It seems an obvious thing to do, but then again, sometimes the most obvious things are those that are left neglected. So, I’ll send a link this morning over to Voters for Peace, but with a couple of questions.
The idea of Voters for Peace is to solidify antiwar voters into a potent political bloc. That’s a good idea. The group points out: “Polling has revealed an unrecognized anti-war voting block which is large enough (two-thirds of progressives) that candidates and incumbent politicians cannot afford to ignore it. It is larger than the pro-gun, anti-abortion, or the anti-gay marriage voting blocks.”
To this end, Voters for Peace is asking people to sign the following pledge: “”I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.” The group defines a war of aggression as “any war that is not in response to an invasion, or attack on a nation.”
Here’s my questions: The group doesn’t mention the war in Afghanistan. Why? Is it because that war doesn’t qualify as a war of aggression? Does that mean that we could permanently occupy Afghanistan, and be perpetually fighting the Taliban there, and a group like Voters for Peace still wouldn’t oppose that war?
Let’s keep in mind that the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, which was a major justification for the invasion of Afghanistan, has been called off. The destruction of the Taliban, another objective of the war, has still not taken place – in fact, the Taliban seem to be getting stronger the longer American troops stay in Afghanistan. It’s been almost five years now that the Afghan War has been going on. How much longer must it persist?
I also have to question the definition of a war of aggression, because it seems to be open to a very broad interpretation. George W. Bush and the Republicans say that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was done in response to the attacks by Al Quaida on September 11, 2001. The Iraq War was a “response”, though Al Quaida had nothing to do with the Iraqi Government, and the Iraqi Government had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks. So, when voters take this pledge, how far can they accept the justification of response? Should they accept the idea that a war against Iran and Syria would not be a war of aggression? What are they to make of the war between Israel, Hezbollah, and Lebanon, where both Israel and Hezbollah claim to be defending themselves against aggression, and not committing aggression at all?
Why can’t a group calling itself Voters for Peace offer a more simple pledge, one to oppose any politician in Congress who votes to approve any war? Why has the categorical opposition to all war become taboo?