Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – who served from 2006 to 2011 – told Face the Nation host John Dickerson than Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is probably “more hawkish than President Obama.”
“It was my experience in working with her that she was very tough-minded,” Gates told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Clinton at the time was secretary of state.
“And, for example, when General McChrystal was asking for 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan, she was very tough in support of what the general wanted. She also was an advocate for going into Libya. So I suspect, although we’ve — we have not had a conversation in — since I left in almost five years, I would suspect that generally speaking, she is more hawkish than President Obama.”
In addition to being in favor of intervening in Libya and escalating war in Afghanistan, then-Senator Hillary Clinton was also in favor of the Iraq War, voting to give President Bush the authority in 2002 to use military force in that country.
Regarding Syria, Hillary Clinton was very much in favor of arming Syrian “rebels” to fight against the Assad regime. Foreign Policy in Focus reported in March:
When Obama threatened air strikes in 2013 to punish the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, for example, Clinton publicly supported him, ignoring polls showing that more than 70 percent of Americans opposed military action. She described the planned U.S. attack on Syria as a “limited strike to uphold a crucial global norm,” although one of the clearest global norms under the UN Charter is that a country should not attack another country except in self-defense.
Clinton advocated arming Syrian rebels long before the Obama administration agreed to do so. In 2012, she allied with CIA Director David Petraeus to promote a U.S.-supplied-and-trained proxy army in Syria. As a U.S. Army general, Petraeus spent enormous amounts of money training Iraqi and Afghan soldiers with little success, but that did not deter him and Clinton from seeking a similar project in Syria. Together, they campaigned for more direct and aggressive U.S. support for the rebels, a plan supported by leading Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But few in the White House agreed, arguing that it would be difficult to appropriately vet fighters and ensure that weapons didn’t fall into the hands of extremists.
Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain wasn’t the only one who wanted to “bomb Iran.” In an interview with ABC in 2008, Hillary Clinton laid out her opinion on Iran and how she would handle the country as president:
“Well the question was ‘if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be,’ and I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the President, we will attack Iran; and I want them to understand that, because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That’s a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps would deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.”
It’s obvious that Hillary Clinton is more hawkish than President Obama and even President George W. Bush. When Obama took office and began his own foreign interventions and wars overseas, the antiwar left all but disappeared.
The issues of war and foreign intervention are supposed to be what sets Democrats apart from Republicans. Republicans are the “party of war,” and Democrats are the “party of peace.” That’s how the media often portray the parties. But in reality, there is very little difference between the two, especially regarding foreign intervention. Their speeches may differ, but actions speak louder than words.