Senator and democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, addressed the 108th Annual VFW Convention in Kansas City, Missouri on August 20, 2007.
Hillary gave a forty four minute speech addressing a variety of veteran's issues, the Iraq War and the future of the military. The full text of the speech is at Huffington Post. Notably, it was not available on Hillary's presidential campaign website, even though a speech from three days later, August 23, 2007, is available. Maybe she doesn't want her remarks at the VFW to be widely known, it might not help her with the anti-military crowd. After all, Hillary is trying to be all things to all people.
I blogged about four weeks ago in Bill Says Hillary Has Support Among Military and Soltz vs. Patterson on Hardball - Hillary, Hawk or Dove, on Hillary's campaign to remake herself as a hawk and military loving candidate.
If you've read Patterson's book, Dereliction of Duty, or any other accounts of Hillary when she was co-president, you'll know that Hillary loathes the military. Whatever face she's wearing now is just a facade to garner support. You won't get many votes from Americans if you're a known hater of the military.
At the VFW convention, Hillary touted a number of pieces of legislation she has helped write and sponsor that will benefit veterans and a number of things she will do as President to assist veterans. They all sound pretty good and I'm really happy that even Hillary sees the need and takes action. I wish I could trust her motives beyond just helping her image remake. Just don't think for a second that she really cares.
But, none of that is what I want to ridicule her about.
That begins with ensuring that America does have the world's strongest and smartest military force. We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it's working.
We're just years too late changing our tactics. We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war. We have to be preparing to fight the new war.
And this new war requires different tactics and strategies. We've got to be prepared to maintain the best fighting force in the world.
If Hillary and some of her fellow travelers in Congress had gotten her way, we'd wouldn't have had the chance to see if a change of tactics worked. If Hillary and Harry and SanFranNan had their way, we'd be pulling out of Iraq and Hillary would be touting the fact that she was in the lead on that. Hillary has carefully navigated her way through the whole Iraq War debate, quickly shifting language and positions to make sure she is best positioned to take advantage of anything that happens.
And I'd like to know if Hillary thought we had the world's strongest and smartest military force when the co-presidents left the White House in January 2001. Is Hillary one of the many who have proclaimed that our Army is stretched too thin? What legislation has Hillary sponsored since 2003 that would increase the size of the Army, and when did she determine that was necessary? In 2001, did Hillary and her co-president husband think the Army was large enough to fight a war in two countries, requiring as few as 200,000 troops?Finally, Hillary says "we must be preparing to fight the next war." General Hillary, what will the next war we fight look like and how do we need to adapt our military today to meet that possibility? When the co-presidents left the White House in January 2001, did they think the military force structure was such that it could fight a sustained counter insurgency in the Middle East? If so, then why are we stretched so thin? Didn't Hillary and her co-president foresee and prepare for that? If the military wasn't suitable for fighting that kind of war, then why didn't Hillary and her co-president foresee the need for that?
The fact is no one knows what the next war will be. No one knows where it's going to be nor what it will take and how long. In this day, in this world, we have to be able to fight a conventional war on land, air and on the high seas, on the China mainland or on the Korean peninsula; a war like we had when we took Baghdad and the ensuing occupation and stabilization; a preemptive strike at Iran to abort it's acquisition of deliverable nuclear weapons; freedom of navigation operations in sea lanes that are vital to our national security and economic prosperity.
Preparing to fight the next war is a platitude. It prepares us for nothing and does no good. If Hillary thought the stripped down, bare bones military she and her co-president left in 2001 was adequate to fight the next war, then their vision of the next war was very optimistic and unrealistic. Maybe they thought we could handle all our enemies as law enforcement matters.
In short, I wouldn't trust Hillary to prepare us for the next major military training exercise, let alone for the next war.
As a final note, all the things Hillary told the VFW about how great her co-president husband's VA was during their term, it wasn't all that great.