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A debate was joined in the comments to this diaryearlier today which has far-reaching ramifications.  A pro-NATO and a pro-Russian Kossack were going at each other and the pro-Russian maintained that Daily Kos is an anti-war site.  The pro-NATO guy commented that it was a pro-Democratic site which strongly suggests that it is not anti-war.  Indeed Democratic Presidents presided over the Mexican War, World War I, World War II, and the beginning of the Korean Vietnam Wars, just to name major wars.  Most people don't find the bombing of Serbia in 1999 or the ousting of Muammar Qadaffi in 2011 to be equally significant (given that they resulted in no American KIA), but they were still wars.

If we really want to be an anti-war site it strikes me that there are two things we have to do.  The first is to oppose anyone who profits from a war.  This includes Barack Obama and every other incumbent President who has ever sought re-election in the middle of the war.  If you doubt such people necessarily profit, consider the fact that no incumbent President who sought re-election in the middle of a war has ever lost.  You can tell who the three most honorable US Presidents of the twentieth century were just from the fact that two of them, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, refused to exploit a losing war to get re-elected and the third, George H. W. Bush, refused to prolong a war to make his re-election a done deal.  A consistently anti-war person or website would have supported Jill Stein or Gary Johnson for President in 2012.  To me, President Obama's stock would be much higher if he had ended the Afghan War in 2011 after killing bin Laden.  Had he foregone the surge of 2009 and ended both the Iraq and Afghan Wars that year, he would almost certainly have lost re-election, although he would deserve his Nobel Prize more.

The second thing is even more important but is overlooked by most pacifists.  We have to support the peace party in every country with which we might conceivably go to war.  This will not make advocates of the purest form of self-determination happy, but it is critical.  Indeed some people will say that this is a form of imperialism since the opponents of state militarism in, for example, the state sponsor of terrorism countries are also pro-Western.  However, some regimes will not admit of peace and it cannot be reasonably practiced with them.  If liberals in Germany in the 1920s had been properly supported by the older democracies (i.e. with reparations forgiveness) Hitler would never have become chancellor of Germany.  Once Hitler was chancellor of Germany the only question was how big the ensuing war would get.  If Britain's Conservative Party had had primaries in the 1930s would you, knowing what you know now, have picked Neville Chamberlain over Winston Churchill?

I have to depart for therapy in a few minutes and so will be unable to reply immediately to the comments.  But let me say in closing that I respect both the pro-NATO and the pro-Russian commenter in the diary linked to above.  Daily Kos will not be consistently anything, pro-Democratic or anti-war.  I wish it were possible for me personally to be a little more consistent.

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