Bernie Sanders Opposes Perpetual War. Trump and Clinton Could Usher Another Military Draft

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign even
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Storm Lake, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. During Saturday's presidential debate in New Hampshire, Sanders was the most searched Democratic candidate on Google, the most discussed on Facebook and he also amassed the most new Twitter followers. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's plan to fight ISIS is essentially the same as the Republican military strategy, as explained in a recent Slate article titled "Pssssssst: Hillary and Her GOP Rivals Have Pretty Much the Same Plan to Deal With ISIS."

While the author believes Clinton's overall strategy would differ from Trump's (accepting Syrian refugees, for example), the military phase wouldn't be very different, and the rhetoric between GOP candidates and Clinton amounts to essentially "the same" plan to destroy ISIS.

As for a willingness to send more Americans into quagmires, Clinton's Council on Foreign Relations speech after the Paris attacks references American "ground troops" as a key to defeating ISIS:

And we should be honest about the fact that to be successful, air strikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS...

As stated in a Guardian article titled "Hillary Clinton calls for more ground troops as part of hawkish Isis strategy," Clinton explained the U.S. should "intensify and broaden" efforts and called for "greater use of American ground troops."

As usual, the CFR speech led to a reversal in sentiment, with Clinton now focusing her views somewhere in between mass deployment and Special Forces deployments. It's important to note that Clinton has already flip flopped on the topic. The International Business Times, in a piece titled Hillary Clinton Flip-Flopping On Ground Troops To Fight ISIS? explains that "Clinton's latest opinion on the topic was an abrupt departure from her previous stance."

As president, Clinton could easily evolve again, considering she might have neoconservative advisers. One New York Times article titled "The Next Act of the Neocons" states, "It's easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton's making room for the neocons in her administration."

In addition, many others have foreshadowed what a Clinton presidency would look like in terms of war and foreign policy. Quoted in The New York Times, Robert Kagan states "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue...it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that."

Of course, Kagan is right on this point, Clinton supporters won't ever call her foreign policy "neocon."

An article in The Nation titled "The Hillary Clinton Juggernaut Courts Wall Street and Neocons" states Clinton has "close ties" to "a passel of neoconservatives."

One Huffington Post piece titled "On Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties, Hillary Clinton Is Not a Progressive," refers to Clinton as a "liberal George Bush."

I could go on forever, but why is Clinton's penchant for "neocon" policies important?

Presidents can't repeal the ACA or end mass shootings and Planned Parenthood debates, but they can wage unilateral wars like Obama's over $2.4 billion battle against ISIS and recently scrapped $500 million program arming Syrian rebels.

As president, both Clinton and Trump would utilize the AUMF in a far more aggressive manner than Obama; Clinton's "neocon" foreign policy could easily lead to the U.S. military becoming even more overstretched.

Like Slate, The Nation, and The New York Times, Vox published a piece titled "Hillary Clinton will pull the Democrats -- and the country -- in a hawkish direction," and states "If Clinton skates to victory, she will take a more aggressive approach to world politics, pulling the party in a new direction without much of a debate."

The words "without much of debate" speak volumes. Clinton voted for Iraq, oversaw a disastrous Libyan bombing campaign, and has a weapons deal scandal. Based on her track record, it's plausible that Clinton would send Americans off to more counterinsurgency conflicts as president. It's also likely that her supporters would wholeheartedly justify future deployments, like they've defended her Iraq vote and Libya bombing.

From a critical thinking vantage point, let's first remember two devastating wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where Americans served (and are still fighting) longer than ever before. Then, let's recall that President Obama deployed American soldiers to Syria, Iraq, and kept them in Afghanistan longer than expected. After two wars and continued deployments, we shouldn't ignore the fact that women too will likely have to register for the draft and that our military has been overstretched by never-ending conflict.

With the recent VA crisis, military suicide epidemic, and a horrific stop-loss program (referred to by Senate Democrats as a "backdoor draft" in 2007) that kept American soldiers in battle far longer than they initially signed up for, just read the writing on the wall.

Perpetual wars can't exist forever with an all-volunteer military. General Stanley McChrystal states that "I now believe we need a draft" primarily because "there's a sense that if you want to go to war, you just send the military." The Nightly Show's Larry Wilmore echoed this sentiment, asking if America should reinstate the draft. Lawrence J. Korb in The New York Times argued, "A Draft Would Force Us to Face Reality."

The Economist writes in an article titled "Who will fight the next war?" that future American conflicts might need a draft:

The result is that America may be unable, within reasonable cost limits and without reinstituting the draft, to raise the much bigger army it might need for such wars. "Could we field the force we would need?" asks Andrew Krepinevich of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Probably not.

In other words, we'd need more soldiers in future wars. Yes, defeating ISIS with Clinton's reference to "ground troops" (remember, she just flip flopped on the issue) could come with a price. The same goes for Trump's bellicose rhetoric.

If you think this viewpoint is unrealistic, then revisit the March 9, 2015 MSNBC transcript between Chris Hays and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson:

HAYES: The drums of war get louder and Americans increasingly favor
sending troops to fight ISIS. So, tonight, the question: should America
reinstitute the draft?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL:
I want to say that if the polls show 62 percent of Americans want to use
ground forces against ISIS in Syria or Iraq or whatever, then I suggest we
have a draft and we draft those 62 percent to lead the way.

Like Col. Wilkerson and MSNBC's Chris Hayes pointed out, increasing the burden of fighting wars upon all Americans is a possibility.

The Atlantic in March of 2015 asked if the U.S. should reinstate the draft. Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel in 2014 asked for a war tax and a reinstated draft. In addition, a VOA article titled Is the U.S. Military Overstretched?highlights the fact we don't have enough soldiers to implement Clinton's or Trump's hawkish rhetoric:

With more than 250,000 American troops deployed in nearly 130 countries, many analysts are questioning whether the United States military is stretched in ways that could undermine its future capabilities should new threats arise.

...some observers say that the draft cannot be discounted as a possibility for beefing up the number of American troops.

If Clinton implements her stated goals, echoing neocon advisers, then a future draft is quite possible.

In contrast to Trump or Clinton, America has a choice in 2016. I explain in The Huffington Post why "The Only Way to Destroy ISIS Is With a Bernie Sanders Presidency." I also write in The Hill that "Only Sanders, not Clinton or Trump, has right plan to defeat ISIS."

Only Bernie Sanders says "I'll be damned" to more Middle Eastern quagmires.

Sanders states "I'll be damned if kids in the state of Vermont -- or taxpayers in the state of Vermont -- have to defend the royal Saudi family, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars." Only Bernie Sanders won the Congressional Award from the VFW and only Sanders foreshadowed the consequences of Iraq, while Clinton cast her vote with "conviction."

Most importantly, Bernie Sanders addressed the repercussions of perpetual wars during the debates. While Trump and Clinton compete to sound more militant, only Sanders mentions the amputees from both recent wars. Sadly, Trump and Clinton are actually similar candidates, especially on foreign policy, and I explain why in this YouTube segment.

America's one-party system on foreign policy and war comes with consequences. Don't discount the reality of a military draft with either Trump or Clinton, especially with low Army recruiting numbers. Only Bernie Sanders opposes perpetual quagmires in the name of defeating terror (as I explain here), finally giving Americans a genuine choice in 2016.

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