Home | About | Donate

Clinton, Sanders and the National Security Credo


Clinton, Sanders and the National Security Credo

William Grover, Joseph Peschek

Responses to the November 13 terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Paris from U.S. political leaders and the mainstream news media have been predictably bellicose. Unfortunately they serve to reinforce commitment to a self-undermining, 14-year long war on terror that has no terminus in sight. CIA Director John Brennan called for an end to “hand-wringing” about government spying programs, while Rep.


I agree that foreign policy is Sanders' Achilles Heel, but I also understand his need to walk the fence on the issue. On one side of the fence is the Democratic party - and he is running as a Democrat - and that is a party that does indeed subscribe to the credo of a militant presidency and endless war. On the other side of the fence is the liberal and progressive bloc that supports his domestic policies, but it is largely opposed to war.

Based on his track record, I believe he would at least be a moderating influence on the rampant militarism that rules Washington, but, in his own words, "I am not a pacifist" does little to encourage me that he would bring a significant changes to our current policy of war and empire building. Still, he is far preferable to HRC or any of the Republican thugs on that score.


"Her connection to the Libya intervention is usually discussed in terms of the 2012 attack on the Benghazi diplomatic mission, but more significant is that the U.S. backed overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in 2011—described triumphantly by Clinton as “we came, we saw, he died”—has had catastrophic consequences in deepening instability and facilitating the growth and operation of terrorist networks in Libya and the region, an outcome that neoconservatives and liberal interventionists alike prefer to ignore."

To believe the "liberal interventionists" oxymoron, one would have to believe that Hillary and other conservatives and neoliberals that today comprise most of the Democratic Party are liberals.


Another who thinks that the damning with faint praise is almost honesty. Moreover aside from promoting a book about Clinton and Obama... He throws in a few snide criticisms about Sanders as if Sanders had already won the nomination.
Progressives should take a good look at why the left never wins.

Divided we get conquered, it is almost like a given!
Sanders isn't perfect this article says... That is why this author makes it easier for the left to end up with Clinton?

How many times will we hear that song and dance? For example, the author characterizes Sanders wanting to reduce our role in the Middle East and have those countries do it instead as if Sanders is advocating Saudi military control.
Yet he doesn't mention Clinton's unquestioned support and funding via arms sales of Saudi military dominance.

They trash Sanders and say they don't support Clinton but it is a backstabbing underhanded way of doing things that undermines Sanders before the nomination but will continue the pretense of criticizing the dems later. Is he saying that he isnt pro Clinton even though he is undermining Sanders?

How many times will we hear that before this is all over. It is the dems way of saying the meme - Sanders is unlikely to win... just a bit less openly and a bit more dishonestly.


The only time the word pacifism appears in the article or comments is your comment. It's sort of a straw man argument to suggest that someone wants US policy to be total non-violence but that such a policy is not workable.

Terminology attempts to describe beliefs and situations; the beliefs and situations themselves have no obligation to neatly fit under any particular terminology. IOW, if ever attacked, the US reaction might well utitlize both violence and diplomacy, whether or not there's a term for that combination.

Obviously, the US would attempt to defend itself if ever attacked. The term defense has, of course, been grossly misused for many decades by the MIC to justify its worldwide offenses.

I think we have to dig deeper. It's not about being a Socialist, Pacifist, Liberal, or whatever - it's about our personal values. Is it 'America First' or do we care about all the people in the world? Blind loyalty and war game strategies belong in professional sports, or better, don't belong at all.


Sanders' voting for almost all military appropriations, the vast majority of which are OFFense, not defense- is support for mass murder.
And supporting bloody coups and wars-for-privatization around the world is not a MISTAKE, but a CRIME.
I am not "setting the bar too high". Excuse makers for Sanders and other "Democrats" are LOWERING THE BAR INTO THE RIVER OF BLOOD THAT IS OUR FOREIGN POLICY.
And "We just don't have the money." (-Obama, when asked about re-starting the WPA and CCC jobs programs). That excuse will continue to be sounded when Trillions are "needed" for wars, coups, intrigue, and repression- when people in this country demand that their basic needs be met.
Sanders is no Dr. King. You can make the excuse that he doesn't want to be killed. Neither do I, but I have put myself in some hairy situations to oppose this empire. And the people of Ukraine don't want to be killed. Same with Libya, Venezuela, Honduras, Yemen, Syria, Africa, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, ad nauseum...The issue of imperial mass-murder isn't an elephant in the room; it's a blood drenched Brontosaurus, and seems almost as old. When I was a kid learning about WWII, people asked why the German people didn't stop the Nazis. I think I see why now. It just didn't seem "practical" to join the resistance.
Better to take care of things at home, and hope the "leaders" do the right thing.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


We are told that we go to war to protect "America's Interests" which just happen to align fully with the interests of our largest corporations. The only way we will ever get out of the eternal war mode is to take control of the government away from the corporations and give it back (?) to the people. It will be a long struggle, but there is no hope unless we start that struggle. Electing Bernie is one part of that struggle, whereas electing Hillary or a Rethuglican is admitting defeat and giving up.


When you attack Sanders you're attacking our best chance for a reversal of America's bellicose foreign policy.

