Idaho Democrats -- Against The Mexican War!
Vizzini: He didn't fall? Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
--The Princess Bride
Ever since I got kicked out of the Republican Party for supporting Democrat Larry Grant for Congress, I've been worried about the Idaho Democratic Party convention that was held this weekend. Mostly, I was worried that my new party would come out of the convention with all sorts of weird ideas that I wouldn't be able to support, especially about the Global War on Terror.
It turns out I didn't need to worry. My observations over the last couple decades have been that both political parties are made up of "regular" people and the "others". (Depending on which party you're talking about, the "others" can be referred to as "moonbats" or "black helicopter whackjobs".) I suspected that, although the moonbattier Idaho Dems make a lot of noise, the adults were actually in charge of the party... it turned out I was right. Here are some excerpts from a report about the convention showing how they dealt with the more radical fringe:
Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett of Ketchum said the platform means little to Democrats holding office.The part I was worried about was what they'd say about Iraq. At first, I was somewhat surprised to see that the platform didn't mention Iraq at all, but then I realized what had happened -- the adults in the room had put one over on the "less worldly" delegates. Here's what they ended up putting into the platform under the "Peace" heading:
"For the people in office and in the Legislature, it has very little impact on our daily lives," Stennett said. "Ultimately, platforms are used by opponents to pick out the left-wing and right-wing points and try to tie them around candidate's necks..."
...Some delegates breathed a sigh of relief after voting to strike from the platform party support for the creation of a federal Department of Peace and Nonviolence.
The statement, suggested by Canyon County delegate Sunny Freeman-Genz, would have committed the state party's support for the creation of a federal-level department to work on peaceful resolution of conflict in both state affairs and at the community level.
a. We support those serving in the military and their families, at home and abroad, in wartime and in peace.That last part is brilliant. It makes the progressives think they've spoken Truth To Power by boldly risking being sent to Guantanamo by opposing the war in Iraq, when actually it means no such thing if you look at it closely. Let's review the history of major wars in the U.S., and see which ones they would have opposed based on this statement:
b. We reject a foreign policy of unilateral, preemptive war.
1) War of 1812: Because we didn't officially ally ourselves with the French, who were fighting the British at the same time, we can call this one unilateral. However, since we went to war in response to specific provocations by the British, it wasn't preemptive.
2) Mexican War: Yep, this one was pretty much unilateral and preemptive. They'll oppose a replay of this one.
3) Civil War: Didn't have to do with foreign policy, and launched in response to the attack on Ft. Sumter. It's safe from Idaho Dems.
4) Spanish-American War: It turns out in retrospect that the Spaniards didn't really sink the USS Maine, so this pretty much was unilateral and preemptive. However, since we didn't know it until decades later (when Admiral Rickover pretty much showed that Maine had been sunk from an internal explosion) the people fighting it didn't think it was preemptive at the time. We'll call this one a toss-up, and won't protest too much if we start hearing some "McKinley lied, people died" chants when Idaho Dems meet.
5) WWI: Definitely not unilateral, and the Germans used unrestricted submarine warfare against us. It's a good war for Idaho Dems.
6) WWII: This war was pretty much unilateral against the Japanese during 1943-1944, and kind of preemptive against Germany, but I think that overall it would pass muster.
7) Korean War: This was approved by the UN Security Council, so it wasn't unilateral.
8) Vietnam War: Again, we thought we'd been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, so it wasn't preemptive in our minds; plus, we had our Australian and South Vietnamese allies with us, so not unilateral.
9) Desert Storm: Not unilateral -- lots of allies. Same with Kosovo. And Afghanistan (which was also not preemptive).
10) Iraq: During major combat operations, we fought with our British, Australian, and Polish allies by our side, so it clearly wasn't unilateral. Iraq had been shooting at our airplanes patrolling the no-fly zones, so we were attacked first. This one seems to get a pass from the Idaho Dems, based on what they say they "reject".
Note that if we were to go into Iran, we'd probably have at least our Israeli allies fighting with us, so not even that war would be unilateral. It looks to me that Idaho Dems are just as willing to support an aggressive foreign policy as the Republicans are, at least from what their platform says. Good for them!
I do realize that some of them may not understand the meaning of "unilateral", and say that it really applies to Iraq since we didn't have enough allies. I'd ask them if they supported the apparently "unilateral" American invasion of Normandy during WWII, since there we were pretty much only joined in the landing by the Brits, Poles, Aussies, and Canadians. Maybe they'll say it's unilateral if we don't have Canadians involved.
Unrelated post-script: Vizzini was wrong about the meaning of the word "inconceivable". Hopefully he was also wrong when he named the most famous "classic blunder" as "never get involved in a land war in Asia".