We also believe supporting the president’s Afghanistan policy is politically smart for Republicans. For one thing, isolationist tendencies don’t do well in American politics. Even in a war as unpopular as Vietnam, George McGovern’s “Come Home, America” cry backfired badly. So has every attempt since then. There is no compelling evidence that the congressional GOP was politically well served in the 1990s by opposing intervention in the Balkans.
In addition, indifference or outright opposition to the war would smack of hypocrisy, given the Republican Party’s strong (and we believe admirable) support for President Bush’s post-9/11 policies, its robust support for America’s democratic allies, and its opposition to rogue regimes that threaten American interests. Republicans should stand for engagement with, rather than isolation from, the world. Strongly supporting the president on Afghanistan would also be a sign of grace on the part of Republicans. We know all too well how damaging it was to American foreign policy to face an opposition that was driven by partisan fury against our commander in chief. Republicans should never do to President Obama what many Democrats did to President Bush.