Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is a snarling Dick encouraging Dems to be the peace party?


I tend to think so. Certainly Harry Reid thinks so.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the Senate floor today to rip into Dick Cheney for pushing more war with Iraq. Reid said, “To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.”

Those remarks reminded me of this, a set of truths that are hard to take in if, like me, you came up in the Vietnam era or before.

... after the Vietnam War, American liberals changed their minds on ground troops in foreign wars. Unless there is a direct attack on the United States, American liberal writers, interest groups and politicians believe that sending substantial numbers of ground troops overseas is risky, ineffective, and often counterproductive.

Since the Nixon Administration, no Democratic president has ever sent (nor has any majority of congressional Democrats favored) substantial numbers of ground troops overseas on a new military mission except in direct response to an attack on US soil. Obama did support a temporary surge in the number of troops in Afghanistan, but for the purposes of paving the way for a later full pullout. Liberal Democrats in Congress criticized Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada and George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Panama. A majority of Democrats voted against authorizing the first Gulf War and the second Gulf War.

The only authorization of ground troops that Democrats have supported since Vietnam is the 2001 “Authorization for Use of Military Force,” [AUMF] which passed Congress almost unanimously just 3 days after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

Johnathan Ladd, Ten Miles Square

This record doesn't mean the Dems are hostile to U.S. empire or even "American exceptionalism." They mostly love them some drones and some "special forces" spooks working the U.S. will in conflict zones. But a very substantial fraction of Dems are consistently averse to the more obvious, expensive, forms of power projection.

And this history certainly suggests that doing away with the AUMF which presidents use to chase around after people they label "terrorists" should be priority one for a peace movement.

If Obama does something further dumb in Iraq or Syria, count on his claiming authority under the AUMF for his actions.

UPDATE, THURSDAY JUNE 19: I guess we'll get to see whether Obama's "advisors" can overturn this record, and also how his own party responds. I would expect cautiously, but sceptically.

1 comment:

ellen kirkendall said...

It gave me chills to hear we were sending "advisors" to Iraq.

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