Breaking with the administration, MoveOn, one of the prime movers in liberal politics, has come out against President Obama's plan to intervene militarily in Syria.
"MoveOn members, like the majority of Americans, oppose military intervention in Syria and want Congress to reject the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution," said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, in an email to reporters. "Following MoveOn members' overwhelming 73 percent vote to oppose the war, we are launching a major effort calling on Congress to vote 'no' on the president's request" for authorization to use force.
Galland said MoveOn's 8 million members will work with other anti-war and liberal groups "to prevent this nation from getting on the slippery slope to another ill-advised and unnecessary war."
MoveOn plans to use paid media advertising, contact with legislators and other tactics as part of its campaign.
"We have seen the rushed march to war before," Galland said. "We cannot allow it again. Congress, and the nation, should not be forced into a binary debate over strikes or nothing. In response to the tragic reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, the U.S. needs to lead in the way in engaging with the international community, while rigorously exploring alternatives to military action, including negotiations, economic sanctions, diplomacy, and promotion of humanitarian aid."
MoveOn opposed the Iraq war and has become a strong liberal voice in national politics.
Nearly 60 percent of Americans are opposed to Obama's plan for military strikes in Syria, and only 36 percent are in support, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll.
Obama wants to launch the strikes to punish the Syrian regime for allegedly using chemical weapons in an ongoing civil war.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.