Exhibit A.

  1. This question begins with an extremely strong claim: "since the start of the 20th century, the US has stepped in or started conflicts involving the direct use of military force mainly under presidents from the Democratic Party" - yet, there is no source presented for said claim. The lack of a source also prevents this claim from being quickly dismissed as lacking authority - consider how differently one would approach that question if it stated its claim was original work from its author.
  2. The statistics presented to back up the aforementioned claim are partial at best, and cherry-picked and intentionally misleading at worst - in this case the obvious omission of both the two Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts. Yes, these conflicts are noted - but separately, below the provided partial data, and effectively as a single conflict rather than three.
  3. Continuing from the previous point, the partial statistics presented in the question immediately invite the reader to conclude that the answer to the question asked, namely "Is it true that the US has stepped into foreign conflicts mostly under Democratic presidents?" is "yes". This further invites to the reader to correlate the provided (partial) facts to conclude that the United States is more likely to go to war when lead by a Democratic president, implying that Democratic presidents are more likely to cause the United States to go to war.
  4. Regardless of all of the above, the political affiliation of American presidents with respect to their supposed warmongering, or lack thereof, is irrelevant as the Democratic and Republican parties have swung between majority liberal and conservative policies multiple times in their existences. Using "Democratic" or "Republican" in a historical context is thus meaningless, especially when attempting to correlate data. (This is to say nothing of geopolitical concerns, which muddy the waters even further.)

In short, not only is this question potentially misleading, it is also meaningless (as are any answers). As such, it provides no value and thus, in my opinion, should be closed.

More broadly, I believe that any and all questions posted to politics.se that make a claim(s), but fail to source said claim(s), should be immediately closed. A claim that is not sourced is a claim that cannot be verified, which invites discussion about the claim and its veracity as opposed to answers to the question posed - the former is a poor fit for the Stack Exchange Q&A format.

Particularly in an election year, particularly considering the partisanship in the United States at this time, I contend that the causative relationship it invites readers to draw is harmful and thus even more of a reason why the question should be closed. Especially since it's now showing up in Hot Network Questions.

  • 1
    This question is ignoring a few things. First, it is ignoring the reason for the actions which should be more important than what party the president is. Second, it is ignoring that congress has to approve all wars. Third, it is ignoring the fact that the US has not actually declared war since the 1940s. senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:41
  • 2
    @JoeW Those are all additional, important concerns that bring the validity of that question even further into doubt - but I didn't want to bloat this Meta question too much.
    – Ian Kemp
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:42
  • Part of the reason I mention them is I brought them up in an answer and I am receiving downvotes because I didn't answer the question exactly as asked.
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:46
  • 3
    Don't want to say this, but I would like to know if StackExchange is being targeted by a disinformation campaign.
    – Allure
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 14:31
  • @Allure - that is something that I am also concerned about, but did not want to bring up explicitly as I fear it would lead to this question being shut down as scaremongering or somesuch.
    – Ian Kemp
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 15:09
  • 2
    @IanKemp A note on the Hot Network Question issue: moderators can manually remove questions from the HNQ if they don't think they're a good example of the site. If you see a question in HNQ that you don't think belongs there, just flag it for moderator intervention and explain why you think it doesn't belong there.
    – divibisan
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 19:36
  • @divibisan What would be your advice if someone thinks that almost(virtually not a single one should go hot as the damn algo is designed for quick rather than quality? The bad stuff that provokes mainly many fast answers, written with speed rather than research, generalities over analysis, etc? Pretty sure such flagging behaviour wouldn't last long. And the HNQ-stuff usually is bad. Complaints on MetaSE go unheard. (Plus: mod removal means 'gone from hot for good'. Even if improved by edits. Fast-close seems to be the better option now. Can then still go hot – if improved!) Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 23:25
  • @LаngLаngС I'm generally not a fan of HNQ for exactly those reasons. If a question is bad, certainly closing it is the best option. Often, though, I feel like a question isn't bad per se, or I know that closing it isn't going to stick, but I think it's likely to attract partisan, trolling answers. It's those cases where flagging is a good idea, to keep the heat down on it
    – divibisan
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


I have mixed feelings about this because I've been accused of pushing a particular position when I didn't mean to in the past (example; similar experience by someone else). I obviously know what I believe better than anyone else, so for people to say "I think you are pushing this position" when I don't believe it is aggravating.

This question could easily be interpreted the same way. It asks an fairly easily answered yes/no question. However, it is very poor quality for reasons given by Ian Kemp. Now on the one hand point 1 is sort of pedantic since the question could've been written with "My friend said ..." and people probably won't have reacted in this hostile fashion. Assuming the OP is asking an honest question, then starting with "my friend said ..." would effectively be lying + it wouldn't change the substantive question, yet it would cause a different reaction. That makes it seem like it's the reaction that is wrong. Point 2 is also sort of unfair, since as of time of writing the last paragraph is "George Bush and the Iraq War is the only exception I see", which covers both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

That said, what is really concerning about the question is how misleading it is. Optimistically one could say "this lets the answers correct a misconception". More pessimistically, one could also say "this is what disinformation looks like". The latter is especially bad since it's fairly well established that there are foreign agents attempting to interfere in the US presidential election, and if one is attempting to interfere then this question looks suspiciously like something one would write.

I don't know how to do it, but if it's possible, I would check to see if StackExchange is being targeted by a disinformation campaign. If we are not under attack, then I would say keep the question, suitably edited. If we are under attack, then I would outright delete the question.

  • I'm not so sure it is "fairly easily answered yes/no" at all. If the author means wars by the literal "declare war against", then he needs to list all (and only all) declared wars. If he means all conflicts of any type, then he needs to list all (and I mean all) conflicts of any type, OR don't list any wars or conflicts at all and let the people answering come up with lists to match their beliefs. By cherry-picking a list of conflicts the OP, in my opinion, by definition, is pushing their personal agenda.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 16:27
  • @CGCampbell Considering that the US has declared war only 5 times in its history (WW1/WW2 declared war against multiple countries) I think that is a very fair point as pretty much everything else is just extended military conflicts authorized by congress. It should be noted that the 5 official wars are the war of 1818, the mexican american war, the spanish american war, ww1, ww2.
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 16:52
  • 1
    Looking at the reactions to my answer, this question is anything but a simple yes or no question.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 10:45

"stepped in or started conflicts" is a pretty vague yardstick, so I've voted to close based on that. Did Eisenhower [not] "step in" into any foreign conflicts? They might not have been outright wars...

One answer tried to go with the conflict yes/no paradigm of the question. Another chose to shift the frame to how many US victims these conflicts had, which may or may not have been the asker's intent. Either way, this q is pretty silly, and alas part of a recent trend. We had recently a closed (and I think by now deleted) q trying to pin slavery on the US Democratic party etc. This one was only mildly better.

Imagine if we get a similar q for the UK: which UK party is "responsible" for most those of World Wars deaths, etc.

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