World War Without Representation
by Todd Davis
The 2024 Presidential election isn’t far away. We have already had a CNN Town Hall that led to the head of the network stepping down. The endless political news cycle is beginning to ramp up with election polls featuring head-to-head matchups between Joe Biden and Donald Trump coming out every few weeks. America is deeply divided along ideological and sociological lines creating many wedge issues that will ultimately drive voters. And yet, on the issue that has the most importance to the survival and prosperity of this nation, the ongoing war in Ukraine that has been instigated and funded by the United States and its NATO allies, a hard, harrowing question for an alleged democracy hangs in the air; Will Americans be allowed to vote for or against the war in Ukraine?
Republicans and Democrats have surface disagreements on divisive social issues such as when children are allowed to view drag queen story hour, whether or not background checks on gun purchases should be expanded, or how much attention should be paid to climate change, but both sides march in unison when it comes to war. Long gone are the days of the 1960s when there was a massive anti-war, pro-peace movement that separated Democrat and Republican ideology. Modern day elected Republicans, as NeoCons, and Democrats, as NeoLiberals, all endorse military coercion as a policy for maintaining the American Empire. Phrased as “protecting democracy”, this leads to arbitrary economic sanctions, election interference, and often direct military intervention.
Every recent generation of Americans has lived under the geopolitical directive of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the country about in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
As Americans, we’ve witnessed the discord and disorder that United States military policy has projected upon the world over the last three decades. We are constantly told by politicians from both sides and echoed in the media, that we need a strong military to protect democracy. Historically, this has not proven to be true.
American Mobilization for War
America, for the majority of its existence, had one of the smallest standing armies among major nations. The country was founded by people who crossed oceans and came to this land wanting to be free from the endless wars that occurred overseas. States like Pennsylvania were largely founded by Quakers who were complete pacifists. Americans didn’t want to pattern themselves on the nations of Europe that were constantly going to war with each other. In addition, the founding fathers did not want the government to possess a powerful army that was capable of turning on its own citizens.
Despite having a minuscule army, on three separate occasions, America has been able to mobilize for war on a vast scale. The first occurred during the Civil War. At the start of the war, the Union had ten regiments totaling about 16,000 men. The country began the war at an even greater handicap when most of its best officers joined the Confederacy out of loyalty to their home states who had succeeded from the Union. Regardless of these limitations, General George McClellan from November 1861 to March 1862 raised, outfitted, and trained over 100,000 men forming the famous Army of the Potomac. All told, over 2 million Americans would serve in the Union Army from 1861-1865.
Following three years of European conflict in World War I, Woodrow Wilson was finally successful in getting a reluctant American population into the war in 1917. The United States regular army numbered about 100,000 men with an additional 100,000 in the National Guard before America declared war on Germany in April 1917. By the war’s conclusion in November 1918, America had raised an army of 4.7 million. During the summer of 1918 Americans were landing on the shores of France at the rate of 10,000 a day. All of this was accomplished; training, outfitting, and transporting almost 5 million soldiers in the span of just over a year.
World War II followed an identical pattern although on a grander scale. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939 the United States had a standing army of 188,000 men. By 1945 there were over 8 million Americans in the army. However, something had changed. While the United States drew down its army after the Civil War and World War I, the U.S. never again would have a small standing army. The scope, scale, and budget of the armed forces would now be astronomical.
The question one asks is why? America has proven on three separate occasions to be able to build a highly effective army almost from scratch. Why incur the expense to maintain an army if you have the capacity to build one whenever you need it? And, perhaps more importantly, if you have something you’re spending a lot of money on, you are going to have a propensity to use it. A lot.
Since World War II, the United States has been involved in five major wars; Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Each required trillions in financing and the deployment of immense amounts of soldiers. None of these wars ended in a victory equivalent to that of World War II. All ended up killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, destabilizing the geographical region, and bringing no lasting alliance or benefit to the United States. Ukraine is on the road to becoming the sixth war of this type.
None of these conflicts involved an actual declaration of war. The United States Congress must vote on a declaration of war and that would require Senators to stand up and vote for war in a highly visible act that would force them to answer their constituents. In order to avoid this, U.S. Presidents use the War Powers Resolution of 1973. This act passed during the final stages of defeat in Vietnam, was designed to limit the power of the executive office in getting America involved in a war without Congressional approval. However, Article II, Section 2 of the War Powers Act, has been interpreted to mean that the president may intervene with an essentially free hand in foreign affairs. Presidents are allowed to send soldiers, without limit, into battle without consulting Congress. The only Congressional check on this power is the House of Representatives which controls the budget. However, this counterweight is an illusion as U.S. presidents get whatever budget they want to be passed and defense spending always goes up and is never cut. The War Powers Act has given U.S. presidents more autocratic military power than Roman emperors.
