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August 2nd, 2010
04:34 PM ET

Don't give Obama blank check on war

Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

Despite all the questions surrounding the war in Afghanistan, congressional Democrats have not challenged the administration's policies since President Obama announced a surge of troops in 2009.

The release of classified documents about the war by the website WikiLeaks seemed to have no impact on Capitol Hill. The same week that the documents were released, the House approved legislation with almost no debate that will provide tens of billions of dollars for the war effort.

Even though the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee is chaired by John Kerry, who entered the national spotlight in the 1970s with his riveting testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the problems with the war in Vietnam, the panel has been relatively quiescent.

Democrats don't want Afghanistan to become a political problem for Obama. Their party is having enough trouble as a result of the recession and the deficit that they don't want to give their opponents one more issue to run on. Democrats, who have suffered for decades when being attacked as "weak on defense," also fear that any questions about the war will open them up to those attacks again.

But Democrats who have doubts about the war can't afford to be silent. When Congress doesn't publicly ask tough questions of the White House, poor decisions have often ensued.

The decision over funding Afghanistan came one week before the the 46th anniversary of the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • Democrats • Opinion
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. mary

    i belive you waited too long now look another war. it never stops . wont be voting for you again

    March 22, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    As reams of US and Pakistan Military documents indicate, outline and show which are posted on Wikileaks, America should not give Pakistan a single dime as that money is funneled by the Pakistani ISI to Suicide bombers and Taliban fighters to enter into Afghanistan and murder American and NATO troops.

    Cut off all funding to Pakistan and America will immediately see a decrease in Suicide Bombers and Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  3. ray

    Anderson, how come a secured site can't be created where Americans can sign on to and vote on what we want our President and government in general to do?

    August 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm |

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