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Democrat: Steele is ‘right that the Afghan war is unwinnable’

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, July 9, 2010 14:01 EDT
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WASHINGTON – A New York Congressman said anti-war Democrats would like to invite embattled RNC chief Michael Steele to join the “Out Of Afghanistan Caucus” – once he receives a history lesson.

“Let’s send him for a little remedial education and then invite him to join,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a member of the caucus and stalwart opponent of the Afghanistan war, in an interview with Raw Story.

The caucus, formed in May by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), currently features 23 members who share like-minded opposition to continuing the nine-year occupation.

Since a viral video last Friday showed Steele disparaging the Afghanistan effort as a quagmire and “a war of Obama’s choosing,” the de-facto GOP leader has survived widespread criticisms and resignation demands from Republican lawmakers and conservative leaders.

“This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in,” Steele said. “Well, if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?”

The occupation began in 2001 under the Bush administration, and Obama has strongly supported it, committing 30,000 additional US troops to the region this year.

Most damaging for Steele was that his stance was at odds with that of nearly all Republicans, but reflected some of the concerns of anti-war Democrats.

“He is right that the Afghan war is un-winnable. He is wrong on its history – it didn’t start last week,” Nadler quipped. “So we should have informed members in the caucus.”

Last week, the House of Representatives narrowly voted 215-210 to continue funding the Afghanistan war. But three-fifths of Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), voted for an amendment demanding a withdrawal timetable, which failed.

Proponents of the occupation warned that exiting would lead to a resurgence of the Taliban and create a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda, imperiling US national security.

In a press conference held by the “Out Of Afghanistan Caucus” before the Thursday vote, Nadler called the war a “fool’s errand.”

“Every dollar we spend in Afghanistan, every life we waste there, is a waste,” he said. “What makes us think, what arrogance gives us the right to assume that we can succeed where the Moguls, the British, the Soviets, failed?”

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RELATED — From Raw Story’s exclusive interview with Nadler:

Top anti-war Democrat: Afghanistan war could ‘destroy’ Obama’s presidency (July 12, 2010)

Rep. Nadler: Investigate torture or face road to ‘tyranny’ (July 13, 2010)

 
 
 
 
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