A new anti-war ad by the left-wing advocacy group MoveOn.org highlights a growing foreign policy divide between President Barack Obama and the larger progressive movement that has long supported him.
“We never set out to spend eight years at war in Iraq… Or to be mired down for more than a decade of fighting in Afghanistan… So what should America expect if we rush into Syria alone, with no real plan for the consequences?,” says the video’s narrator.
“We already know: It gets worse,” the narrator continues. “Congress: The majority of Americans OPPOSE missile strikes in Syria.”
The video is billed as a TV ad, but MoveOn.org did not announce plans to run it on TV. It was released as progressives try to boost turnout at 150 anti-war candlelight vigils Monday evening.
Many congressional progressives already don’t support the intervention, which may worsen the war by aiding the jihadi groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad’s government. Also, several polls show a strike is deeply unpopular with both conservatives and liberals.
Broad GOP opposition may block authorization of the strike, further reducing the incentive for progressives to give their approval.
The Democratic-dominated Senate will decide whether to approve the strike on Wednesday. The GOP-led House is expected to hold vote next week.
MoveOn.org’s public opposition to the proposed strike will pressure progressives to vote against approval, and may also given them an easy way to explain their opposition to Obama’s current top priority.
“We are mobilizing the shared people power of 8 million MoveOn members to make sure our voices are heard… The chemical weapons use in Syria is tragic, but there are better ways to respond,” said a statement from MoveOn.org.
In 2002, Obama leapt from his obscure role as a state Senator in Illinois by loudly opposing the U.S invasion of Iraq.
“I don’t oppose all wars,” he said in 2002. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by … armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”
Obama withdrew all U.S. military forces from Iraq in 2010.
Without U.S. forces in Iraq, which sits between Syria and Iran, the U.S. has had few means to minimize Iran’s influence in Iraq, or to cut the transit of aid from Iran to Syria, or pressure Syria’s dictator to step down.