Step Up to the Plate, Democrats

It’s obvious that Democrats used the antiwar movement during the George W. Bush years.


Clearly, they saw the war in Iraq as a way to make Republicans look bad. Maybe it was because they wanted the Democratic Party in power due to its position on guns, abortion, immigration and LGBTQ issues.

Democrats who protested the invasion of Iraq still say they’re opposed to war. Yet they voted for a man who before he was elected, said, "I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war."

Then they voted for him again in 2012 after he dropped bombs on six Muslim countries.

And for the most part, those same Democrats have not been active in the antiwar movement since Barack Obama took office.

Yep, the antiwar movement was used. And as part of that movement, I can say that many of us are angrier today with the Democrats than we were with the Republicans when Bush was in office.

At least pro-war Republicans have the honesty and decency to say they believe in war, and only vote for those with the same view.

But you have a chance to redeem yourselves, Democrats

One reason expressed by many Democrats for voting for "the lesser of two evils" was that Obama would be more likely to hear their voice than would a Republican president. They said that they would hold Obama accountable.

Well, here’s your chance, Democrats. All you have to do is tell Obama and the Democratic Party that you will never vote for them again if they take any form of military action in Iraq today.

Even if only twenty percent of Democrats took such a position, that would be enough to prevent an attack.

For those Democrats who say they "can’t risk having a Republican in office" for fear of what that might mean for domestic issues – get over it. It’s time to think about what your President and party are doing to other people around the world. And don’t even try the "a Republican president would have bombed even more countries than Obama has" argument. That’s a hypothetical, and just for the record, Obama has dropped bombs on two more countries than did Bush.

But you can stop this war on Iraq, Democrats. In fact, you might be the only people who can.

One thing that can always be counted on from politicians is their desire to get re-elected. With midterm elections approaching, it is a certainty that even the imperialist hawks within the Democratic Party would not be able to push for another war in Iraq if they knew that a significant number of people in their party were jumping ship. The Democratic Party leadership wouldn’t allow it to happen.

It wouldn’t matter how many tantrums the neo-cons threw if the Democrat’s voter base told their leaders that fresh drone strikes in Iraq would blow up their chance of getting Democrats elected.

A defining moment for Democrats

This is a defining moment for anyone who says they are opposed to war but still vote Democrat. The president that Democrats voted for is already supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, has armed ISIS in Syria, and has started a war on Libya without congressional approval.

And now that same president is telling Congress that he doesn’t need their permission to wage another war on Iraq. If George W. Bush had made such a statement, Democrats would have gone ballistic and (rightfully) called him a dictator.

Large segments of the antiwar community have supported LGBTQ, immigrant, homeless, environmental and workers rights activists. Now’s the time for Democrats within those communities to return the favor to the antiwar movement. This is your guy who is about to attack Iraq, Democrats. This is on you.

And don’t try to get out of it by saying that Obama would only be doing "targeted air strikes." A bomb dropped by the US in another country is an act of war. Especially when the country on the other end of the missiles includes 32 million human beings who have been subjected to the wrath of the United States for nearly 25 years.

Yes, as an antiwar activist I am intensely angry at the proposition of once again attacking Iraq. It’s inconceivable that there is even discussion of more US military action there.

Mostly, I can’t begin to understand what it’s like to be in Iraq right now. But I do know that I would be insulted if someone in the US said that more bombs were the solution to the mess in Iraq today. Especially in the context of the US creating the mess there to begin with.

As a taxpayer in the US I have a deep sense of responsibility for what my country does to other people around the world. It’s not as though the people of Iraq have a say in whether or not the US bombs them again.

Barney Frank once said that he doesn’t listen to people who don’t vote, just as owners of butcher shops don’t listen to vegetarians.

For this reason, Obama and his party are not going to listen to genuine antiwar activists on the issue of Iraq – they know we don’t vote for Democrats. They’ll only take calls from party loyalists and will only listen if they are told they won’t get one more penny or one more vote if Iraq is attacked again.

So hop to it, Democrats, or you’re going to make many of us cheer for an all Republican Congress and hope that the next President of the United States is a Republican. At least that way, maybe Democrats will become "antiwar" again.

Chris Ernesto is co-founder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages and

42 thoughts on “Step Up to the Plate, Democrats”

  1. Whether one is pro or anti war (being as our wars are generally against Muslim countries) is not so much as whether one is Democrat or Republican so much as whether one is pro or anti Zionism. That outweighs every other factor.

    1. What is a "progressive Democrat?" You voted for Obama (twice!), you voted for Kerry, you voted for Gore, you voted for war time & time again. Nothing but derision has been dumped upon anti-war Greens & Nader & yes libertarians from your quarter. After Obama supported expansion of the Syrian war you voted for him again. Putin and the British public stopped the Syrian airstrikes that you in effect voted for. I'll believe you're "progressive" the day you stop being Democrats.

  2. Chris wrote: "But you can stop this war on Iraq, Democrats. In fact, you might be the only people who can."

    Indeed – responsibility is at your feet. The war actions taken by this president & facilitated by the DP representatives elected is the responsibility of folks who voted for them – it's on your tab. Now's the time to be accountable for your voting action. Step up or fess up.

  3. Democrats aren't reading this website; they tuned out of any interest in anti-war activity in 2004 when the opportunity to vote for Kerry's militarism rolled around. They are & always have been frauds. About 0.1% of registered Dems give a flying snotball about war, death, refugees etc. All any of these people ever cared about is self-perception as being morally superior to Bush voters. Given the choice between owning up to the results of their idiocy re Obama or dead brown kids 99.9999% will take splattered brown kids. There isn't enough spinal material or brain matter on the MoveOn mailing list to make a passable baboon.

