A few days ago, President Biden ordered a drone strike in the nation of Syria. As soon as it happened, the anti-war left came in full spring denouncing this as an act of imperialism against Bashar al-Assad, as well as evidence that Biden is a war criminal fighting for neo-liberal foreign policy.
Mind you, the strikes were not against Assad, but against a small militia backed by Iran — a nation which Biden is trying to make peace with through reinstating the Iran Nuclear Deal President Obama came up with. If Biden really plans to take out Assad, you’d think he would have done so — or at least did a better job pushing for it — during the Obama Administration, especially considering many were basically begging him and Obama to during the first several years of the Syrian Civil War.
It should also be noted that the Iranian-backed militia Biden bombed was only a target because it previously attacked US troops stationed in Iraq. Of course, those on the anti-war right cannot admit that we have troops in any foreign nation, because doing so would mean admitting Donald Trump failed at his job as an anti-war president. Despite the massive evidence to the contrary (the President had nearly brought us to war with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and spent the second half of his term pushing for a war with China) many on the right label Trump as a dove, and some of the left have even gone along.
Since the start of Biden’s campaigns, attempts to smear Biden as a war-hawk have been rampant in the media. The Bernie Sanders campaign constantly attacked him for voting for the second Iraq War (oddly, the fact that he voted against the first Iraq War back in the 1990s was never brought up) and Donald Trump’s campaign quickly joined along. Despite the fact that Donald Trump had increased drone strikes more than any other President and increased troop levels in both Iraq and Afghanistan, all of a sudden Trump was an anti-intervention President, and Joe Biden would not be. (Oh, but Joe Biden would also stop Donald Trump’s planned war with China — but that’s a good thing so that doesn’t count.)
Of course, that was all nonsense, but the anti-war left helped feed into their narrative. Rather it was the claims about Iraq, the simplification of what happened in Libya, or downright lies about Biden’s actions in Ukraine — much of the left was willing to go along with the right while they smeared Biden on foreign policy.
This Syria strike is no exception. (Funny how we’re all forgetting that Trump did a similar Syria strike — which was actually targetted against Assad — four years ago.) Some have even labeled Biden a “war criminal,” although none of these people can actually name what law of war Biden broke. The left, of course, has been doing this for years, Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski even once called Bill Kristol — who, for those unaware, is a writer — a war criminal because he agreed with what Bush did in Iraq.
During all this time, few on the anti-war left have actually made the point that needs to be made — while Biden was justified in his actions, he should not have needed to do them. Because, to put it simply, there should be no United States troops in Iraq in the first place for Iranian militias to fire at. But no, instead we get a conversation about how this is part of a neo-liberal plot to take out Assad or something — because that’s the discourse we deserve.
For the record, I am also extremely anti-war. Hence why my issue with Biden’s strike was not that it was wrong, but that it wasn’t. We need to get our troops out of Iraq in large part because not doing so is putting them in unnecessary danger. However, just pretending anything and everything is a “war crime” or lying about why a strike happens is not making things better, it’s making things worse.