The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


MoveOn challenges Obama over Afghanistan

Is Obama losing one of his biggest supporters?

Over at Left Foot Forward, Will Straw notes that, in a unprecedented move, the influential liberal-left website has broken with Barack Obama over his decision to deploy 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan.

A poll of 50,000 of the site's 3.3 million members showed that 56.2 per cent now oppose the war, with just 16.1 per cent in favour and 27.7 per cent undecided. The site is calling on its members to sign a petition asking Congress to press Obama for a "binding timeline" on withdrawal of troops.

Obama's hawkish stance on Afghanistan should come as no surprise to those who listened carefully to his inauguration speech. In an almost Bush-style passage he declared:

We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

There seems to be an unwritten constitutional requirement for every US president to have "their war", and now Obama has his. It's another salutary reminder that he represents continuity at least as much as "change".

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