The online activist group, which experienced its mostexplosive growth when it emerged as a focal point for opposition to thewar in Iraq, has been criticized for failing to adopt an anti-warposition with regard to the increasingly deadly and ineffectual USoccupation of Afghanistan.

Now, however, the 4.2-million member group has made a tentative movetoward supporting an Afghanistan exit strategy.

In a online e-blast to activists, MoveOn organizers argued Fridayagainst the deployment of more US troops to Afghanistan and for thedevelopment of “a clear exit strategy.”

Noting the current debate over whether to increase the U.S. trooppresence, the MoveOn organizers argue that, “The hawks are making theirposition heard. Now, the majority of Americans–those of us who are foras quick and as responsible an end to the war as possible–need to makeour voices heard, too.”

Here’s the letter:

Dear MoveOn member,

U.S. policy in Afghanistan has reached a pivotal moment.President Obama is poised to make a critical decision about theAfghanistan war in thenext few weeks. And there’s a big debate happening right now about whatto do.

Pro-war advocates both inside and outside theadministration–includingJohn McCain and Joe Lieberman–are calling for a big escalation. Thegeneral in charge of Afghanistan is expected to request tens ofthousands more troops, and that may just be the beginning. They’recranking up the pressure for an immediate surge.

But other powerful voices are urging caution: Vice PresidentBiden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have raised realconcerns aboutthe idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan without a clear strategy,as have Democrats in Congress. And a majority of Americans opposeincreasing troop levels.

Can you write to the White House and tell them we need aclear exitstrategy–not tens of thousands more US troops stuck in a quagmire? Youcan send the president a message by clicking here.

Some administration officials are arguing for a smaller,nimblerapproach with a narrow focus on the threat from al-Qaeda. Butcheerleaders for the war refuse to acknowledge that there could be anyviable strategy other than more and more troops. So they’re trotting outthe same tired old lines and questioning the motives of those whodisagree with them.

They figure they can cut off any debate about our ultimate goals inAfghanistan and the region. But President Obama has consistently shown awillingness to stand up for his more thoughtful approach to foreignpolicy, and that’s what he needs to do here, too.

The hawks are making their position heard. Now, the majority ofAmericans–those of us who are for as quick and as responsible an end tothe war as possible–need to make our voices heard, too.

Can you write to the President “>now?

-Daniel, Lenore, Kat, Marika, and the rest of theteam

MoveOn’s stance remains a cautious one that tends to defer to Obama, whohas sent mixed signals about whether he wants to extend the occupation.

But it is a move in the right direction.

What’s needed next is a timeline for bringing the troops home. A firststep in that direction has been proposed by Massachusetts CongressmanJim McGovern, who has now attracted 98 cosponsors for House Resolution 2404, legislation that would “require theSecretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the UnitedStates exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistanparticipating in Operation Enduring Freedom.”

McGovern argues that “an escalationofAmerican military forces (in Afghanistan) would be a mistake and wouldnot solve the many problems and challenges of that country.”

Progressive Democrats of America, an activist group that has taken thelead in the fight to end the occupation of Afghanistan is rallying support for McGovern’s position–and his legislation.

Says PDA:

Remember the many failed attempts to pass legislationrequiring an exit strategy for Iraq during the Bush Administration? Wecannot allow the Afghanistan and Pakistan conflict to follow the samecourse in Congress during the Obama administration. It has the capacityto be an even bigger quagmire than Iraq.

Military spending is the most inflationary kind of spendingwe indulgein, and our economy is on the ropes in large part because of the debt weincurred to wage war in Iraq. We simply cannot afford another long drawnout conflict, neither can we afford the deaths and injuries of ourtroops nor the indiscriminate casualties among the civilian populationsin Afghanistan and Pakistan.