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Yes, Conservative Vets Want Out of Afghanistan, Too

New ad campaign by people who were there will target swing states with high military service rates.

For too long the pro-war Blob has kept America divided over matters of war by using our veterans as a wedge. If you support vets, you must support the war policy. If you criticize the war, then you disrespect those who are fighting it. It is a shopworn tactic, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been effective.

For years, TAC has been arguing that the best thing we could do for servicemembers and veterans is to keep them out of useless wars of choice to begin with. That is why it is so important that Right-leaning veterans’ advocates like Concerned Veterans for America are taking this message out to the people, in particular, to Americans who are truly affected.

From Bryan Bender at Politico today:

The appeal organized by Concerned Veterans for America — “Tell Washington it’s time to bring our troops home!” — marks a new and more aggressive effort to roust voters in both parties to demand an end to the United States’ longest war, which has killed nearly 2,400 U.S. troops since 2001, including two more who died in a blast last weekend.

The ad campaign is set to air in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — swing states that are being targeted based on research indicating that President Donald Trump’s unfulfilled pledge to end America’s “endless wars” resonated strongly in 2016.

Let’s hope that despite the U.S. strikes in Iraq this month, which found much of Conservative Inc. fleeing back to pro-war battle stations, that veterans and their families remain staunchly supportive of ending endless wars, and not re-committed to fighting them. There has been too much hubristic talk lately from GOP apparatchiks like Sean Hannity and finger-in-the-wind pols like Pete Buttigieg about how American servicemembers are four-square in favor aggressive action against Iran and a continued military presence in the region. We don’t think they’re right.

Luckily, CVA, which, when under the direction of hawk Pete Hegseth, was a big booster of the war in Afghanistan, has taken a wide turn away from that position, arguing with the credibility of experience on its website:

In Afghanistan al Qaeda has been crippled and the Taliban severely punished. Our credibility is not enhanced by devoting more lives and capital toward an end that has already been achieved.

Similarly, keeping ourselves in the middle of a Syrian civil war only serves to exacerbate the internal conflict while also potentially heightening tensions with other actors engaged in the region. And though we have destroyed the physical presence of the Islamic State in the country, little more can be done, if anything, to eliminate every single Islamic radical in the country. ..

There is a better way to achieve our goals on the global stage: one that relies on realism—viewing the world and its constraints objectively as they are, not what we would idealistically like the world to be—and restraint—only using military power abroad when it is absolutely necessary and cost-effective—to advance our vital national interests.

It should be noted that CVA gets support from the Charles Koch Institute network (as does TAC). But Koch is also supporting the new trans-partisan Quincy Institute. This is not a fluke or flirtation. The drive to end the wars has become a drumbeat that spans the raucous protests of Code Pink, to the conservative monologues of FOX’s Tucker Carlson. Now this $1.5 million campaign hopes to underscore what polls have been saying for years —that veterans who have bore the brunt are more than willing to join the cause.

about the author

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a contributing editor at TAC and co-host on the Empire Has No Clothes podcast. Follow her on Twitter @VlahosAtQuincy.

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