Building on the Success of Rethink Afghanistan

When Brave New Foundation first launched our anti-Afghanistan-War campaign in 2009, 63 percent of Americans favored the president’s plan to escalate the war. Now, roughly 60 percent of Americans oppose the Afghanistan War and a strong plurality of Americans want to remove troops “ASAP.”

Rethink Afghanistan played a critical early role framing the war as a conflict not worth the huge costs, helping to shift the national consensus from supporting escalation to a strong desire to end a failing and unpopular war.

Some of Rethink Afghanistan’s biggest successes include:

- Publishing a full-length documentary that “laid the intellectual track” for opposition to escalation and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.

- Busting the myth that there was a national consensus about the need to escalate the Afghanistan War in 2009. Rethink Afghanistan organized online debates among opinion-leaders on both sides of the issue and rallied academics and opinion-leaders to publicly call for other options besides escalation.

- Breaking through the Washington, D.C. bubble: With the financial contributions of Rethink Afghanistan supporters, we were able to run a full-page ad in Politico, a leading Capitol Hill newspaper, calling for the rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

And, we ran the first-ever anti-Afghanistan-War TV ad on cable news in D.C., featuring the voices of our supporters telling politicians to bring our troops home, “Because it’s time.”

Thanks in large part to our work, the Afghanistan War has never been less popular, and we will continue to build on our momentum in our new War Costs campaign.


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