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The Peace Party

Representative John Duncan (R-TN) has a very good opinion piece in The American Conservative, titled “A Return to the Peace Party”.

Duncan laments that the current batch of “Republican candidates for president try to outdo each other in their hawkishness” and worries that “it is a recipe for defeat if my Republican party becomes known as a party favoring permanent, forever wars – war without end”.

Ironically, once upon a time “the Republican party could make a legitimate claim to being the Peace Party”, voting against wars (like Vietnam) that were started by Democrats. Indeed, it was a Republican, President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned us about the rise of the military-industrial complex. Hypocritically, Republicans became the party of the military-industrial complex, under the command of chickenhawks like Dick Cheney.

Republicans claim to worship Ronald Reagan, but it was he who wrote four strict principles for military action:

  1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest;
  2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win … and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives;
  3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress, and
  4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available.

One might question whether Reagan followed his own principles, but today it is difficult to find any GOP politicians who would even agree with the principles. Republicans hypocritically say we should slash government spending, while simultaneously increasing military spending.

Duncan ends the article by saying that “there was much less anti-Americanism around the world when we tried to mind our own business and take care of our own people. And this nation had more friends when we followed a policy of peace through strength, not one of peace through endless war.”

I hope other Republicans are listening.



  1. ralph wrote:

    So why isn’t this guy running for Prez? Where’s someone like a Jon Huntsman even? All we still see are mostly chickenhawks and super-moralizers, like Cruz, Perry, Walker. And here comes Sanctorum again running for Pope. It’s like watching old reruns of bad TV from the ’50s, but in HD. Even the “fresh new face” of the party, Rubio, is spouting the same old party platitudes (Cuba bad, America exceptional.) while trying to convince us he’s your candidate for the 21st Century. Talk about Back to the Future!

    I was listening to Randy Newman’s song “Baltimore” yesterday, written almost 40 years ago, and it reminded me how little things have changed there or in many other US cities in my lifetime. The Wire is as relevant now as it was 10+ years ago. Meanwhile, we have money to burn for the endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, besides building schools and businesses there (which the Taliban often blow up anyway), while ours decay or burn.

    How did our political priorities get so screwed up? Let me guess…follow the chickenhawk money and a military budget bigger than the next dozen countries combined. Ike must be spinning in his grave.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  2. Max wrote:

    “I’m worried about over committing our military around the world. I want to be judicious in its use.” – George W. Bush (2000)

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Max, was he worried about what excuse he could use to overcommit our military? He just jumped on the first excuse that came around.

    Ralph, if there were more Republicans like Duncan and Huntsman, I might be a Republican.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  4. ThatGuy wrote:

    I think his version of “overcommit” was putting too many troops in one country at once. He tried to use too few troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq and whether or not one agrees with the aims of those conflicts it’s nigh impossible to argue that sufficient forces were deployed. He broke each of Reagan’s conditions for military power in what seems like purposeful spite of the common sense therein.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Another Republican I admire is Charlie Baker, the governor of Massachusetts —

    Friday, May 1, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink