Monday, February 15, 2016

237.4 - Bernie Sanders, just like Hillary Clinton, is more hawkish than people think

Bernie Sanders, just like Hillary Clinton, is more hawkish than people think

More hawkish than you think
Okay, speaking of the military budget, I have to go back to something I said last week because I have to give it a fuller context.

Last week, I listed among my criticisms of Hillary Clinton that she is more hawkish that most people seem to realize. What needs to be added here is that the same is true of Bernie Sanders. He's not as hawkish as she is, but the difference is much less than a lot of his supporters seem to think.

Both of them support the bombing in Syria; both of them support keeping several thousand US troops in Afghanistan until at least 2018; both of them support the drone program that has killed far more innocent civilians than it has suspected "terrorists."

And Sanders has been every bit as syncophantic about Israel as Clinton has and that's saying something, including having supported the 2014 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that lead Human Rights Watch to accuse Israel of war crimes.

Yes, he voted against the Iraq war and yes he was opposed to US military action in Libya and yes he is less hawkish than she is about Syria. But overall it has to be said that there is not what you could call a significant difference between them on present US wars.

In fact, here is a way they might draw a difference between them that doesn't depend on sound bytes or rehearsed slogans.

The Obama administration is drawing up plans for a new military intervention in Libya. Which makes sense, of course, because the first one, which we were told was about protecting civilians but was in reality about getting rid of Muammar Kaddafi, went so well, what with Libya descending into the chaos of a multi-sided civil war from which it has not emerged.

Oh, but it's different this time! This time it's about opening a third front in the fight against ISIS! And taking "decisive military action" against some groups in Libya claiming the name!

It's being planned without any debate in Congress, without any remotely plausible claims of lawful authority, without regard to the fact that it was Barack Obama himself who said in 2007 that "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," and without, it seems, any consideration of how similar "decisive actions" have lead only to deepening US military involvement in Syria and Iraq, with "boots on the ground" in both places playing an increasingly hands-on role.

What could go wrong?

I'm sure this will come up sometime, somehow, in the primaries. See what Clinton says. See what Sanders says. And see how much, if any, daylight you can see between them.

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