clinton. Is he "the left" too?


Exactly what position on Afghanistan would you like to see the left defend? Exactly what position do you defend? We know you disapprove of the counterinsurgency strategy. So what is your positive view? That we should move away from counterinsurgency, "get our gun on" and spend more time wasting Afghan evildoers? Do you expect the left to sign onto that?

Criticism from the left has been rendered hopeless and pointless. Fundamentally, the left in America rejects the all-encompassing militarism of American culture, a culture that is embraced by the conservatives, moderates and liberals. The left is utterly locked out of this approved national conversation. So what does it matter what the left says? Nobody will pay attention anyway.

For several years, Democracy Arsenal and the National Security Network have preached the message that the problem with the Democratic party is that it contains too many leftists, and that the latter lack the lovey-dovey relationship with the military and the military budget that the American majority demands. The liberal NSN message to the left has been that, not to put too fine a point on it, the left should just shut up. So maybe a lot of the left finally listened to you guys, and has given up?

Is Frank Rich's column the sort of thing you are looking for?

A theater critic, and a TV comic? You can't expect serious people to pay attention to entertainers.

thank youu admin.very good web site

We always offer estimates to our potential clients so they know exactly what to expect-there is no additional charge for travel or if you need a weekend repair. Additionally we have a low price matching policy, so if you find a better deal somewhere else we'll match the printed price to make sure you get the best value possible. This goes for an appliance, heating or air condition repair you may require.

Dan, I've offered suggestions both here and here:

But as to this question, "Exactly what position on Afghanistan would you like to see the left defend?" that wasn't the point of this post - it was to note the reluctance of left-wing organizations like MoveOn to be more vocal in their opposition to a war they have stated publicly they don't support.

MoveOn is a Democratic, perhaps liberal, but certainly not a left organization. Most real lefties hope President Palin gets stuck with begging China for the money to bring the defeated troops home.

Türkiyenin ilk Hiphop Sitesi için tıkla -> Hiphop <-
Gekko G Fan Sitesi için tıkla -> Gekko G <-
Mask Animasyon sitesi için tıkla -> Mask animasyon <-

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use