I grew up during a time when the Vietnam War divided people, since generally, conservatives supported the war and liberals vocally condemned it. Since then, support for wars the US has engaged in has often been used as an indicator for whether one was conservative or liberal.
Unfortunately “conservative” and “liberal” are rather fluid in their meanings to the point where most people only have a generalized idea of what they mean, with most people saying they have mostly left of center or right of center values with a couple of outlier opinions that are usually identified with the other side of the spectrum.
But opposition to war, since the 1960s, has been consistently considered a liberal value.
Consistency, however, has never been a liberal value, and liberals’ opposition to war seems to depend on which party currently occupies the White House.
We have to give President Obama as a war-time president credit for making good on a campaign promise. He was not an anti-war candidate. He was very clear that he would continue the US military’s presence in Iraq for an indefinite period and would increase our presence in Afghanistan.
George Bush received, correctly I think, criticism from the left on invading Afghanistan without sufficient justification. The Taliban has never been either a direct or an indirect threat to the US and our continued belligerence there has only made the accusation that US troops are there to protect a future oil opportunity – or the CIA’s opium trade — more credible.
But what was once a “war for oil” under the Bush administration has now become background noise, an afterthought when it comes up in conversation. The anti-war rallies that used to protest war in Iraq and Afghanistan before 2008 are gone. Liberals no longer protest war.
They no longer protest because it’s now Obama’s war. He inherited it and pushed for its continuance, and not a peep was heard from the liberals. Apparently, war is immoral when it’s waged under a Republican president.
Since the 1960s, liberals have taken the moral high ground on war, that war is immoral. The left has been unambiguous about this as a moral value. War is wrong, they say. We do not need to engage in war.
But here is where liberals show their inconsistency. For liberals, war in Afghanistan under George Bush was immoral, but it is no longer immoral, when thought of at all, when it’s waged under Barack Obama.
Clearly, being anti-war is not a liberal value. If that were the case, liberals would condemn both the war and the president in the same breath as a needless and immoral waste of human life. If the moral high ground was actually what liberals valued, they would condemn all war, not just selective wars. Ideology, not morality, is what drives liberalism. Being anti-war to liberals is nothing more than partisan posturing with no moral value attached to it at all.
The problem I’ve personally had with the political Left is with their ability to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Obviously, there are negatives to almost any issue, but to solely focus on those negatives when it is politically advantageous and then ignore them when they are not is so transparent that I’m constantly bewildered by how effective it is. Before I became politically “awakened”, I can remember being bombarded with news about Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mother who protested GWB. When Obama took over she was immediately forgotten. It’s this kind of ruthless, unprincipled tactic that also makes me respect the Left; if nothing else, they are at least willing to do whatever it takes to gain and retain power. Even if that means cynically exploiting people.