View Full Version : The last of the antiwar Republicans (Jimmy Duncan tribute)

William Tell
08-07-2017, 07:23 AM
The last of the antiwar Republicans (Jimmy Duncan tribute)

W. James Antle III
When the next Congress convenes in January 2019, there won't be a single Republican member who voted against the Iraq war, thanks to Rep. John "Jimmy" Duncan (R-Tenn.) announcing that he will not seek re-election. (http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/tennessee-john-duncan-2018)

Duncan's retirement is sad news that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. The reliably conservative Duncan has quietly pushed back against a bipartisan foreign-policy consensus that has kept America mired in apparently unwinnable wars for nearly 17 years.

Duncan isn't alone as an antiwar Republican voice in Congress. After a short-lived "freedom fries" crusade, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) became a passionate opponent of the Iraq war and similar interventions. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), meanwhile, are prominent libertarians who are as skeptical of war as they are of welfare.

But Duncan was one of just seven Republicans in either house of Congress who voted against the original authorization of the use of military force in Iraq, at a time when half the Democrats in the Senate (including Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden) were voting for war.

Four of those Republicans Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, Rep. Connie Morella of Maryland, and Rep. Amo Houghton of New York were among the most liberal remaining GOP lawmakers at the time of the vote in 2002. That left Duncan among three conservative Republicans, alongside Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, to vote against the war at a time when many argued that support for President George W. Bush's foreign policy was the very definition of conservatism.

The elder Paul later drew attention to an alternate libertarian-conservative take on foreign policy through his two Republican presidential bids in 2008 and 2012, spawning a small army of admirers and imitators who believe in constitutionally limited government and don't consider the Pentagon an honorary member of the private sector. But Duncan has largely remained an unsung hero.

Duncan is no pacifist. He followed most Republicans in voting for our first war in Iraq, Operation Desert Storm. And like every other Republican, he voted to retaliate against those who aided and harbored the murderers who attacked America on 9/11, though he hasn't been on board with the bipartisan commitment to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely.

So why did he vote against the Iraq war in 2002?

"I supported the first Gulf War because I went to all those briefings and heard Colin Powell and all of them say that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the entire Middle East," he told (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/volunteer-statesman/) The American Conservative in 2005. "I saw his troops surrendering to CNN camera crews and I became convinced that the threat had been greatly exaggerated."

As George W. Bush famously said: "Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me you can't get fooled again."


Duncan wasn't fooled again. The second time Saddam Hussein was presented as an international menace who could only be dealt with through immediate military action, this time without committing an act of aggression first and with regime change as the explicit goal, he voted no.

Since then, Duncan has also opposed President Obama's "kinetic military action" in Libya, which like the Iraq war toppled a dictator but led to chaos afterward and ended up leaving Islamic radicals who threaten America and its allies with more power, not less. He has voted to withdraw from Afghanistan.

"There's nothing fiscally conservative about this war, and I think conservatives should be the people most horrified by this war," he said (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/17/house-rejects-resolution-to-pull-u-s-forces-from-afghanistan/) at the time. "We turned the Department of Defense into the department of foreign aid."

Duncan's views recently seemed to be ascendant in the Republican Party. In last year's primaries, voters rejected hawkish candidates like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham in favor of Donald Trump, a man who criticized the Iraq war in conservative, military-heavy South Carolina in terms that nearly got Ron Paul tossed off the debate stage less than a decade before. continue http://theweek.com/articles/716496/last-antiwar-republicans

08-07-2017, 07:32 AM
Beat me by 6 minutes...:p

I'll ask to get mine deleted or merged. Not sure what merging will accomplish though.

08-08-2017, 11:55 AM
Too bad we have to lose anyone with a lick of sense while all the $hit bags seem to hang on indefinitely.

08-08-2017, 12:08 PM
I hope the good folks of East Tennessee will vote for someone with as much sense as Duncan. His presence will be felt, for sure.

08-08-2017, 08:55 PM
I don't remember Desert Storm, but my inherited memory and textbooks (I attended 6-12 in a librul school district) contended it was one of those "good wars." Throughout the 90's, our sanctions, bombings, and missile strikes on Iraq exasperated their economic collapse. Millions starved and became diseased as a result, but I guess Clinton's p3nis jousts were more important. Finally, the eve of our reoccupation, Saddam sent the UN internal reports on Iraq's WMD, but all pages pertaining to procurement had been redacted by the CIA. I don't remember hearing that from the Hill or the press.


Another great documentary was Saddam Hussein: The Truth, charting Saddam's long history with America, beginning in 1950's Egypt, when he allegedly became a Baathist asset for the CIA. Anyway, what's compounding a deficit of muckrakers and statesmen, are the population of Icarian, self-felatiating bonobo in our country incapable of skeptical, critical thought. Its a damn shame voters have short memories and the attention span of gnats, because if we weren't stranded in the present, the past could actually teach us something. May congressman Duncan's example of nonintervention mature very soon.