Otto von Bismarck once said, “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.” For decades, a common myth pervading the American political arena has been that the left is anti-war.
But they are as much opposed to war as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – at least he is honest about his appetite for blood and desire for perpetual regime change, no matter who occupies the Oval Office. So, from where did this mendacity come?
In 2008, the United States was entrenched in an election battle and two major wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats portrayed themselves as the anti-war party, promising to correct the foreign disasters of the incumbent administration. Since then, it’s as if former President George W. Bush never departed. The Democrats have championed military interventions, twiddled their thumbs under President Barack Obama, and nominated a hawk to lead the party in 2016.
Progressives, the same ones who, under Republican administrations, routinely held massive anti-war rallies on days that ended in “y,” have been eerily silent for the last ten years.
Today, the left has united with the neoconservatives in opposition to President Donald Trump’s decision to bring 2,000 troops home from Syria and potential plans to withdrawfrom Afghanistan. Because they loathe Trump so much and don’t want him to be portrayed as a more peaceful president than his predecessor, leftists demand that U.S. forces permanently stay in the region, facing death or serious injury.
Is this a case of Freaky Friday politics, or has the left always been pro-war?
Anti-War Democrats, Please Stand Up
Attempting to locate a handful of consistent anti-war Democrats is like trying to spot Vice President Mike Pence with a woman other than his wife at a restaurant: It’s never going to happen.
Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the man who switches from Independent to Democrat when it suits the occasion, has come out of the closet on occasion as a hawk. In addition to supporting the so-called Little War in Kosovo in the 1990s, Sanders revealed to ABC News in September 2015 that the U.S. could use its military forces when not attacked and apply sanctions on adversaries.
For the last century, virtually every war, invasion, and occupation have been given the stamp of approval by Democrats. President Woodrow Wilson dragged the U.S. into one of those wars-to-end-all- wars fiascos. President Harry Truman sent thousands of young men to their deaths in Korea, setting the stage for perpetual global interventionism. President Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated American involvement in Vietnam. The Democratic leadership approved of the Iraq War, and Obama destabilized an entire region, killed American citizens, and intensified the drone bombing campaign.
Outside of Capitol Hill, the predominantly left-leaning mainstream media have never seen a war it didn’t like. In the last two years alone, the vacuous TV commentators have employed the same two strategies: Demand action against Russia (eh, Paul Begala?) and oppose President Trump for using diplomacy and other tactics to institute peace.
So, how exactly is the left anti-war?
The Born-Again Right
When it comes to foreign policy, there are now three wings of the GOP: hawks, doves, and those who realize the doctrine of the last 20 years has failed.
One of the biggest surprises since Trump’s election is that the right has become increasingly more cautious about seeking dragons to slay and erecting Old Glory on every plot of land in the world. House Republicans have slashed foreign aid in the billions, Senate Republicans have voted to endAmerica’s role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, and prominent figures in the White House have asked one simple question: Why should the United States be the policeman of the world?
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president, recently dismantled the hawkish Counterfeit News Network when he told Wolf Blitzer:
“What I’m talking about, Wolf, is the big picture of a country that through several administrations had an absolutely catastrophic foreign policy that cost trillions and trillions of dollars and thousands and thousands of lives and made the Middle East more unstable and more dangerous. And let’s talk about Syria. Let’s talk about the fact — ISIS is the enemy of Russia. ISIS is the enemy of Assad. ISIS is the enemy of Turkey. Are we supposed to stay in Syria generation after generation, spilling American blood to fight the enemies of all those countries?”
Had Obama uttered these fiery remarks in ’08, they would have been the headline for many outlets that covered the interview. Instead, The Washington Post reported, “Wolf Blitzer tells Stephen Miller to ‘calm down’ during heated interview.” The Huffington Post ran with this headline: “CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tells Stephen Miller to ‘Calm Down.’”
Comments that should draw praise from the left have been met with mockery and scorn.
US Foreign Policy
H.L. Mencken was right when he said that “every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” There is no other area in government that should instill more shame in the population than foreign policy.
The political theater of sending young men and women overseas to fight in wars is a tragicomedy: a comedy for those who don’t have to wield a weapon and a tragedy for those who do. It is easy and comfortable for politicians and pundits, a paltry few of whom have ever done any of the fighting, to shout platitudes as if they were reincarnated John Waynes.
It’s clear that politicians of all stripes have blood on their hands. The only difference is that some policymakers showcase this human flesh with pride, while others pretend to be benevolent. Trump’s foreign policy has not been perfect, but it has been far superior to what has transpired over the years. To rebuke the president’s withdrawal of soldiers in an NPC-like manner makes you complicit to atrocity.