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Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, War | 16 comments

Comparing The Candidates On Military Interventionism & Civil Liberties

Sanders Iraq Quagmire

Democrats who ignore principle and support Hillary Clinton, despite her authoritarian right views, which are not far from those of the Republican candidates, generally ignore how far right she is on military intervention and civil liberties. If Clinton wins the nomination, she very likely will be as conservative as the Republican candidate on these issues, and possibly more conservative, which is rather disappointing for those of us who hoped to see the Democratic Party present a clear contrast with the Bush/Cheney era.

I recently looked at Clinton’s conservative record on civil liberties, including her being the only Democrat who refused to sign a pledge to restore Constitutional liberties in the 2008 election, her introduction of legislation to criminalize burning the flag in protest, and  how she falls significantly to the right of Antonin Scalia on civil liberties issues, and sounds shockingly like Donald Trump, the candidate of intolerance and authoritarianism,  in her disregard for freedom of speech. (Reason has a comparison of the views of Clinton and Trump posted today. Neither is acceptable.)

Ted Cruz has been seeking the libertarian vote since Rand Paul left the race. Cruz is mocked by libertarians for sometimes claiming to be a libertarian in the same manner which progressives mock Hillary Clinton for her claims to be a progressive. Both are conservatives, and both are far more authoritarian than libertarian.

Justin Amash, a libertarian-leaning Republican, is supporting Ted Cruz now that Rand Paul is out of the race. While he will never sell libertarians in believing Cruz is one of them, his discussion did suggest areas where Clinton is to the right of Ted Cruz on military interventionism and no better on civil liberties:

On civil liberties and foreign policy, Ted and I don’t always agree. But he was one of only ten Republican senators to stand up for our rights by supporting Rand Paul’s amendment to kill the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015—also known as CISA—a cyberspying bill that violates the privacy of all Americans. And Ted has been a stalwart defender of our Fifth Amendment right to due process, strongly opposing the government’s asserted power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial.

Like me, Ted believes that the United States must be well defended and respected around the globe. He stands with our troops and will not put them in harm’s way unless necessary to protect our country. Unlike some other Republican candidates, Ted opposed intervening in Libya and voted against arming Syrian rebels, and he will not use our Armed Forces to engage in nation building.

The failed intervention in Libya was the low point of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and her position on Syria was a key issue where she differed from both Obama and Sanders. As for CISA, Bernie Sanders was strongly opposed, as he has opposed other legislation which would expand the surveillance state. Hillary Clinton, who is generally quite conservative on matters of government surveillance and censorship, repeatedly refused to answer questions as to her position while the Republican candidates, other than Rand Paul, all supported it. Amash was also overly kind to Cruz. While he might have voted for Rand Paul’s amendment, in the end Cruz voted for the act despite admitting he did not read it. Neither Clinton nor Cruz can be trusted on matters of civil liberties.

With the libertarian case of Cruz falling apart, this leaves us with Bernie Sanders as the only candidate now running who has been consistently opposed to both military interventionism and the surveillance state. While there is a strong case to be made that the risk of perpetual warfare is greater by electing Clinton, Sanders is the only candidate from either party who will prevent the expansion of the surveillance state.

Originally posted at Liberal Values, opposing perpetual warfare and the surveillance state from either political party,

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Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • The “risk of perpetual war” does not appear to need Ms. Clinton’s involvement. China and the USA are imposing new sanctions on N. Korea. Russia has troops in Crimea, Syria and possibly E. Ukraine. Even Australia is starting to rearm! Meanwhile, Europe is crowded with millions of refugees and looking to start imposing harsh (but probably necessary) limits on how many more they will take. Central America is a quagmire of (American trained) drug gangs. Africa is beset by several super-militant gangs that cross multiple national boundaries (Boko Haram, Somalian factions and pirates, and others). Venezuela is looking to possibly have to default on billions of dollars of bonds due to the oil glut. S. Arabia and Iran are conducting proxy wars in at least three regional, separate countries. Libya, Tunisia, Morocco–enough said.