    1. Chris Randolph,
      There is an element of truth in what you, say but you are too easy on the Republicans (by omission). I went from Libertarian to Socialist when the Libertarians started running wore-out Republicans as their Presidential candidates. The Democrat Party of the Clintons and Kerry was too corrupt and the Republican Party of the Bushes and Cheney was too corrupt and too evil to even consider. Both Partys will choose dead brown kids (Arabs) over reining in the Israel of the big campaign checks..

      1. Oh sure, Hey, I'm not a Republican, in fact I'm on the legit left. But the article's about Dems, and the fact is that they are emitting a deafening silence having elected their Chosen One.

      2. The culpability of establishment Republicans for warmongering is not at issue. What deserves our attention (at least at this point in history) is how easily antiwar sentiment was rendered impotent with the election of Obama.

        Anyone who switches so easily from libertarian to socialist must not be particularly concerned with the ethical principles as put into practice that ultimately underly each ideology. For libertarians, war is murder, regardless of whether it is Republican or Democratic apologia used to excuse it. The same cannot be claimed for liberals (in the perverted modern sense) who are still suckered into believing that government coercion is, or at least can be, the cure for what they fallaciously imagine ails society. Belief in the legitimacy of government, regardless of the rhetoric used to establish and maintain it, will always be leveraged by the warmongers to empower and enrich themselves.

        "War is the health of the state."–Randolph Bourne

        1. Sam Lowry,
          "Anyone who switches so easily from libertarian to socialist must not be particularly concerned with ethical principles" …. au contraire. The Libertarian Party that I joined in the 1980s was no longer the same party that I walked away from in 2004. The 1980 Libertarians were totally the party of individual liberty and justice – the Maryland Lib. Party, that I belonged to, was headed by a Palestinian-American, our frequent visitor was a very humane anarchist from WV (Karl Hess), etc. The Lib Party of Florida, which I walked away from actually voted to not condemn the government behavior in Waco or to condemn NAFTA. And when they ran Bob Barr for President, it was adios – they were IMO conservatrive Republicans; addicted to their personal finances at the expense of justice.
          The socialism, I now support is of the type practiced in the Scandinavian countries. I know the progressive taxation, worker protections, and strong social net of socialism might annoy the hell out of you, but I fail to see what is unethical about them.

          1. "The Libertarian Party that I joined in the 1980s…"

            Small 'l' libertarianism isn't a party. It isn't a social club one roots for in the same sense that one roots for their favorite football team. It is an ethical principle that denies that theft and murder can be morally excused merely because the perpetrators are agents of the State. Some with libertarian leanings choose to play the game of politics. More power to them. But their practical (and occasionally moral) failings in an inherently rigged game should not surprise anyone.

            Socialism is State coercion, and therefore unethical. To think that compassion in the form of a "social net" can only manifest itself in the form of political authority is to be duped. Or in less polite terms, it is to manifest the righteous arrogance of a self-imagined member of the moral or intellectual elite. The truth is it ain't compassion when you're spending someone else's stolen money. And it is foolish to think that the institutionalized authority to steal money for even the most ostensibly moral of causes won't be abused.

          2. Sam,
            You are trying to make a moral case for being a deadbeat. I saw that all of the time as a libertarian. These cheesey little guys would sponge up all of the free goodies and then get all huffy when asked to contribute. They would spout off about how when they "felt" like it, they would contribute. But not right now. "Taxes being theft", blah, blah, blah. If you belong to a family, a group, a country or just the human race, you have to pay your fair share. There is no free lunch – someone has to pay to educate the kids, build the highways, hire troops (if necessary), etc.
            And this is the most surprising – the really, rich, greedy bastards won't contribute a dime; it is the "barely making it" guy that will contribute. How many charity hospitals does Goldman Sachs run? vs, the Sisters of the Poor? Our "free market enterprise" system is a "deadbeat" system – and you should know it.

  4. I have been waiting for someone to share this post. This has actually made me think and I hope to read more. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

  5. Let's put it like this, if Barack Hussein Obama was a antiwar activist in any grad, and for next president not to do what George W. Buch and Tony Blair done in Iraq, he would have prosecuted George w. Buch and vigorously demanding for Tony Blair to be extradited to US where he also could face justices for war crime. Thus far everything sounds just fine, but there is a problem, what would he do with almost 60% of democrats who supported George W. Bush Iraq war, if he would have , then they should also thinking of closing the Democratic Party.

  6. Ehud Barack Obama did not start a war with Syria because of the protests. These same people should have also demanded he not start another Iraq War, end the drone strikes, not start a war in Libya, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq much sooner and end sanctions against Iran. They should have also demanded an end to Israel's settlements and aid to Israel.

  7. Ernesto, whom I generally agree with, said "Obama and his party are not going to listen to genuine antiwar activists on the issue of Iraq – they know we don't vote for democrats." Then who do we vote for? Until such time as Rand Paul seizes the GOP reins (don't hold your breath), why would any antiwar person consider cheering for a GOP takeover? If it's just to spite the Dems, what good would that do? Voting GOP to punish the Dems is like voting for WWIII to get back at Obama.. The last thing I want to see, as terrible as Obama's policies have been, is a USG totally controlled by republicans. Did you forget the first 6 years of GWB's disastrous rule?

  8. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i
    read this article i thought i could also make comment due
    to this good piece of writing.

  9. Sorry… Meant to suggest folks click the link above to pummel Obama and your congressperson re: No Military Solution In Iraq".

  10. The war actions taken by this president & facilitated by the DP representatives elected is the responsibility of folks who voted for them – it's on your tab. Now's the time to be accountable for your voting action. Step up or fess up.

  11. These same people should have also demanded he not start another Iraq War, end the drone strikes, not start a war in Libya, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq much sooner and end sanctions against Iran

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