Posted by John Stauber on March 27, 2009

John Podesta's liberal think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) strongly supports Barack Obama's escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is best evidenced by Sustainable Security in Afghanistan, a CAP report by Lawrence J. Korb. Podesta served as the head of Obama's transition team, and CAP's support for Obama's wars is the latest step in a successful co-option of the US peace movement by Obama's political aides and the Democratic Party.

CAP and the five million member liberal lobby group MoveOn were behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to actually cut off funding for the war. AAEI was operated by two of Barack Obama's top political aids, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, and by Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change and USAction. Today Woodhouse is Obama's Director of Communications and Research for the Democratic National Committee. He controls the massive email list called Obama for America composed of the many millions of people who gave money and love to the Democratic peace candidate and might be wondering what the heck he is up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan. MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama's policy agenda. Some of us saw this unfolding years ago. Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a war and sounding so much like the previous administration in his rationale for doing so.

Comments

Stauber, maybe it is time to admit that you screwed up by attacking Nader and voting for Kerry. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind, don't you know?

Obama is playing the hand he inherited. It may not be strategically possible to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan without being responsible for a huge bloodbath that will destabilize the region for years to come. Isolationism is not a viable policy.

...Now we gotta fix it. Oops, broke that one, too...Dang! Broke another one!

Obama inherited a cheater's loosing hand. It's past time to fold. You know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The wars (GWOT) are already a huge bloodbath (genocide?) that have destabilized the region for years to come. Isolationism is not what I'm advocating (but then, what is Gaza?). We're in Afghanistan for the opium, the pipeline, the bases and, of course, the profit.

Are you a "message force multiplier"?

I voted for Ralph Nader because he was the only candidate who I knew would keep his word.

John Nichols of The Nation comments on this blog, and lists some of the [http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/422250 groups opposing the escalation].

This caught populist author and Democratic activist [[David Sirota]]'s attention and he weighed in [http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=12558 here].

Coming as I have from a mostly pacifist background, I understand John's frustration that those who opposed one war might support any escalation in another.

But please keep in mind that many who completely opposed the war in Iraq did so in part because it was a distraction (perhaps "disruption" is a better word) of the presumably more worthwhile fight in Afghanistan. That isn't to say that both fights were hideous under Bush, and Af/Pak may well be hideous under Obama (war usually is), but a resurgent Taliban is one of the few things Americans might still be in favor of attacking--especially if it were to be done intelligently. (Oh, that it had been originally...)

I'm not defending Matzzie, the Sustainable Security report, or any other specifics--but the very fact that the plan includes Pakistan, which is arguably more of a threat to the world than either Afghanistan or Iraq ever was, means that someone up there gets the idea of regional stability. Before we condemn, many of us want to see what the administration has in mind--if it turns into Obama's Vietnam, there's always time to oppose.

Meanwhile, you keep up the pacifist front--I'm glad you're doing it--but let's not gloss over one war for another. Just because the last administration couldn't seem to keep them separate in their "War on terror" branding, doesn't mean many of us can't tell the difference.

As a local coordinator for MoveOn.org's Operation Democracy council in Grand Rapids I can attest to the many times we demonstrated against the war and urged our Congressman Vern Ehlers to stop voting for the funding that escalated the war. MoveOn today is focusing on Obama's clean energy/green jobs proposal with a partnering with Green for All and the Clean Energy Corps proposal. I have heard nada about any attempts to influence its members to support Obama's foreign policy initiatives, which would no doubt be a devisive issue with our five million plus constituents. Mike Franz, Grand Rapids, MI

The feedback mechanism for Move On has been broken for a long time. Now, it is moving on to being just another group, not a vital organization. Its influence will drop, not grow.

Besides, the big issue now is OBAMA is helping the very same five big investment banks that destroyed the entire planet's financial systems! This is what?

How about a total disaster!

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