When you read the title, you have to consider the source. After all, I am a pro-life, Christian Fundamentalist, Republican registered voter. At the same time, realize that a similar article imploring antiwar activists to not vote Republican is unnecessary.
Current opposition to the Iraq war is either business oriented or ethically based. For example, John McCain once found fault with the war because he objected to the effectiveness of Bush’s policies. But once General Patreaus’ counterinsurgency strategy took effect, McCain’s concerns dissipated and he is now willing to stay in Iraq for one hundred years.
The Democratic presidential candidates, Senators Obama and Clinton, also have business oriented objections to the war. One concern is that because this war is interfering with our efforts to eliminate Bin Ladin, it is ineffective. In addition, Obama feels that because Bush's prosecution of the war diverts resources from America to Iraq, it is not an efficient use of America's resources. Thus, according to these candidates, the war is wrong because we are not getting the results we want.
Opposing the Iraq War for business reasons, however valid, does not imply one is antiwar; such opposition simply means one opposes President Bush’s Iraq policy. So for the next conflict, who knows how Senator Obama or Clinton would react as President? In fact, it is possible that both of these candidates might be just as war mongering as Senator McCain promises to be.
Antiwar activists are not as interested in the war’s business problems as they are in the war’s moral standing. Antiwar activists believe that this war is immoral because it violates principles. Such principles include that we do not wage war because violence begets violence. Such principles include that either we abolish war or we will make ourselves extinct--this was the sentiment of Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling and others. Ben Ferencz, a former Nuremburg prosecutor, proposed the principle that the rule of law, which is what we do not have when the US claims to be privileged above all others, must replace war. He cites Generals Dwight David Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur as expressing similar sentiments. And speaking of Nuremburg, principles gleaned from those trials condemned and called wars of aggression preventive wars or wars of anticipatory self defense. This applies to Iraq because, as Noam Chomsky notes, our War on Iraq is a preventive war rather than a preemptive war. A preemptive war would be a response to an imminent or commenced attack while a preventive war is a reaction to the expectation of a future assault.
Thus, antiwar activists should not be satisfied with the current condemnations of the Iraq War made by Senators Obama and Clinton; this is because these candidates are only saying that the Iraq War is bad for business. Rather, antiwar activists should demand that these candidates condemn the Iraq War as immoral and promise to work to eliminate all future wars. A sign that Obama and Clinton are serious about eradicating future wars would be if they promised to adhere to international law, which recognizes a country’s right to defend itself against an imminent or actual attack, and thus denounce any assumed right to act aggressively. Antiwar activists should not be happy with anything less.
Presently, it is inconsistent for antiwar activists to vote Democratic. This conclusion is discomforting to those antiwar activists who are Democrats for two reasons. First, some antiwar activists idealize their party. This is normal for we all would like to see the best in whatever group we belong to. Second, some antiwar activists are afraid to vote for third party and independent candidates because such votes seem to help elect pro-war Republican candidates. These activists blame Nader’s 2000 candidacy for our current state of affairs. But suppose these same activists had supported rather than resented Nader in 2004, would it not be more likely that the Democratic Party would respond producing viable antiwar candidates in 2008?
The downward spiral into which the Bush Administration has plunged our country only ensures that, for the foreseeable future, we will feel compelled to vote for the defeat of the Republicans. But do we come closer to ending war by voting Democratic? The answer will be not until the Democratic candidates oppose all preventive wars, such as the Iraq War, on moral grounds and promise to eliminate future wars. Until then, antiwar activists should vote for third party or independent candidates.