The Democrat's Warhawk
Republican candidates are trying to one-up each other in the game of "Who can be the bigger Warhawk".
Lindsey Graham wants to invade Syria. Donald Trump wants to invade Mexico. Marco Rubio wants to invade almost everyone.
With all this chest-thumping, arm-chair machismo it's easy to forget that it isn't just Republicans that are eager to bomb third world nations.
It took a while, but unlike 2004 Hillary Clinton finally regrets her vote to invade Iraq in 2003.
Some won't forgive her so easily and some will. For me that isn't what matters. What matters is if Hillary Clinton learned anything from that mistake?
It wasn't apparent in 2008 when Hillary promised to "totally obliterate" Iran if they attacked Israel.
There are 77 million people in Iran. Threatening to kill tens of millions of people is not helpful or moral.
Even candidate Obama had to back off of using such incendiary language.
"One of the things that we've seen over the last several years is a bunch of talk using words like 'obliterate,'" Obama, an Illinois senator, said in a separate ABC interview. "It doesn't actually produce good results. And so I'm not interested in saber rattling."
Hillary had not learned that lesson by 2008. How about after she became Secretary of State?
Her first crisis was the Honduras Coup in 2009. I'll let Hillary tell it like it was.
“In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico,” Clinton writes. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
That's a very different story than the official one, which involved trying to restore a democratically elected leader to power after a military coup. Hillary used back-channel connections to negotiate keeping Zelaya out of power while appearing to do otherwise.
Latin American leaders, the United Nations General Assembly and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office. Clinton’s defiant and anti-democratic stance spurred a downward slide in U.S. relations with several Latin American countries, which has continued.
So what sort of fall-out happened from our backing of the military coup? Human rights violations "sky-rocketed" and there are currently tens of thousands of protesters in the streets demanding the government step down.
Another big crisis during Hillary's SoS term was Libya, and she had her fingerprints all over that.
By March 15, when Clinton spoke with Obama by phone to brief him on the meetings, she had become a “strong advocate” for U.S. intervention, one administration official said. The president, who had been weighing arguments from a sharply divided Cabinet for several days, sided with his secretary of state. ....
Clinton, in an interview, acknowledged “periods of anguish and buyer’s remorse” during the seven months of the campaign. But, she said, “we set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interests in the region.”
Hillary's emails shows she advocated for supplying weapons and military training to rebel forces, some of whom were al-Qaeda and affiliated with the Islamic militants who later assaulted the U.S. compound in Benghazi.
Today the Libya war advocates are quiet. On the same pages of the NY Times where we were recently heroes a different message is printed: “Libya is falling apart. Politically, financially, the economic situation is disastrous.”
Libya is now in a state of complete collapse. Conditions have deteriorated to the point that “hardly any Libyan can live a normal life."
At the U.N. the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said there were indications of war crimes being committed in Libya.
Amnesty International calls the conditions there 'Rule of the Gun'.
Weapons looted in the post-war chaos wound up in the hands of Boko Haram, which then committed all sorts of atrocities.
What I really want to talk about is Syria.
Last year Hillary pointed the finger of blame for the disaster in Syria at Obama.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.
While that sounds a lot like the Republican take on things, it's quite a bit different from what Hillary said in early 2012.
Supposedly, Hillary changed her opinion sometime between February 2012 and when she left the administration a year later. During that one year window, the NY Times reported this.
Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
“The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” said one American official familiar with the outlines of those findings, commenting on an operation that in American eyes has increasingly gone awry.
The same month that the NY times article came out, and about the same time that ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered, the United States began shipping the weapon stockpiles from Libya to Syria, despite knowing that we were arming jihadists.
As early as August 12, 2012 a classified Defense Intelligence Agency Information Intelligence Report described the situation on the ground in Syria in no uncertain terms. “The salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS and the Islamic State] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
If our objective was to get rid of these jihadists then why did we go about doing the exact opposite?
Section 8.C. of the report astonishingly predicts that “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime. . . .”
The “supporting powers” are identified as “Western countries the Gulf States and Turkey”.
In 2007 Seymour Hersh wrote The Redirection. He described how we had been working to undermine the Assad regime since Bush was still president.
Back in 2004, President Bush was given $500 million by Congress to "arm friendly militias" in the middle east.
Ten years later President Obama asked Congress for another $500 million to "train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition."
What kind of "moderates" are we talking about? In September 2013 Obama made an interesting executive order.
President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
We had been arming terrorists in the middle east since 2004, and Obama clearly intended to take it to the next level.
The current budget for the CIA program to train and arm Syria rebels is nearly $1 Billion, the agency's largest covert program.
In the end, Hillary's foreign policy record won't help or hurt her election chances. Americans of all colors and genders are very comfortable with the idea of bombing third world nations. We are more than tolerant of thousands of innocent civilians dying from our bombs. We only ask that our military doesn't intentionally target women and children. That is the only standard and it isn't very hard to meet it.
By every available metric we are losing this racist War on Terror, but American support for the endless conflict is the highest in years.
As recently as 2008 the Democratic Party appeared to be an anti-war party, but it was all partisan posturing. What is now extremist positions on terrorism was, during the Bush years, mainstream party orthodoxy.
Like Hillary and the Republican candidates, the Democratic voters learn and forget the lessons of the war based entirely on election results.