    At which point did you think Ms. Clinton could INCREASE the perpetuation of war?

    • At which point? At each point in which there was a decision as to go to war or not to go to war and Clinton chose military intervention, such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Plus her philosophy of treating the war on terror like the cold war helps ensure that it will never end.

      • Just asking–I happen to be (mostly) on your side here–are you suggesting that Clinton would perpetuate things MORE than some other person in the office? What would be the method of trying to cool things down at this point? Would B. Sanders actually cool things down by breaking trade agreements (that should be broken, btw) or would he increase the tension? If Trump built a wall between the US and Mexico, would that lessen the world tensions–or has he suggested some other way (short of insulting every world leader) that would lessen these tensions?

        In the end, the USA was isolationist in the 1930’s and early 1940’s and that caused much more pain than would likely have occurred if we had insisted that the agressor nations “knock it off or else!” I am not sure how close we are to such a situation today; but the headlines get me wondering.

        • I think that Clinton, based upon her past record, would be more likely to get us involved militarily in more situations, and would perpetuate a cold war like atmosphere.

          The manner in which Bernie handles already existing trade agreements may or many not create tensions with other countries involved. That is far different than initiating military action and regime change.

    • Slamfu

      I’d like to point out that none of the things you listed are actually war, just precursors to it. To answer the question at the very end, I’d say that she could actually start an actual war to increase the perpetuation of war. The world is always a powder keg somewhere. Diplomacy and wise foreign policy is about keeping a match from falling into it.

      • Slamfu

        Sigh, that comment above was in response to Robert’s comment at the very top. I know it’s hard to tell to who you are replying to these days.

  • Bob Munck

    Democrats who ignore principle and support Hillary Clinton

    It would be lovely if the author could stop trying so hard to insult his readers.

    • Bob, The statement is an accurate assessment of the situation. As to insulting my readers, my posts typically will get from several hundred to thousands of Facebook likes (and well over ten times the readership of the posts here) and about half a dozen people objecting. My posts are well in line with the views of my readers.

      However it would be lovely if you dropped your attitude of objecting to anyone you disagree with expressing their opinion, which you have done quite frequently, including on another post in the last few days. You are obviously free to disagree with anyone and anything, but that is not the same as your view that those who disagree with you should be prevented from expressing their viewpoint. Of course that view is in line with what we see coming out of the Clinton camp.

      • Bob Munck

        Bob, The statement is an accurate assessment of the situation.

        No, it’s not. Your writing is clouded by your emotions.

        As to insulting my readers, my posts typically will get from several hundred to thousands of Facebook likes (and well over ten times the readership of the posts here) and about half a dozen people objecting.

        Donald Trump gets millions; does that make him correct or moderate?

        your view that those who disagree with you should be prevented from expressing their viewpoint.

        Where have I said that or anything like that? I simply object to your constant ad hominems. If you don’t realize that that’s what you’re doing, you have a real problem.

        • SteveK

          Thank you Bob.

        • Quite a bit of projection, considering all the ad hominem attacks you engage in as you continue your futile attempt to keep people who you disagree with from expressing their opinions.

    • SteveK

      Wondering where the Koch brothers are spending their money? Could it be they’re passing out small ‘donations’ to those willing to barnstorm with iffy ‘facts’ aimed at pitting on Democrat against the other?

      Splitting the Democratic vote is the only chance the Republicans have and who better to help them try to do this than an ‘insider.’

      • SteveK

        Reply to self in lieu of editor:

        ‘pitting one Democrat against the other?’
        ‘pitting on Democrat against the other?’

      • Koch brothers? I see you are still engaging in your disgusting McCarthyist tacics. I imagine you will next post more lies about what I have written along with some more bogus links.

        • SteveK

          You poor thing, you really need to get a day job.

          • Already have one (even if the weather reports caused a few people to reschedule this morning.)

            But thanks for proving my point when you talk about pitting one Democrat against another–explicitly putting partisanship over principles.

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