Geopolitical pressure provided a balance to American interventionism. From 1948 through 1991 the United States was involved in 46 military interventions. That number spiked to 188 military interventions from 1992 through 2017. The primary underlying factor for the increase was the fall of the Soviet Union. With the Soviets acting as a counterbalancing power, the United States did not have carte blanche to act however it chose. Once the Soviets were no longer on the world stage, the United States was free to use its military to occupy, subvert and bully countries across the globe. This pattern of aggression has continued, after a brief pause during the Trump administration, until arriving in 2022, the United States got into a direct engagement with Russia itself, a once unthinkable prospect for Cold War veterans.
Democratic Presidential Candidates
Over these 75 long years of conflict, both Democrat and Republican presidents have sent soldiers across the globe, spent U.S. taxpayers’ money on it and tried to sell the public on supporting the troops and defending democracy. Americans are never allowed to vote on whether or not they want to support these wars. The closest they came to having a choice was in the 2004 election between President George W. Bush and John Kerry. Even then, it’s unlikely Kerry would have withdrawn from Iraq. Every president is a war candidate. And as the United States stands on the precipice of armageddon with Russia, are Americans even allowed to vote on whether or not they want to be two minutes from a nuclear exchange?
Joe Biden, the favorite to retain the presidency in 2024, is a complete pro-war with Russia advocate. He insisted on pushing NATO right onto the doorstep of Russia and has been involved with turning Ukraine against Russia since 2014. Every redline he said would lead to a greater danger of a nuclear war with Russia he’s crossed by sending HIMARS, Leopards and Abram tanks, longer-range missiles, and almost certainly by this fall F-16 aircraft that can be fitted with missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Putting these in the theater of war on Russia’s doorstep brings us closer to a total, final war. During a second Biden term as the war goes worse and worse for Ukraine direct NATO intervention and U.S. boots on the ground look inevitable.
Biden, who will be in his 80s during his second term, has faced uncomfortable questions about his mental acuity to handle such an enormous responsibility. And while emerging Democratic governors like Gavin Newsome and Gretchen Whitmer have fallen in line behind Biden, the president does have challengers in Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy Jr.
Marianne Williamson is symbolic of how the Democratic Party has been transformed into a pro-war, pro-corporate institution. Once a bastion of peace rallies, protests against wars, and pushing back on American Imperialism, the Democratic Party is now fully behind the war with Russia. Last year, a small group of left-leaning Democratic congresspeople sent a letter to Biden asking that the government should explore peace negotiations to avoid a large loss of life. They were instantly eviscerated by the always pro-war American media and silenced. We haven’t heard a peep of protest from them since. Meanwhile, their Cassandra warnings going unheard, Ukraine has suffered in excess of 300,000 combat deaths.
Cut from the same cloth as Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson talks passionately about humanism and labor rights. Surely, she is against war with Russia, right? No, she’s in favor of continued war in Ukraine. Bernie Sanders, once a firebrand taking on the establishment and promising a new day either says nothing about the war or gives a thumbs up to whatever Biden approves.
Sanders was broken by the corrupt Democratic Party primary system that coalesced to stop his 2020 presidential campaign. Biden’s other challenger from the left, Robert Kennedy Jr., is likely going to meet the same fate. Kennedy does take an anti-war position. He acknowledges that the conflict in Ukraine was not instigated by Russia but began in 2014 and was brought on by regime change orchestrated by NATO. Kennedy is against the United States maintaining 700 military bases around the world. He points out that involvement in Ukraine already costs trillions when inflation is factored in and will cost trillions more if a peace settlement is not reached. Robert Kennedy is an actual peace candidate, and that is why he will never be allowed anywhere near the White House.
Joe Biden will not debate Robert Kennedy. The left-leaning media will spend months attacking Robert Kennedy. There is a constant stream of negative stories about him. Social media platforms like YouTube have already censored Kennedy and pulled down content where he speaks on an issue they view as “disinformation”. Billionaire tech donors will flood the Biden campaign with money. The entire bureaucratic apparatus of the Democratic Party will work against Kennedy. Voters will be told that a vote for Kennedy is a vote against democracy. Before this is over, if Kennedy is within sniffing distance of Biden in polling, Kennedy will be called a Nazi. This is coordinated election interference designed to prevent Americans from voting for a candidate that does not support continuing the war.
Republican Presidential Candidates
The Republican Party is involved in a non-violent internal Civil War. Corporate globalists like Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, and Tim Scott all want a return to Bush Era Republicanism. Tax breaks for the rich, more money from corporate donors, and putting men like Mike Pompeo, Dick Cheney, and John Bolton in charge of foreign policy. In other words, they are all advocates of NeoCon wars of empire and regime change.
Fortunately, for America, the Republican base is the only anti-war voice currently in the Republic and the Republican base wants nothing to do with a return to Willard Romney and Mitch McConnell politics. Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson have provided the red pill to too many people. Globalism has wrecked too many lives in the heartland. These voters want nothing to do with Nikki Haley telling them Ukraine must be supported whatever the cost. Why, the People ask? They’ve been lied to too many times. Ukraine is all downside for them.
