Hillary Clinton Might Be Contradicting Herself
On Wednesday, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton responded to a comment on Quora regarding the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump's previous statements on banning Muslims. The thread referred to a comment Trump first made in December 2015, calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. He had previously made calls for the surveillance of mosques as well, and suggested creating a database to keep track of Muslims already living in the United States. The Quora thread started with a message that read, "Trump now says that his Muslim ban was 'just a suggestion.' Should Muslims be worried still?"
Clinton responded to the question — an interesting move on her part, although she has a well-established Quora profile — where she suggested that Trump has not changed his views on the matter. She also used the opportunity to make the claim that "Muslim Americans aren’t the enemy. They’re our family, our friends, our neighbors, and coworkers. They serve our communities and our country."
While Clinton is right to make it clear that Muslim Americans do not represent terrorism and should be treated just like any other American, she has neglected both in this statement, and throughout the duration of her campaign, to touch on her own involvement in hawkish policies that have led to the loss of thousands of Muslim lives abroad. These individuals may not be American, but their lives are no less important.
Many Clinton supporters have proudly stood by her, stating her experience and record in foreign policy as a reason to support her campaign. But should she — and voters — be proud of her foreign policy record? While Trump has suggested killing the families of ISIS members in order to eradicate the terrorist group, it was, at that point in time, only a suggestion. Clinton has already been involved in militaristic campaigns that have killed thousands of Muslims in other countries.
As secretary of state, Clinton backed a number of foreign interventions that led to massive bloodshed, most notably affecting Muslim populations. As the Washington Post's Michael Crowley wrote, "Clinton backed a bold escalation of the Afghanistan war. She pressed Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, and later endorsed air strikes against the Assad regime. She backed intervention in Libya, and her State Department helped enable Obama’s expansion of lethal drone strikes."
In Afghanistan alone, there have been over 26,270 civilian deaths since 2001. In 2015, there were 11,000 civilian deaths in the country — both are a direct result of the U.S. invasion in Afghanistan since 2001, one that Clinton has consistently backed — at least during her time as secretary of state. As Crowley also suggested, Clinton's State Department directly assisted Obama in his expansion of covert drone operations in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
According to data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has extensively tracked the U.S. covert drone wars, there have been an estimated combined (and as many as) 7,546 total casualties due to drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan since the first recorded drone strike in Yemen in 2002. And they are ongoing, with less than 2 percent of drone strike victims in Pakistan being high-profile targets. Though Clinton only started serving as the secretary of state under the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2013, according to the data, the frequency of these strikes picked up during Obama's presidency. Specifically, former President George W. Bush authorized 50 drone strikes between 2001 and 2008, while Obama has authorized more than 500 strikes.
While Clinton is right to suggest that Trump's statements on Muslims are dangerous, her own actions, which have led to the deaths of thousands of Muslims abroad, are far more dangerous because she has already had a chance to put her thoughts into action. Even after voting in favor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 — which has seen a death toll of 500,000 since its start — Clinton has repeatedly called her vote a mistake.
She ended her Quora comment with a quote from Maya Angelou. She wrote, "Maya Angelou once said, 'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.' Donald Trump has shown us who he is. We should believe him. And we should stand up to his hateful rhetoric and actions."
But Mrs. Clinton, I have to ask, should we not also believe you the first time?