Former Republican US Senator turned Independent Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate Lincoln Chafee dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination on Friday. Chafee whose voting record in the Senate was the most liberal among Republicans during his tenure was one of the few that stood tall against the rush to war in Iraq. With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, it is important that the party and the candidate learn from Chafee’s example and his words as he left the race on Friday. Clinton has through the years been had a very questionable record of foreign policy matters. She voted for the Iraq War and has tended to be more hawkish than many in the party.
Many Democrats stayed silent as President Obama doubled down on a bad bet in Afghanistan a policy which has done nothing to stamp out the insurgent Taliban, intervened unwisely in Libya which led directly to the Benghazi tragedy and a radicalized government in Tripoli and “declared war” on ISIS tying the United States into yet another potential Middle Eastern quagmire.
Chafee’s strong views which he once again articulated yesterday including a parting shot at the GOP should be a starting point for discussions about military intervention in the future. His comments are below, after the jump.
“I have been campaigning on a platform of ‘Prosperity Through Peace.’ But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance to be given to peace. When I was a senator, a general from the Pentagon testified before the Foreign Relations Committee on global military powers. I asked him who was second to the U.S. in military might? He thought for a bit and said, ‘probably the U.K.’ Yes that was a few years ago but the point remains true: no real rival to the United States exists when it comes to total weaponry and deployment potential.”
“We are sinking ever deeper and deeper into an endless morass in the Middle East and North Africa,” Chafee added. “People keep dying, and peace seems further and further away. It’s evident that all this military power isn’t working for us right now.”
“From what I’ve heard, none of the Republicans running for president want to understand anything about the Middle East and North Africa,” Chafee insisted. “Instead they prefer to espouse more bellicosity, more saber rattling and more blind macho posturing.”
“The United States of America is so strong militarily, economically and culturally that we can take chances for peace,” Chafee added. “In fact, as a strong mature world leader, we must take chances for peace. If we have courage, if we take risks, we can have ‘Prosperity through Peace,’ not just in the United States, but all over the world. Do we want to be remembered as a bomber of weddings and hospitals? Or do we want to be remembered as peacemakers, as pioneers of a more harmonious world?”
“A wise man, President Eisenhower counseled us that ‘only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ could ensure the meshing of both security and liberty,” Chafee concluded. “It is up to you as women, as citizens, and as humans to demand from your leaders an end to the endless wars and the beginning of a new era for the United States and humanity.”
Democrats would be wise to heed all of these words going forward.