US talking to the Taliban

Philip Weiss writes:

One of the highlights of the Netroots convention that ended yesterday was a panel on getting out of Afghanistan that included the threat by two House Democrats to work with antiwar Republicans to undermine the Obama war program in coming weeks.

Below I’m going to provide some of the back-and-forth from that panel to convey the intensity and eloquence of that leftwing criticism, at a time when the Congressmen said that the White House is reexamining its Afghan commitment. And if you don’t read everything in this dialogue– well, be sure to read General Paul Eaton’s Arlington Cemetery story 1/2 way down.

REP. JIM McGOVERN of Massachusetts: “We’re being called by the administration and being told about all these successes in Afghanistan. ‘We secured this village, this [other] one’… The question is, is any of this sustainable without a prolonged military presence? Everything we do requires us to be there forever… And I wouldn’t trust the government of Afghanistan to tell me the correct time, based on their record of corruption.”

STEVE CLEMONS of the New America Foundation, and leader of an Afghan Study Group, pointed out that we are spending nearly $120 billion a year in a country that has a GDP of $14 billion. Couldn’t that money be better spent than on military actions? Clemons named Republicans who are making hay by questioning Afghanistan, including Michelle Bachmann, Michael Steele, Ann Coulter, Bing West (a former Reagan Defense official), Grover Norquist, and likely presidential candidate John Huntsman Jr.

The White House figured that when leftwingers abandoned them on Afghanistan, they still had the right wing. But Clemons arranged for a poll of conservatives. “Once they knew of the costs, support collapsed.”

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