Numerous polls in recent months have shown that a majority of Americans do not think the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting and oppose sending more troops. The opposition to the war is even starker within the Democratic Party—many of the people who worked tirelessly to elect President Obama and will be essential to his success in 2012. In a Pew poll from September, only 37% of Democrats said the US and NATO should keep troops in Afghanistan, and that number is only going to decrease and things continue to deteriorate. Last weekend, the California Democratic Party, the largest in the nation, sent a clear message that President Obama’s base wants him to take a drastically different approach by passing a resolution calling for a withdrawal timetable:
Overwhelmingly approved on Sunday by the California Democratic Party’s 300-member statewide executive board, the resolution is titled “End the U.S. Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan.”
The resolution supports “a timetable for withdrawal of our military personnel” and calls for “an end to the use of mercenary contractors as well as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties.”
Advocating multiparty talks inside Afghanistan, the resolution also urges Obama “to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid.”
While Obama weighs Afghanistan policy options, the California Democratic Party’s adoption of the resolution is the most tangible indicator yet that escalation of the U.S. war effort can only fuel opposition within the president’s own party — opposition that has already begun to erode his political base.
President Obama has shown some signs of recognizing the need for a new approach, rejecting the four troop increase options he was given and asking US Ambassador to Afghanistan and former general Karl Eikenberry about exit strategies. The California Democratic Party took an important step by getting on the record during this critical decision-making period. You can make sure your voice is heard as well and encourage President Obama to follow those impulses. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama to reject a request for more troops in Afghanistan.