The Disenfranchised Antiwar Voter

Why is it that the War Party invariably wins? Although the majority of Americans are rebelling against the idea that the US must endlessly police the world, and are souring on the crusade to "liberate" Afghanistan, how is it that the only voices heard on the national political scene are those in favor of intervention?

This hasn’t always been true: during the run-up to World War II, for example, there were plenty of politicians and major public figures – most of them conservative Republicans – who questioned the need for America to venture into the crusading business. The biggest antiwar movement in American history, the America First Committee, which was financed by conservative businessmen from the Midwest, and organized by a broad coalition of anti-New Deal conservatives and libertarians, was 800,000 strong, and growing before That Man in the White House succeeded in luring the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. (Yes, FDR knew …). During the Vietnam era, a broad antiwar movement was organized that found political expression in the Democratic party: Eugene McCarthy‘s presidential campaign gave voice to the growing American majority opposed to that futile crusade.

Yet these are the exceptions, and they stand out precisely because they violate the general rule of American politics, which is that "politics stops at the water’s edge." Since America’s entry onto the world stage as the "liberator"-of-choice, both parties have historically stood behind the "consensus" that America’s role in the world is to police the four corners of the earth. The War Party has a de facto monopoly on the political process in this country, and that is the sad fact of the matter. The anti-interventionist position, although it is the default position of most ordinary Americans, is simply not represented in any of the "major" parties.

Take, for example, the closely watched congressional race in New York’s 23rd district, which pitted Bill Owens, a Democrat, against the "Conservative" party candidate Doug Hoffman, and Republican DeDe Scozzafava, a RINO who dropped out and endorsed Owens. While the conservative Republican base rose up against the boss-picked Scozzafava, who was pro-stimulus, pro-nationalized healthcare, and bad on the social issues from their point of view, one big issue that both the wingnut and the RINO agreed on was the war in Afghanistan: both Hoffman and Scozzafava endorsed the McChrystal plan for sending 40,000 more US troops into that quagmire. The winner, Owens, carefully skated away from what is a hot-button issue, and claimed not to have "enough information" to make an informed decision.

One year into the Age of Obama, we find that liberals like Scozzafava and "conservatives" like Hoffman hold identical positions on the vital question of war and peace – while the rest of us are left out in the cold.

It seems not to matter that the voters are themselves dissatisfied with the course the country seems to be taking overseas: while growing numbers oppose the "nation-building" extravaganza proposed by the Obama administration in Afghanistan, the alleged "conservatives" who funded and organized the Hoffman campaign have resisted their normally opportunistic impulses to take advantage of voter discontent on this issue, and, instead, attack the Obama administration for not being militaristic enough.

The hypocrisy of these fake-conservatives apparently knows no bounds: while they supposedly oppose massive government spending and complain about "big government," the biggest most sacrosanct spending programs – totaling trillions of dollars – are those that fund our foreign policy of global intervention, and when it comes to these, our conservatives are all in favor.

As for the alleged "liberalism" of Ms. Scozzafava, this is a myth that the liberal pro-Obama media is creating in order to serve the interests of their preferred narrative, but the truth is something far different. Asked if the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and what her views on the Afghan war are, she answered:

"Well, I stand behind the war in Iraq, and in the efforts that were made. When we look back at 9/11, there has not been another attack on, from foreign soil. Were there some missteps during the process? Absolutely. But, I think right now when we look at Afghanistan, I think we have a Commander in Chief that needs to decide what our direction is in Afghanistan. General McChrystal has indicated what he needs, he feels, in order to accomplish the strategic mission in Afghanistan. No one has yet responded to that. I believe General McChrystal should be respected. I think his request should be honored."

Oh, but Scuzzy doesn’t stop there: she has it in for Iran, too:

"The other 800 lb. gorilla, I think, in that part of the world is Iran. Because as everything is going on in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’ve got Iran, that’s just getting away with whatever it wants to get away with, and very soon is going to have nuclear capability. Some people say, ‘well, we need to try diplomacy.’ I’m always for diplomacy, but sometimes diplomacy needs to backed up by a very, very strong defense — very strong defense. So, now is not the time to be pulling away from strong defense budgets or diverting money elsewhere. Iran is a very scary situation. It’s going to be — need to be dealt with directly. Some people talk about sanctions. Well, sanctions work only if you have strategic alliances that will follow the sanctions. So, I’m very much in favor of a strong defense budget. I think any sort of realistic diplomatic efforts is going to have to be backed by a strong defense policy."

This is a "liberal"? How is this any different from the "conservative" (i.e. neoconservative) position on foreign policy? Answer: It isn’t.

There is no democracy in America. Our government is controlled by two "major" parties that have a monopoly on ballot status: try getting on the ballot as a "third party" – especially in New York state! It’s next to impossible. And if you should manage to get on the ballot, in spite of all the legal and logistical obstacles, then you faced the moneyed interests which have bought the Congress and the executive branch, and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – not only when it comes to foreign policy, but when it comes to anything and everything.

Our ruling elite is on a collision course with the citizenry. There is, at present, no way for disenfranchised voters to register their protest, and have their voices heard, and the pressure is building – slowly but surely – as Americans begin to ask where it will all end. We are headed for an era of unprecedented political and social turmoil, as the economy tanks and the wages of intervention are paid in the form of more "blowback" such as we experienced on 9/11. The America we know and love is rapidly sliding down into the abyss of national bankruptcy and international opprobrium – and our "leaders" are not only helpless to stop it, they are actively pushing us toward the edge.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].