So congrats on undermining everything you claim to believe.


I agree that Sanders needs to take on the military-industrial complex/neocon nexus that drives U.S. foreign policy.

He already has an excellent record on Veteran's issues. He needs to build on that, showing what our overseas adventurism costs those we send to enforce it. He needs to talk about Vets not getting proper treatment, Vets getting delayed treatment, Vets on the streets.

Then he needs to expand on that. He needs to show what it's costing us. The bridges that aren't being repaired because we're using the money to buy drones and bombs. The schools that are falling apart because the money is going overseas. The jobs that aren't being created because money is funding wars instead of benefitting people in the U.S.

He needs to show where our taxes are going and how U.S. attacks overseas are also an attack on the poor and middle-class here.

And once he's shown that he needs to show the impact on innocent civilians overseas. The deaths and suffering. The refugees fleeing areas destabilized by the U.S. military's regime changes - and how those attacks were responsible for the rise of ISIS. How our unwavering support for Israel and their treatment of Palestinians has been part of what drives regional hatred of the U.S.

I know some say Bernie should avoid this. They think it's too big an issue to take on. They think the Republicans and the MIC will crucify Bernie if he takes on the real third-rail of American politics.

They think Americans are too stupid to follow along if Bernie connects the dots between the impoverishment of the middle class and military expenditures. They think Americans can't understand how neocon driven foreign policy is driving terrorism.

I disagree.

It needs to be said.


I suppose given your argument, that your take on honesty is very different from the author's.

I'll go with the author's.


"Sanders' Achilles Heel"


And stop quoting something you read on a blog.

Is Sanders urging a rush to war, has he ever? No.

Is Hillary Clinton pushing more useless wars? Yes.

What if the US does pull all the troops out of Afghanistan, do you think there wouldn't be a blood bath?

Get this into your head, of major party candidates, Sanders, and O'Malley, are much stronger on foreign policy.

HRC is a dangerous and foolish person, who can't even seem to note that Bill was not one who jumped into any and every war that presented itself.

Is Sanders perfect? No. But "Sanders' Achilles Heel" is bull dung.


Which bloody coup did Sanders support?


Yep, it's a false equivalence between Clinton and Sanders.

Sanders isn't perfect, and that, to these two guys, means he's just as bad as the jingoist (not too strong) HR Clinton.

Hillary can't even learn to emulate Bill here. Frankly this is a sign of a lack of basic intelligence.


It really seems to me that professional progressive pundits and authors (not all) are attempting to play the mainstream media game too much and end up not supporting the most progressive candidate that
they will probably vote for themselves (given the alternatives).
Why is that?

Why this attempt at perfectionist uber neutrality as if they have no stake in the outcome and meanwhile they pretend to having progressive credentials?

I guess no one is progressive enough for professional progressives?

Meanwhile progressives are not being supported by other progressives.


And in 2011, Bernie Sanders publicly said that involvement in Libya was unwise and that protecting "good rebels" in Benghazi was ill advised (oh the irony) given that the US knew nothing about them. (Gaddafi had warned that they were Sunni extremists. And yes Gaddafi had fought some of them in the 1990s, no he was not benevolent in putting down that rebellion.)

And yet this essay makes a false equivalence between Sanders and HRC on US military adventurism.

I'm surprised Common Dreams posted this. It's the kind of thing Salon.com would post. Or even the Nation.


The 2016 primary and general election, for the Democratic Party, will be decided at the kitchen tables of America and not in the MENA. That said, the Sander's campaign should tie the decline of the economy and the MIC's global warmongering, together. I think most people who'll vote pretty much understand Military Keynesian is disguised and discredited, " trickle down economics ". And, so is Hillary's triangulated monster mislabeled " guns and butter economics ". They generally get the only way to build an economy that works for all; is to end the massive militarization of the economy that only works for stockholders, the politically connected, weapons makers and investment banks. Our climate, real job and income security and quality of life; the essential livability issues which stop us from slitting our neighbor's throats, demand no less. We really can't have it both ways, anymore. And, it's only going to get worse for the 99s if we don't, too. Saving some of us is going to become a full time job around the globe. Bernie has 7 grandchildren and he knows all this and more, as well. So, we shall see, eh? So it goes...


I also noticed that it's amazing how many demand of Sanders sacrifices that they would not themselves make. It's amazing how they would volunteer him for the slaughter as all the while they'd insist it was their right to demand as much.


You just outlined the wisest, most sensitive & strategic way for a serious candidate to open discussion on the sacred cow that unchecked militarism has become in our society, post 1963--assassination of JFK coup.



To me it reads as just another attack on Sanders from the left.

This time it's "He's nearly as bad as Hillary Clinton".

There have been others, the World Socialist Website every time they mention Sanders they trash him, and they do that every 3 days. They don't like Clinton, but barely mention her.

The NYTimes a couple of days ago: Sanders as mayor of Burlington wouldn't let protestors shut down a GE Gatling factory--it's a kind of machine gun many times mounted on military helicopters. But at least the Times credits Sanders with keeping the union workers employed.

Any time people bring up Sanders supporting Bill Clinton's air war in Yugoslavia, it's as if that war just started one April, and in May Bill Clinton was rushing off to engage US forces.