Has The GOP Ever Met A War It Didn’t Like?
While thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Chicago in protest of the NATO summit and the continuing war in Afghanistan, the GOP has been busy rattling its sabers and trying to force the administration to adopt a more warlike stance in its foreign policy. However, the protestors are giving voice to the frustration of a majority of Americans over the country’s longest war. Every major poll, including one by Fox News in April, shows that Americans disapprove of the war and think the troops ought to come home as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, the GOP leaders in the House have been doing all they can to stop a discussion of ending the conflict early, blocking debate on the issue just three days ago. The Republican Party’s position “would remove President Obama’s timelines for withdrawal, keep 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2014, and allow for troops beyond that.” Meanwhile, over in the Senate, the GOP wants to add a provision to the economic sanctions bill against Iran (for developing nuclear capacity) that issues a strong threat to use military force. As a result, they’ve stalled out the legislation.
Two months ago, President Obama accused the field of Republican candidates for president of beating the drums of war. “You know, those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities. They’re not commander-in-chief,” he said. “And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war.” Now, there’s only one GOP candidate left, and neither he nor his party seems to give a thought to the costs of war—unless they’re thinking of the profits to be made by defense contractors.
Americans haven’t forgotten the price we’ve paid, in terms of human lives as well as the financial impact on our country. They also haven’t forgotten that it was a cabal of Republican advisers to George W. who got us into the messes with both Afghanistan and Iraq. The GOP really liked those wars, pursuing them wholeheartedly. Of course, last year, the party had trouble finding its footing on the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions, unable to grasp the restrained approach of the President and waffling between waging an all-out attack and cutting off funding for any degree of support to the revolutionaries. A factor that may have confused their thinking was that little involvement meant little profit for the war industry.
President Obama has been developing a “light footprint” strategy toward conflict with other countries that would involve strikes from a distance and an end to occupying their land. What has the GOP been developing? Its candidate for president, Mitt Romney, hasn’t given a speech focused on foreign policy since last October. What he has done is criticize Obama’s cutbacks on military spending and tell NATO that, “With the United States on a path to a hollow military, we are hardly in a position to exercise leadership in persuading our allies to spend more on security,” (italics are mine). In January, in regard to Iran, Romney stated that, “We will not have an inch of difference between ourselves and our ally Israel.” Israel, of course, has been itching to attack Iran. Apparently, if Romney were president, countries like Israel would dictate our foreign policy—and it wouldn’t be one of restraint.
The rest of us are faced with what our vote will mean, come November—a vote for war, or a vote for peace?
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