The two front runners for the GOP nomination understand this. Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both have spoken out against American involvement in Ukraine. Currently, 44% of Republicans and Independents think the United States is too involved with Ukraine. That’s a meteoric rise from the 9% that felt this way back in March of 2022. It’s difficult to see a path through the Republican primary for a candidate that supports endless war or “whatever it takes” for Ukraine.
DeSantis first commented on Ukraine dismissing the conflict as a “territorial dispute”. Less than a week later he reversed his position and seemed to endorse the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a war criminal. And while he’s made it clear that he doesn’t view Ukraine as one of the United States’ vital national interests, his position is either nuanced on Ukraine if you look at him favorably, or flip-flopping if one doesn’t. DeSantis is a smooth, polished politician who, like Kevin McCarthy when he promised he would defund Ukraine if given control of the House (he hasn’t), seems to be malleable to the Washington D.C. donor class and the military-industrial complex that pays for the wealthy suburbs around it. Ron DeSantis, at this time, doesn’t look like a person who will put up much resistance to the flow of money and weapons to Kiev. He’ll be forced to take a substantially more concrete position in the Republican Primary debates where this issue will come up.
Former president Donald Trump has no such ambiguity. He has increasingly spoken out against the war, railing against the waste of US resources in a conflict we have no business being involved in. His statements echo those of candidate Trump back in 2016 during a debate when he shouted at Jeb Bush “We never had any business being in Iraq, they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and you knew it.” During his CNN Townhall Trump refused to call Putin a war criminal. He boasted that he would end the war in 24 hours and while gotcha journalists snickered at his remarks there is some truth in his declaration. A reelected President Trump could cut all US funding and aid to Ukraine. That would effectively end the war as Ukraine has no functioning economy or military logistical chain without US backing. Cutting off American tax dollars would force Ukraine to accept whatever peace terms Russia imposed. Considering Trump has a working relationship with Putin, he likely could broker a better deal for Ukraine than Biden could ever get.
NeoCon Election Interference
Trump has always represented the greatest danger to the NeoCon agenda. He is unpredictable, doesn’t believe in their dogma, and, at his core, believes in America first. Facing an unprecedented wave of attacks both from within his own administration that he, as a political neophyte, naively staffed with NeoCons chosen by Mitch McConnell and a coordinated assault by the Deep State through the American Intelligence agencies, Trump has been forced to play defense for six years now.
Recent Grand Jury indictments brought by Joe Biden’s Department of Justice against Trump are blatant election interference. These attacks against American democracy are giving a bipartisan varnish when Republican agents like former Attorney General Bill Barr go on news shows and throw knives at their former Commander in Chief. The idea was to weigh Trump down with so much baggage he couldn’t possibly win the Republican nomination. This coordinated effort between the DoJ, the Media, the Biden administration, and the Deep State wants to take the choice out of the hands of American voters. They want no one in office that can stop the United States from marching further down the road to war with Russia.
In Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie JFK, he says, through exposition from Donald Sutherland’s whistleblowing character, that Kennedy was killed by the military because he didn’t want to get involved in Vietnam. Conspiracy Theory? Perhaps. And yet, it sure seems that quite a few of the so-called conspiracy theories have lately proven to be accurate depictions of what is happening.
There are powerful elements within the United States government that keep forcing the nation into wars. Whether we call them the Swamp, BlackRock, the Cigarette Smoking Man, or the Deep State it is increasingly clear that Americans have no way to reverse or impede their policies. Joe Biden is not going to debate Robert Kennedy over the war in Ukraine. If Trump survives the myriad of politically motivated legal charges and makes it to a debate stage with Biden, the current President will mumble something about Ukraine…democracy…Russian collusion during the one time the high-profile media moderators ask them about the conflict. If 2020 was a media-rigged election, 2024 will be ten times worse. Voters will not be given the chance to say yes, I want to fight a war with Russia or no, I do not want to fight a war with Russia. This is the most important question facing the country, it is not some existential threat like climate change that could happen someday, it is not some academic idea like critical race theory, this is a clear and present danger to the future of our nation. And we don’t get to vote on it.
Mutual assured destruction refers to the concept that powerful nations, originally the United States and the Soviet Union, are capable of annihilating each other with nuclear weapons, regardless of whether they are attacked first. This made nuclear warfare a lose-lose proposition. As the regional conflict in Ukraine escalated into a war between NATO and Russia, both sides began speaking in terms of strategic ambiguity about the use of nuclear weapons. Posturing positions? Maybe. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that neither the U.S. nor Russia fully believes in mutually assured destruction anymore making conflict between the nations ever more likely. If Washington continues down its current course direct war is inevitable. We, as American citizens, have no vote on this. We are being led into a third, and final World War, without representation. The King is dead, long live the King.