Afghanistan

Rep. Grijalva tells Democrats to get off the warpath to win in 2012

In addition to the countless moral and financial reasons for ending the war in Afghanistan, smart politicians are recognizing the political reasons for taking a stand against the war. The strong showing in the House last week for the McGovern/Jones amendment shows that some of them are waking up to the intensity of antiwar sentiment in this country.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a pro-peace leader in the House, took to The American Prospect today to lay out the case for President Obama and Democrats to campaign on ending the war:

The planned withdrawal in July will be an important test of the administration’s commitment to winding down the war. The same poll showed that 73 percent of Americans think the U.S. should withdraw a “substantial number” of troops in July. Tellingly, only 39 percent believe this will happen. President Obama can reinforce the beliefs of voters who feel the government ignores their position, or he can give voters a reason to hope, and to vote, next year.

Some pundits think Afghanistan will be obscured by the economy and won’t play a big role in the 2012 election. I doubt it. Americans are connecting the dots between federal spending priorities and the pain they feel at home.

In 2012, key Democratic voters may find themselves lacking money to heat their homes through the winter, struggling to put their kids through college without Pell grants, or running out of unemployment benefits with no new job on the horizon. Meanwhile, more than 100 billion of their tax dollars — as much as $2 billion per al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan, by the administration’s own estimates — are going to a war they feel is not worth the cost. Tell me how that’s not a big political issue.

This is a far cry from the vision that got people pounding the pavement for Democrats in 2008. Party strategist Peter Fenn points out that a Democratic base demoralized by an unaffordable and seemingly never-ending war could pose a major turnout problem in 2012.

Read the rest here.

3 replies »

  1. One concern: The government chose to turn its back on Americans in need, attaching punitive measures to even a single food stamp of humanitarian aid, in spite of a lack of jobs, and an absence of access to skills training that would make people employable in our post-industrial country. What was taken out of welfare funding for our desperately poor was simply put into massive, ongoing handouts to those very corporations that have been using our tax dollars to export our jobs. This generation of legislators, on whole, has shown tremendous contempt for the American people. When so many people are going without basic needs, when so many families have been torn apart by heavy-handed policies aimed at our poor, how can we call on our government to continue shipping aid out of the country, while prohibiting foreign aid from reaching distressed Americans (as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina)?

    • I think part of the problem is that many politicians have framed the debate in this way- that we must choose between helping people here and helping people abroad. The fact of the matter is that we could easily fund programs to help people in this country and abroad if our government prioritized it. There is plenty of wasteful spending in the Pentagon that could be diverted, not to mention other sources of funding like ending tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s important that we make this points to our politicians and not let poor people here or in other countries suffer because their priorities are skewed.

  2. To stop the war – all wars – we need to get rid of the Fed, the Federal Reserve System. This is essential, or no matter what people do, the wars will continue. The Fed is not part of the U.S. government. It is owned by private concerns with headquarters in Britain and Germany. With the Fed in place, they can manipulate U.S.America – which is supposed to be our country, not theirs – into war anywhere in the world any time they please. End the Fed now!

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