The Left needs to favor the Afghan war for political reasons as long as it is agitating against the Iraq war. But shouldn’t it oppose the Afghan war for all the same reasons it has opposed Iraq? Afghanistan is in a civil war; it has deep ethnic divisions; the war there has lasted longer than World War II and longer than the Iraq war; it has become a magnet for militants, as more and more of them are going to the Afghan theater rather than Iraq (where they have a good chance of being killed, while fighting for an unpopular cause); if Iraq was supposedly “unwinnable,” Afghanistan is an even tougher proposition; etc. Juan Cole discusses some of this here, and gets respectful notice from Kevin Drum. There’s always the talking point that Afghanistan hosted the people who attacked us on 9/11, but as Cole points out, almost all of them are now in Pakistan. So watch this trend. If Obama is elected and “ends” the war in Iraq, opposing the war in Afghanistan will become the next cause for the Left. But now it is focused on Iraq, because it understandably thinks that you can only focus on losing one war at a time.
Jim Geraghty e-mails:
I’m probably not the first to notice this, but if you set out to lose two wars at a time, you may divide your attention and resources and accidentally win both.
There’s also this Dean Barnett post here.