Waging The Invisible War

Beinart notes the news out of Afghanistan, and the lack of it:

One might think that this emotional isolationism would bring demands for military retrenchment. But ironically, the public’s boredom and disillusionment with international affairs actually makes it easier for the Obama administration to sustain US deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Richard Nixon realized when he ended the draft in 1973, and thus sucked the oxygen out of the anti-Vietnam movement, it’s easier to prosecute a war when that war doesn’t directly affect the vast majority of Americans. Today, even more than then, war’s human costs have been confined to a military cliquea clique whose ability to organize politically is limited by law.

In George W. Bush’s second term, Iraq became a dominant political issue nonetheless, largely because it came to symbolize a broader discontent with the people in power and the direction of the country. But among liberals, Obama remains far more popular than Bush, and because most liberals did not oppose the Afghan war from the start, they are not as passionately opposed to it now. Were the Tea Partiers true libertariansgenuinely opposed to expensive and intrusive governmentthey would take up the anti-war banner. But with the exception of Ron Paul and a few others, they’re not true libertarians; they’re anti-welfare staters, and so they treat Iraq and Afghanistan as irrelevant to their anti-government crusade.