I like being in a political party, the Democratic Party, so resolutely anti-war at its core, and within its base.? There is no “pro-war” Democrat.? Those people are Republicans.? Anti-war Democrats include us all.? It means when we decide to fight a war, we make sure we do it right, because we want it to end.
Anti-war pacifists do not, however, include all Democrats.? That too is a good thing.? Ask any Kosovar Albanian, who last month raised a statue to our Democratic president Bill Clinton in gratitude for saving them from genocide.? Ask Bosnian Muslims.? Ask the whole of Europe, who to this day still treat the memory of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt with hushed reverence, even though Roosevelt waged more horrifying warfare in Europe on a wider scale than anyone would even imagine happening today.
This is why after September 11, the US was able to invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter.? Article 5 is the provision within NATO that commits other NATO members to military action if any other member is attacked.?? It was a historic moment of great sadness that the leader of NATO, the United States, had to become the first country in NATO’s history to ever do so.? Our NATO allies responded as we knew they would – they came to our defense.
NATO exists to prevent war.? Article 5 was designed as a deterrent against war.? Once Article 5 is invoked, however, NATO’s credibility, indeed the existence of the oldest, most durable and positive force for peace and stability in the history of the world, is on the line. ? Barack Obama clearly understands that.? As I noted last night after the speech, Barack cited Article 5 himself in the speech, both to remind us all of the stakes, and remind our allies.
What should have been done immediately after we invoked Article 5 was NOT done by George W. Bush.? That is the tragedy which leaves us with today’s mess.? It is also one small piece of the wreckage Bush left behind that Barack has to clean up.? Not only does Barack have to fix the entire catastrophe (one catastrophe of many), he must restore NATO’s credibility on this very specific use of NATO’s reason for being.
Escalation of this war is not only necessary for the goals Barack outlined last night, it is necessary as yet another required step to restore this country’s credibility in the international community.? We cannot be running around invoking Article 5 of the NATO charter, then frittering that away because of incompetence in our idiot president, then leaving when we fuck the shit up, particularly once a new president takes the catastrophe over.? America must, at the very least, take every possible military step to make the invocation of Article 5 a credible deterrent again.
The strategy outlined last night will put that credibility back into NATO.? I happen to also believe the strategy will work on the ground to achieve the substantive goals outlined in Barack’s speech.? Would I have rather seen 150,000 troops go to Afghanistan in 2002 instead of to Iraq in 2003?? Of course.? Can we get this done now, with this strategy?? Probably, but certainly not guaranteed.
But this war will end.? It will end on Barack Obama’s terms.? Anti-war pacifists will still be enraged.? If Barack announced total withdrawal last night, pacifists would be enraged because every soldier wasn’t gone yesterday. Pacifists argued we should be focusing on Afghanistan, but not Iraq, and now that we are focusing on Afghanistan, pacifists move the football.? Just like Lucy does to Charlie Brown.? Where have I seen THAT before.
But that’s o.k.? I prefer being in a party with purists who hold a pacifist view, than being in a party with Republican purists who hold the opposite.? And I’m glad the pacifists are arguing their positions with passion.? That’s what makes us the Democratic Party.
I just hope all of us, pacifists included, still got Barack’s back.