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lindagray

Foreign policy issues 2 : Invasion of Afghanistan & Israel

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Invasion of Afghanistan
Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate near-unanimously voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists against "those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States" in Afghanistan in 2001, supporting the NATO coalition invasion of the nation. Most elected Democrats continue to support the Afghanistan conflict and some, such as a Democratic National Committee spokesperson, have voiced concerns that the Iraq War shifted too many resources away from the presence in Afghanistan. Since 2006, Democratic candidate Barack Obama has called for a "surge" of troops into Afghanistan. As president, Obama sent a "surge" force of additional troops to Afghanistan. Troop levels were 94,000 in December 2011 and kept falling, with a target of 68,000 by fall 2012. Obama planned to bring all the troops home by 2014.

Support for the war among the American people has diminished over time and many Democrats have changed their opinion and now oppose a continuation of the conflict. In July 2008, Gallup found that 41% of Democrats called the invasion a "mistake" while a 55% majority disagreed. In contrast, Republicans were more supportive of the war. The survey described Democrats as evenly divided about whether or not more troops should be sent—56% support it if it would mean removing troops from Iraq and only 47% support it otherwise. A CNN survey in August 2009 stated that a majority of Democrats now oppose the war. CNN polling director Keating Holland said: "Nearly two thirds of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan. Three quarters of Democrats oppose the war". An August 2009 Washington Post poll found similar results and the paper stated that Obama's policies would anger his closest supporters.

Israel
The Democratic Party has both recently and historically supported Israel. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in 2009: "When it comes to Israel, Republicans and Democrats speak with one voice". A 2008 Gallup poll found that 64% say that they have a favorable image of Israel while only 16% say that they have a favorable image of the Palestinian Authority. Within the party, the majority view is held by the Democratic leadership although some members such as John Conyers Jr., George Miller, Nick Rahall, Dave Obey, Pete Stark, Dennis Kucinich and Jim McDermott as well as former President Jimmy Carter are less or not supportive of Israel. The party leadership refers to the few Democrats unsympathetic to Israel as a "fringe".

The 2008 Democratic Party platform acknowledges a "special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy".

wikipedia.org

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