By Ron Maxwell
SEE ALSO: The case for Hillary Clinton, by Walter Nicklin.
Hillary Clinton has a public record of words and actions dating back to the presidency of her husband, as senator from New York and as secretary of state. This record is clear and unequivocal.
If you believe that it is the duty and responsibility of the United States to be the policeman of the world, to spread democracy by military force in every corner of the globe, to forcibly remove dictators everywhere, to intervene militarily in foreign civil wars, to take sides between religious sects or deep-seated ethnic feuds, to use the American military to enforce a utopian world order by means of regime change and nation-building, then Clinton is your candidate.
If on the other hand, you believe the U.S. armed forces should be used only in defense of the United States and its national security (including its closest allies), then Donald Trump is your candidate.
In speeches and policy papers Trump has stated he will not use the American military for regime change, nation-building or intervening in foreign civil wars. He is surrounded by foreign policy experts, former government officials and retired military who share this point of view; who collectively have the experience, sophistication and know-how to back it up. Altogether it’s a return to a realistic foreign policy which puts America first. Historians and analysts call it “RealPolitik.”
Clinton, on the other hand, is surrounded by nearly the entire NeoCon war-making establishment — the very same people who got us into the Iraq War and every other unnecessary military conflict of the recent quarter century. These interventionist hard-liners have defected en masse from the Republican Party establishment — and will be in positions of influence in a Clinton administration.
No saber-rattler on Capitol Hill beats her record. She supported Bill Clinton’s wars, most notably the bombing of Serbia in 1999; the coup against the government of Honduras in 2009; the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She advocated and implemented the military intervention in Libya and the overthrow of Gadhafi in 2011; backed the nation-building and prolongation of the war in Afghanistan; instigated the covert actions which evolved into the military coup in Ukraine in 2014; advocated for regime change in Syria; directed the covert policy of transferring lethal arms from Libya to the Syrian “rebels” (the real story behind the Benghazi tragedy); advocated for Congress to fund lethal weapons for Syrian “rebels,” who turned out to be Al Nusra, Al Qaeda and ISIS; pushed for missile strikes in Syria in 2013 and was critical of President Obama when he failed to do so; waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar (all states clever enough to donate to the Clinton Foundation); and supports sophisticated weapons sales to Saudi Arabia for their bombing and military intervention in Yemen.
The death toll to date (excluding the Kosovo War): Libya, 15,000; Syria, 400,000; Ukraine, 10,000; Yemen, 10,000. Even though Clinton supported the Iraq War, the mind-boggling death toll is not listed because it was essentially Bush’s war.
Of course, this doesn’t imply that Clinton is solely responsible for these deaths. President Obama and his cheerleaders in the Senate — notably McCain, Graham, Ayotte, Flake and Corker — must share responsibility. However, without Clinton’s strenuous advocacy pushing for both covert and overt war in each of these cases the civil wars may not have gotten as seriously engaged, or, if they did anyway, might have ended much sooner at a much lesser loss of life.
The way civil wars end is by one side winning. Pouring tons of lethal arms into a civil war or an insurrection does not lessen the bloodshed. It adds to it. In the case of Syria, what was the end game? A victory of jihadists to topple Assad? Yet another failed state? Who designated Syria as the enemy of the United States? Could it be the same cabal that designated Iraq as the enemy of the United States; that is currently demonizing Russia as the enemy of the United States?
It is worth noting as well, that in none of these military conflicts has Congress declared war and with the exception of the Iraq War, not even taken a vote of authorization. In foreign policy, Clinton personifies the consolidation of absolute presidential power, unchecked, detached and unmoored from the Constitution, which unequivocally gives war-making power to Congress.
Trump offers the only off-ramp to this quarter century of unbridled militarism and beltway hubris. If Clinton is president we will have more of the same. She shares the globalist view of America as dominant hegemon and enforcer of world order.
These grossly misguided policies have not made us any safer. In fact, they have destabilized North Africa and the Middle East, wrecked their societies, ruined lives and created a tragic tide of refugees — some of whom may come here to wreak havoc among us.
Perhaps most poignantly for our friends and neighbors these policies have needlessly sacrificed the lives of thousands of our own best and bravest soldiers. We are now faced with the monumental tragedy of tens of thousands of returning veterans in dire need of medical and mental health care, many succumbing to an epidemic of suicide.
Doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of a different result is the definition of insanity. Clinton is seized with the lunatic delusion of “making the world safe for democracy.” In the process, she will put us all in danger.
We have a choice on Nov. 8. We can be obsessed with tweets, vulgarity, our own puffed-up sanctimony and indignation about who kissed whom 30 years ago, or we can get serious about the life and death issues of war and peace.
Flint Hill’s Ron Maxwell is an independent film director and writer best known for his American Civil War epics “Gettysburg,” “Gods and Generals” and “Copperhead.”