MINNEAPOLIS — Foreign policy is a cornerstone of every presidential campaign. More than foreign aid or identifying our allies, though, a prospective president’s foreign policy can be examined through a willingness or unwillingness to go to war.
And it’s up to the public to decide: Do we want more war?
According to a CNN/ORC poll conducted in late April and early May, the country is evenly split on one question in particular: “Do you favor or oppose the United States sending ground troops into combat operations against ISIS forces in Iraq or Syria?”
48 percent said they support sending in ground troops to combat ISIS, but 48 said they are opposed.
Now, consider the candidates from our two major parties: Donald Trump, the Republican nominee who has vowed to send in ground troops to “knock the hell” out of ISIS, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee whose own ties to ISIS were recently exposed by WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange says her emails indicate that she sold weapons to ISIS in Syria during her time as secretary of state, and she’s also made money from her ties to companies working for and funding ISIS. So, Clinton, it seems, may be able to have her cake and eat it, too, by profiting from the very source of terrorism she both helped to embolden and promised to defeat.
Trump has never held public office, so he has no voting record to examine. What he does have is a never-ending string of comments that reveal him as a xenophobic and a racist. However, he was not a fan of the Iraq War, even if only because it put his own business interests in jeopardy.
Clinton, as a senator and secretary of state, built a consistent, and horrifying, record of warmongering that helped create ISIS and fuel the rise of terrorism across the Middle East and Africa. But it’s her support and advocacy for the Iraq War — a war in which 180,000 Iraqi civilians and 4,500 U.S. service personnel have been killed — that helped create her legacy as a warmonger.
One of those fallen U.S. soldiers was Casey Sheehan, a U.S. Army specialist, who died on April 4, 2004.
In the wake of his death, his mother, Cindy Sheehan, became a vocal anti-war activist. In 2005, the “Peace Mom” camped outside of President Bush’s ranch in Texas for several weeks, vowing to stay there until she got a face-to-face meeting with the president, who she said never had a good reason for going to war.
She’s been arrested during multiple anti-war protests in the years since then, and she also produces a blog and podcast, “Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox,” which tackles the U.S. empire that spreads war around the world.
She’s here on “Behind the Headline” to talk to me about where the anti-war movement is today, and whether any presidential candidate can bring with them any hope for a world without war.
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