Left or right, can we all agree on this: Someone who treats national secrets with extreme carelessness, including intelligence gathered by human sources whose lives are put in jeopardy when their information is revealed, doesn’t care enough about our country’s men and women in harm’s way to be their commander-in-chief?
Further, left or right, can we all agree on this, too: Someone who lies to families of the fallen, then calls them liars when they repeat what she told them, doesn’t care enough about our country’s men and women in harm’s way to be their commander-in-chief?
You know who I’m talking about — Hillary Clinton. Her cavalier and careless treatment of national security information is now well-documented. No need to insert links. Just Google Hillary emails, and the sordid story pops up. Google Benghazi Hillary to find the tales of how she told families of the victims of that terror attack it was due to a video, then called them liars when they repeated that story as she tries to sell herself as a strong candidate for commander-in-chief. Oh, and in case you missed it, her husband, former president Bill Clinton, thinks she’s the hero of Benghazi, not for withstanding a grueling 13-hour attack in Libya but for standing up to an 11-hour hearing in Congress on the attacks. The heart weeps.
As a mother of someone in the military, I am looking at the qualifications of candidates for the commander-in-chief role above all others. It is one of the few areas of the executive branch where the president has some autonomy. Everything else – from budgeting to abortion rights to tax policy and beyond — has to be a joint effort with the legislative branch. But the president can send troops hither and yon without a formal declaration of war, thus avoiding the need to work things out with the branch of government closest to the people.
So, the question I’m asking myself about the presidential candidates is this one: Does he or she understand the hardships experienced by military when they are deployed? And for Hillary Clinton, the answer is a resounding, “No!” She can’t possibly give a fig about military personnel if she’s willing to reveal national secrets so fecklessly. She can’t possibly give a hoot about military personnel if she’s willing to call heartbroken, grieving families liars. And to me, that says she’d use them as mere pawns in her international and national game of chess, not giving careful consideration to the deployment of military force to advance or protect national interest.
Sorry, Hillary fans (I have a few friends who fall into that category), but her record suggests she’d treat the military with breathtaking irresponsibility.
And in that regard, even Sen. Bernie Sanders would be better. Sure, just as with President Barack Obama, he’d take office (shudder to think) caring more about domestic policy, not foreign policy. And, yes, that can lead to trouble (example, the world today). And, let’s face it, he really is a pacifist, even if he denies it, saying that was then, this is now. But I’d rather have someone like him as commander-in-chief, someone who believes “from the bottom of my heart, war should be the last resort.” At least he seems to get the pain and hardship military action brings, whereas with Hillary, I would always wonder if she’s thinking primarily of how it will effect her personally.
You can hold strong positions on any of the other important issues facing our country, and we can disagree or not. We all know, in the end, the next president’s impact on other policy is going to be reined in to a degree. Yes, I know that President Obama pushed through policies, such as the ACA, that didn’t have popular support, but that’s why I think the next president will find his playing field restricted. I don’t believe the public is going to put up anymore with a president ramming policies they don’t want down their throats. I just don’t.
The job requirements for commander-in-chief are always of utmost importance. But even more so this year when the current administration has made such a hash of things. And Hillary Clinton, if she were applying for the job as the average American has to apply for positions, shouldn’t even be getting an interview, let alone serious consideration for the role.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.