The Democratic Party Has Been The Party of War
by Elias J. Atienza
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama became the Democratic Party nominee largely because he campaigned on being an opponent to the Iraq War. He spoke passionately on how the Iraq War was detrimental to the safety of the United States, and how it did nothing but fan the flames of extremism.
“I opposed going to war in Iraq; I warned that the invasion of a country posing no imminent threat would fan the flames of extremism. That’s why I strongly stand by my plan to end this war,” he said.
Now, in 2016, the Democratic Party nominated a candidate who supported the invasions in Iraq and Libya, as well as the arming rebels and extremists in Syria, along with implementing a no-fly zone against Assad and Russia. She’s been on the wrong side of every anti-war activist, yet in spite of that, became her party’s choice for President. The same Democratic Party who chose the aforementioned Obama in 2008.
How did the Democrats go from the anti-war party to the party of war in a span of eight years? With anti-war activists who opposed the Iraq War came with the expectation of an active opposition of most wars. The Democratic Party came into power in the 2006 midterm elections due in large part to the anti-Iraq War movement. They rode that wave of anti-war resentment toward the Bush Administration, but in the end, they proved to be inadequate bearers of the cross.
The truth is that they were never anti-war. The history of the Democratic Party has been one of pro-war support since the beginning of the 20th century. Many liberals have stayed quiet on how the Obama Administration’s covert drone wars in the Middle East. Bombs have been dropped across the span of the Middle East, killing thousands of civilians in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Obama has not ended any wars; he’s expanded them.
After all, it was Democratic administrations which entered World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These were the major wars of the 20th century: wars that saw hundreds of thousands of Americans die.
With the exception of World War II (and maybe the Korean War), each war was a bloodbath that saw nothing being gained for the United States. Vietnam has been the hallmark of anti-war activism, with the current wars being raged in Iraq and Afghanistan being compared to the bloody catastrophe on a regular base.
It was a Democratic administration under President Kennedy which fostered the invasion of Cuba which led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the embargo. Despite Kennedy later deescalating much of the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, it was under Kennedy’s direction that it became such a crisis in the first place.
In the end, the only true “anti-war” Democratic administration would be the Carter presidency, and he was the one who initiated Operation Cyclone, which led directly to the problems the United States faces in Afghanistan.
Hillary Clinton has ended the charade that the Democratic Party is anti-war. With her foreign policy, the United States will pursue a war with Russia in the form of the no-fly zone over Syria. So why has this charade continued?
It’s no wonder that Jim Gray, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Kentucky, is running on a similar platform to Clinton. Gray supports a no-fly zone over Syria and wants Assad to vacate his position, blending pro-war intervention with so called “realism.”
How else would he differ himself from Senator Rand Paul? Paul has been a vocal opponent to the Iraq War and the Obama administration’s wars in Libya and Syria and realizes drone strikes do contribute to terrorism. Gray refuses to see this and is blindly following Clinton on a trail to more intervention in the Middle East.
He’s just another warmonger who calls himself a realist despite supporting neoconservative foreign policy. It’s just another indication on how Democrats abandon their opposition to war when it comes to their own party.
Millennials came into the 2016 election with the understanding that Republicans were pro-war, nation building, and endless military interventions. After all, John McCain said that the United States should stay in Iraq for a hundred years. It was the Bush administration that started the Iraq War.
But in the end they learned that the two major parties do not differ much on foreign policy. This election season has proven that Democrats are warmongers just like Republicans, if not more so. They are just much more quiet on this fact. The Democratic Party has and always will be historically the party of war. Decades of intervention under Democratic administrations has proven it.