Republican 'national security experts' who want endless war support Biden? Good.
The Iraq War boosters behind the "NeverTrump" movement and the liberal journalists who promote them have a new hobby horse: tallying the number of "Republican national security officials" who support Joe Biden.
The narrative these endorsements are intended to convey is that "even Republicans" are beginning to turn on the president over his foreign policy record. The reality is that nearly all these people have always opposed the president — and those who have turned on him more recently have done so precisely because he has kept his promise of instituting a less interventionist American foreign policy.
It astounds me that anyone would find this surprising. Do people not remember that Donald Trump won both the GOP nomination and the presidency by running against the Republican foreign policy establishment while vociferously attacking these architects of endless war? Did they forget that he accused former president George W. Bush of lying about weapons of mass destruction to get America into Iraq? How could they not remember the way rank-and-file Republican voters wrested control of the party from their grasp and made Donald Trump their new standard-bearer?
Perhaps they're just miffed that President Trump has done exactly what he promised: destroy ISIS without starting another endless war and get as many American troops as possible out of the pointless and unnecessary conflicts started by his immediate predecessors.
Of course these people want Joe Biden to be the president, just as they lined up behind George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and other politicians willing to keep the endless train of post–Cold War American interventionism rolling. They were honest about that part. They are creatures of the Washington foreign policy swamp. Their jobs depend on reflexive interventionism, creating a self-perpetuating Deep State within the Deep State. The past success of their mission begat more jobs for "national security experts" and, in turn, more intervention.
Where they are being deceptive is in their motives.
They're not terrified that America's national security will actually be imperiled by four more years of Donald Trump. They are, however, terrified that their legacy and their influence are slipping away. They aren't exactly excited about the prospect of Joe Biden taking the reins, but they do seem to see him as an enfeebled old man who is too tired or too disinterested to look over their shoulders as they meddle and tinker in far-flung corners of the world. The younger among them are also looking forward to securing powerful jobs as appointees in a Biden administration.
Biden is more than welcome to these so-called "Republican" endorsements. This election is about much more than crass partisanship. The support President Trump has received from dozens of retired generals and admirals is an important testament to the steady hand with which he has led the U.S. military to a position of health, respect, and overwhelming strength. But the endorsements we should care about most are the American servicemen and women who are safe at home, rather than needlessly fighting and dying in a foreign war zone, thanks to this president's determination to keep his word.
Whether it's dramatically reducing troop numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan or appointing new ambassadors and Defense Department personnel committed to leading this country beyond the era of American military adventurism and "nation-building" of the past two decades, nearly every decision President Trump makes on national security further antagonizes the "Republican experts" he drove into political obscurity four years ago.
President Trump shouldn't be upset that these people have endorsed his opponent. He should feel honored.
Brett Velicovich is a U.S. Army veteran and author of Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier's Inside Account of the Hunt for America's Most Dangerous Enemies.
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.