Obama May Need the GOP on Afghan War

Republicans line up behind troop increases, while Democrats balk
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2009 6:58 AM CDT
Russ Feingold, Democratic senator from Wisconsin, said he is not prepared to support a troop increase in Afghanistan without an end date to the war.   (AP Photo/Meet the Press, Alex Wong)
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(Newser) – If President Obama decides to send more troops to Afghanistan, based on Gen. Stanley McChrystal's grim review, he may have to rely on Republicans and not Democrats for support, writes the New York Times. The original narrative of the "good war" has faded over eight years, and August's disputed election is doing further damage. A recent poll found that 41% of Americans want troop levels decreased, while just 25% want an increase.

Obama still has the support of the House and Senate leadership, but Congressional Democrats in more left-leaning districts say they're hearing more and more objections. Sen. Russ Feingold told the Times that he "cannot tolerate more troops" unless Obama attaches an end date to "this perceived occupation." Among Republicans the mood is far different. When conservative columnist George Will said he thought the war should end, the GOP sent out an email blast headed: "Stand Strong, Mr. President."