Howard Dean, Afghanistan Hawk

by Michael Crowley | September 8, 2009

I'm a bit late getting to this, but over the holiday weekend famous Iraq war opponent Howard Dean visited Fox News Sunday and weighed in on Afghanistan:

CHRIS WALLACE: Governor Dean, the president will reportedly decide in the next few weeks whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan. As a leader of the anti-war movement when it came to Iraq, will the liberal wing of the Democratic Party will you support the president if he deepens our commitment in that war?

HOWARD DEAN: I'm not so sure I'm the liberal wing, but... I've supported the president on this one. I think this is different than Iraq. I think there are people who mean the United States harm over there...  I was very pleased to say the — hear the president a few months ago say, "Look, we can't win this war militarily." He gets what we have to do here. And it is true that American public opinion is not supportive of the war effort anymore. I think this does have something to do with security to the United States. I do believe it has something to do with the role of women in these kinds of societies. I think we ought to be supportive of the role of women and their ability to get an education and things like that. I don't think that's the only reason we're there. But I'm supportive of the president, and I'm going to continue to be supportive of the president on Afghanistan.

It's particularly striking to hear Dean cite women's rights: Even the Obama team doesn't talk much about humanitarian motives, focusing narrowly on the fight against al Qaeda. On this score, however, Dean may have an ally in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who once wrote that "[w]omen's rights are human rights.... They are universal values which we have a responsibility to promote throughout the world, and especially in a place like Afghanistan."

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