The Afghan war and the American right

Public discontent with the Afghanistan war is growing in the United States, I suggest that this is linked to the sudden upsurge in conservative preoccupation with the imagined internal Islamic threat to the United States, a threat defined not in terms of terrorism but much more unclear goals. So we have Newt Gingrich:

Some radical Islamists use terrorism as a tactic to impose sharia but others use non-violent methods—a cultural, political, and legal jihad that seeks the same totalitarian goal even while claiming to repudiate violence. Thus, the term “war on terrorism” is far too narrow a framework in which to think about the war in which we are engaged against the radical Islamists.

Gingrich is a major figure on the right. An Oklahoma Republican has campaigned against the looming threat of Sharia law in Oklahoma. With the Afghan war not going well it is easier to focus on the alleged enemies within, it might be more politically rewarding as well. Conservative misgivings about the Afghan war are very much on the margin but 12 Republicans voted against the most recent Afghan war funding bill, and there was Micheal Steele’s recent musings.  Neo-conservative commentators such as Ron Radosh are concerned about any hint of disaffection on the right with the Afghan war, neo-conservatives are paranoid about the isolationist right but is it not a serious force in American politics, however isolationist sentiment could bolster a battle against the enemy within. Newt Gingrich and the isolationist right can unite on this.

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