Obama, McCain, America, And War

Larison on the anti-war vote:

As I have said before, arguments over Vietnam, like arguments over Iraq, are not simply arguments over a military campaign overseas.  If they were, cost-benefit analysis and simple pragmatism would offer the obvious course of action: get out and get out now.  National polling shows that two-thirds of the country want us out within two years, but this obscures the fact that disapproving of the war does not mean that all the current opponents of the war embrace a thoroughgoing antiwar narrative; many of them certainly would not share my characterisations of the war as immoral and illegal.  So, instead of being arguments about policy, they are arguments about “values” and American identity.  Simply put, the party that has tended to be antiwar during the last 36 years has also been the party on the losing side of these other arguments, even when they have been right on the policy question, and so they have lost time after time in presidential elections where these arguments are most powerful.  An Obama-McCain contest will be an almost perfect test of this proposition.