After George Will broke ranks with conservatives on Tuesday, arguments for and against staying in Afghanistan have forged unusual ties. As the Wire reported here and here, and the New York Times reported this morning, Obama's most ardent allies in the war are neo-conservatives. But many conservatives have followed Will in crossing over to join liberal anti-war forces. Arguing over the war has caused more crossing of partisan lines than health-care.

As Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, the fourth-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, told the National Review today:

"We [the House Republicans] understand the responsibility and the necessity of winning in Afghanistan just as we did in Iraq. And we are all willing to help the president do that."
Who else is reaching across the aisle?

For the War
  • Andrew Exum, who blogs under the pseudonym Abu Muqawama for the left-centrist Center for New American Security, defended the war on Newshour. On his blog, he marveled that "What was, 12 months ago, 'the good war' has now become, for paleoconservatives and progressives alike, a fool's errand."
  • Cassandra at right-leaning blog Villainous Company praises Exum for breaking ranks, saying she finds it "extremely difficult to find a single word of [his] that I disagree with."
  • The Washington Post editorial board disagrees with Will, arguing that "stabilizing the country will require many years of patient effort" but that the alternative--pulling out of Afghanistan--would be "far more dangerous" for America.
Against the War
  • David Harsanyi, author of "Nanny State" and conservative columnist for the Denver Post, titled his latest column "George Will is right" and attacked advocates of the war on the right: "Judging from their harsh reaction to Will, it's not clear when, if ever, some conservatives believe the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan."
  • Publius, a self declared "Ted Kennedy Liberal" writing at Obsidian Wings, puts himself in George Will's camp. " I have two basic reasons: (1) The goal of preventing Taliban control isn't a sufficient reason to stay; and (2) Even if it is, our tactics are accomplishing exactly the reverse -- that is, we're empowering the Taliban by staying."
  • Malou Innocent of the libertarian Cato Institute nods in agreement with Publius, writing "That analysis [by Publius] is absolutely right." She also praises Harsanyi for being "another conservative" to join George Will "for getting out of Afghanistan."