Howard Dean is a fairly vocal supporter of the Libyan intervention:
“It’s very smart. You don’t put boots on the ground. You don’t commit trillions of dollars to a war in Iraq,” he said. “You do it with the other tools that we have that frankly work much better over the long term because you don’t get a lot of public resistance — drones, special operations forces, use of intelligence agencies. That’s exactly what he did.”
I think Larison gets it about right:
As Scott Lemieux remarks, Dean was a Democratic “centrist” by reputation before he became the unlikely tribune of progressive antiwar sentiment. When he was still a presidential candidate, Dean made a point of saying that the real problem with invading Iraq was that the administration had ignored the “greater” threats from Iran and North Korea. Dean happened to oppose the Iraq war, but this was partly a matter of taking advantage of a political opening in a field dominated by pro-war candidates. Very much like Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war, it was an isolated judgment that seems to have nothing in common with the rest of his foreign policy thinking. When trying to understand the weaknesses and limits of the antiwar movement in America, a good place to start is the frequent habit it has of endorsing and backing candidates who happen to be aligned with that movement on one issue almost by accident.
The only real anti-war candidate in either party is Ron Paul. The rest are either gagging to drop freedom bombs everywhere, or they’re foreign policy pragmatists who are going to endorse intervention when they can get away with it politically (which is essentially what Dean is saying in that first quote). I think there’s a place in the Democratic party for a candidate with a tougher antiwar stance, based in part on a pragmatic argument about cost. Since the opposition paints every Democrat as a wimp for even expressing the possibility that some wars are stupid, I doubt that someone with a bit stronger antiwar stance would have a tougher time than Obama or Dean. But it’s important to remember that Obama and Dean’s opposition to the Iraq War was mainly because that venture was remarkably stupid, not because they are anti-interventionists. They aren’t.