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What's Really Behind Conservative Pundit George Will's Call for Total Withdrawal From Afghanistan?

Neocons went into a froth of anger over Will's open call for an end to the war in Afghanistan -- which is exactly what he was hoping for.

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Nine days later, Tim Johnson, the Illinois representative who was among the minority to vote in favor of a withdrawal timetable in June, claimed that Afghanistan was a war with "no endgame."

"I believe that our men and women are there in a mission that is ill-defined," Johnson said at a town hall meeting on Sept. 22. "I think we're losing people by the day, here and over there, with no even indirect relationship to our national security.

"We've had a succession from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, and the net result has been thousands of lives lost, and very little progress made."

Afghanistan, bizarrely enough, has become an immense political opportunity for conservatives. Criticizing its muddled trajectory -- a trajectory that, conveniently for those on the right, is now being determined by a Democratic president -- could be the key to etching a new worldview less focused on pre-emptive defense and imperial war.

But as the divisiveness of Will's piece illustrates, such criticism also has the potential to rip the GOP to shreds.

Byard Duncan is a contributing writer and editor for AlterNet.

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