Even before President Obama formally announces his plan to surge more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Afghanistan, Democrats who want to win elections are campaigning against it.
The next big election for Democrats is the Massachusetts primary organized to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.
The leading candidates in next Tuesday’s primary are scrambling to appeal to the party’s base voters in a state that gave overwhelming support to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
In fact, they are doing the opposite.
Congressman Mike Capuano, who has attracted the support of anti-war activists in groups such as Progressive Democrats of America, is up on television with a commercial that trumpets his anti-war stance.
In it, the congressman recalls his vote against authorizing the war in Iraq and then says: “Now there’s a call for more troops in Afghanistan, but the questions remain: What’s our mission? How do we define success? And what’s our exit strategy? Without the right answers to those questions, I will never vote to send more of our sons and daughters to war. Never!”
Noting that the mission seems to be shifting from tackling terrorism to a vague mix of defensive fights with the Taliban and nation building, Capuano says: “It’s about to turn into somehow bringing democracy to Afghanistan, somehow protecting a corrupt regime. And I don’t understand why that mission is good. It wasn’t good in Iraq, it won’t be good in Afghanistan, it won’t be good in any place in this world.
“Al Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan,” Capuano argues, correctly. “(If) we stay there, we are fighting yesterday’s war. We should go where Al Qaeda is, chase them around the world, not where they were yesterday.”
So does that mean that Capuano has staked out the anti-war turf in the primary to replace Kennedy.
Actually, he’s got a lot of company.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who leads in most polls as the December 8 vote approaches, says she is opposed to sending more troops to Afghanistan. And Coakley goes a step further, declaring that, “I believe we should begin the process of bringing our troops home.”