Democrats claim they rode to victory in Congress because of a wave of anti-Iraq war sentiment. This is debatable. But what is not debatable is the fact that the Democratic leadership tried, and failed, on a number of occasions to end that war.
What is not debatable is that the Communist Left is opposed to the war.
But the impression left by Democrats and the Left is that Afghanistan represents "the Good Fight" in the war against Islamists.
But that may not be true when we look at the data.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll has some disturbing results
Majorities of Democrats and independents alike say the Iraq war was not worth fighting and that it’s not linked to the broader war on terror; smaller majorities say there’s been no significant progress there. Republicans take the opposite view on each of these.
On Afghanistan, however, independents side more closely with Republicans than with Democrats. Majorities of Republicans and independents think the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting and that the effort there is linked to the eventual defeat of terrorism more broadly. Majorities of Democrats disagree.
I don't know about you, but I was surprised at that and I wondered how long this attitude has existed. It turns out the answer is: for a while.
A Pew Research Poll taken in February of this year had these results:
As in Iraq, more Republicans than Democrats say the military effort in Afghanistan is going well (71% vs. 38% for Democrats and 46% of independents). More Republicans also say that the U.S. made the right decision in using military force there (85%), although majorities of Democrats (53%) and independents (67%) agree. This difference between Republicans and Democrats (32 points) is smaller than for Iraq, where the partisan gap is 59 points.
In this poll, 48% of Democrats want out of Afghanistan now compared with 39% of Independents and 21% of Republicans.
A CNN/Opinion Research Poll taken in December of last year showed that 41% percent of Americans disapproved of America's involvement in Afghanistan, virtually the same number as in a poll taken in Aug of 2006.
The CNN Poll does not provide a breakdown by party, but given the above, I can surmise a general trend.
An Open Letter to Senator Obama printed in The Nation gives me confidence that the Left is as much against Afghanistan as they are against Iraq.
In enumerating the positions in which Obama has strayed from the fold, they include
the use of residual forces and mercenary troops in Iraq, the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan, the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the death penalty--your stated positions have consistently varied from the positions held by many of us, the "friends on the left" you addressed in recent remarks.
Now given that al Qaida has all but given up on the self-declared central front in the War Against Crusaders, Iraq, and have redeployed to Afghanistan, the ramping up of efforts there is going to be more and more a focus of US Foreign Policy, at least as it relates to the War Against Islamists.
But how long will it be, after a drawdown in Iraq and intensified fighting in Afghanistan grabs more headlines, before Democrats try to force the US out of there as well?
And who will stand against the Left?