Anti-War Movement Hypocrites
As the loss of a helicopter full of special forces operatives reminds us, war means casualties. Unfortunately, they can’t be eliminated and, as a nation, we need to be able to weather them and continue to support our troops in the war on terror. Our warriors deal with it every day while on the front lines. We can at least do the same from our couch and not let our soldiers, sailors and marines think that they are at war while “America is at the mall” as the saying goes.
But not everyone thinks–or thought–that way (especially during the Bush years). The anti-war left certainly made their presence known during Bush’s two terms and used every casualty as another talking point against the war. These efforts played a large part in undermining the general public’s approval of President Bush and helped get Barack Obama elected (along with his own anti-war rhetoric). Since then, President Obama hasn’t been as anti-war as advertised and the anti-war left has certainly grumbled. But quietly. Did you know our war casualty rate is greater under President Obama than President Bush? (h/t)
Already, hundreds more American troops have been killed in Afghanistan during the less than three years of the Obama administration than during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration. According to the iCasualties.org Web site, whose count more or less tracks that of other sites devoted to these statistics, 630 American soldiers died in the Afghanistan operation in the years 2001 through 2008, when Mr. Bush was president, while 1097 American soldiers have died in the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. Even if you allocate the 30 or so American soldiers killed in January 2009 entirely to Mr. Bush, who was president until the January 20 inauguration, it is quite a record.
Include Iraq, and the comparison tells a similar story: about 1,300 Americans killed in operations related to Iraq and Afghanistan combined during the first two and a half or so years we’ve had of the Obama administration, versus less than 600 American casualties in the first full three years of the George W. Bush administration.
It all raises at least two related questions. First, where are the antiwar protests? And second, where is the press?
Oh, the anti-war left is still out there, but the heat has certainly been turned down to simmer instead of boiling ever since President Obama took office–even as he’s basically continued the same policies (Iraq drawdown, Guantanamo, Afghanistan build-up) they opposed so vociferously when President Bush was in office. They’ve given Obama a pass for purely partisan, political reasons. And they admit it:
In a phone interview, the national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, which organized some of the largest antiwar protests during the Bush administration, Michael McPhearson, said part of the explanation is political partisanship. A lot of the antiwar protesters, he said, were Democrats. “Once Obama got into office, they kind of demobilized themselves,” he said.
“Because he’s a Democrat, they don’t want to oppose him in the same way as they opposed Bush,” said Mr. McPhearson, who is also a former executive director of Veterans for Peace, and who said he voted for President Obama in 2008. “The politics of it allows him more breathing room when it comes to the wars.”….He said his group’s strategy now is to emphasize the cost of the wars and the Pentagon amid Washington’s focus on trimming the deficit.
Convenient time to shift focus, isn’t it? In the end, the proof is in the pudding: during the Bush years, the anti-war left’s primary goal was to use anti-war rhetoric to undermine the Bush Presidency for partisan, political reasons, most of which had little to do with the war. If they were sincere in their opposition to the war, they would still be out there protesting President Obama’s war policies at the same level they did President Bush’s. Doesn’t moral consistency require you to muster the same level of opposition against the same policies, regardless of who is conducting them? Of course, that assumes you are, or were, sincere in your stated beliefs and not just looking to use the casualties of war to score cheap political points.