I talked to Sen. Russ Feingold about Afghanistan this morning. Here’s what he said. Just out from the Washington Independent:
If Gen. Stanley McChrystal proposes, as expected, an increase in U.S. troops for the Afghanistan war, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) is “likely to oppose it,” the senator told TWI.
Feingold’s opposition to what would be the second U.S. troop increase in Afghanistan this year is the most forceful Senate dissent so far to a war that President Obama has embraced. It represents a preemptive warning to both Obama and to McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, who is scheduled to give the Pentagon an assessment of what additional resources he requires for the war next week. And it highlights what some progressives also opposed to escalation see as an opportunity this summer to change public debate about the eight-year war.
“I don’t think the case has been effectively made for continuing to send more and more troops into Afghanistan,” Feingold said in a Wednesday interview. “I am very unhappy with the answers I’ve received about the issue of whether constantly increasing troops is helping the situation in Pakistan or making it worse. I suspect it could be making things worse.” Feingold fears that increasing troops in Afghanistan might lead insurgents to cross the border into Pakistan, which is engaged in its own fight against a distinct but affiliated insurgency, and he told The Nation magazine’s Jeremy Scahill recently that the administration has yet to address that concern.
Read on and you’ll see what some members of the Get Afghanistan Right coalition have planned for the summer.