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:
- The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest;
- 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;
- 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
- 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.