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The Web site of activist filmmaker Michael Moore, who also worked to elect Mr. Obama, compared the troop surge to the blunders of the Soviet Union, which invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and was forced to withdraw 10 years later. Headlines on Mr. Moore’s site include “Now it’s his war” and “U.S. risks repeating Soviet mistakes in Afghanistan.”

Mr. Obama rarely has been coy about his support for shifting the nation’s military focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. In October 2002, while he was an Illinois state senator, he proclaimed his “strong support” for the war in Afghanistan while at a rally in Chicago to oppose war in Iraq.

In addition, White House officials say Mr. Obama announced plans to put more troops into Afghanistan as early as January 2007.

In August of that year, Mr. Obama gave a speech to Woodrow Wilson International Center scholars titled “The War We Need to Win,” in which he described Afghanistan and Pakistan as the “right battlefield” and detailed plans to send additional combat troops into Afghanistan.

“When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy … [including] getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.