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Why Jim Hightower Shouldn’t Be the Only One Debating John McCain on Afghanistan

Time to reclaim the frame from the neocons on this war.
 
 
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The same neocons who orchestrated the war in Iraq and undermined US efforts in Afghanistan the first time around are at it again, determined to sink us deeper into the costly Afghan quagmire.  They have resurfaced in the form of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a Washington think tank headed by Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, and Dan Senor.  As Sam Stein reported last week on The Huffington Post, the FPI will hold a summit today titled “Afghanistan: Planning for Success.”  And slated to attend the event are powerful Republicans and Democrats like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY), and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA).  What’s particularly troubling about McCain and a think tank like the FPI is that they are trying to manipulate President Obama’s plans for military escalation into a massive, limitless war of Iraq proportions.

We already know where McCain stands on Afghanistan.  He and fellow warmonger Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war by urging the Obama administration to support an all-out military commitment in Afghanistan, regardless of cost.  McCain clearly shares the FPI’s warped notion of “success” in Afghanistan, which he has discussed everywhere from the Op-Ed pages of the Washington Post to his recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute.  He envisions a Utopian outcome to this war, one in which our military engages in a broad-based, long-term counterinsurgency to create “a stable, secure, self-governing Afghanistan that is not a terrorist sanctuary.”  Compounding that highly improbable scenario is the fact that McCain and the FPI are getting away with defining “success” in Afghanistan because not enough mainstream journalists or members of Congress are contesting their views.

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.