Sen. Clinton's special claim to military expertise

Sen. Hillary Clinton said something interesting in Youngstown yesterday.

“Both Senator Obama and I would make history,” the New York senator said. “But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice.”

Note the part I’ve italicized. It’s a point she repeated at least two or three times during the speech (see fuller text here), and it has been the source of some pointed debate among interested Dem-watchers this morning.

Here’s what I want to know: how, precisely, is Sen. Clinton more prepared to be Commander-in-Chief, on day or on any other day, than Sen. Obama?

If either candidate has a record of senior strategic military command, I’ve somehow missed it. I can’t find any record of Sen. Clinton serving in the military at any level, in fact. As best I can tell, if you have no direct experience in these kinds of matters, your readiness to lead is mostly a function of knowing who to listen to, and again, I have no evidence before me that would suggest Clinton is somehow more qualified on this criterion than Sen. Obama.

Surely she doesn’t think that supporting Dick and Dubya’s Big Iraqi Adventure qualifies her to be CiC. And her promise to bring the troops home within 60 days might be a little more encouraging if she’d actually admitted how badly she fucked up in the first place and apologized, like John Edwards did.

Please don’t tell me that she’s more qualified to run the military because she was married to a president for eight years. If she played a role as first lady that we don’t know about, fine – prove it. I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that I’m not prepared – on Day 1, Day 5 or Day 1000 – to do my wife’s job. So in the absence of something more substantive than stump rhetoric, I find the potential suggestion that marriage prepares you to assume your spouse’s career tenuous, at best.

Sen. Clinton, saying it don’t make it so, not even if you say it loudly, repeatedly and to thunderous applause. So please, if you’re going to make these kinds of dramatic claims, could you provide a little evidence or reasoning or something, anything, to back it up?

9 replies »

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  2. Her promise to bring the troops home in 60 days (and Obama’s similar claim) are utter bullshit. It’s literally not possible to bring our soldiers, marines, airmen, and seamen home that fast. From what I’ve heard, it took about 15 months to extract all our forces out of Iraq and Kuwait after the first Gulf War, and that was with a very friendly Kuwait. If we pulled out of Iraq, it would essentially be a staged withdrawal, with some force having to protect the others from attack, and so it be harder and take longer. And let’s ignore the inconvenient fact that there are more forces in Iraq today than there ever were during Gulf War 1.

    This is actually one of my biggest complaints with both Democratic candidates – both are saying what the Democratic base wants to hear instead of the hard realities of getting us out of Iraq. I understand that neither could probably become the Democratic candidate by telling the truth, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach the blatant lies.

    Best case we’ll be in Iraq a full two years after a Democratic President takes office because it’ll take that long to withdraw fully.

  3. Brian,
    Where are you getting removal in 60 days for Obama? His website says:

    “Bringing Our Troops Home
    Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.”

  4. Robin – I don’t remember where I got it, so it could easily be old news half remembered in an exhaustion haze.

    I’m sorry for the unintentional disinformation, and thanks for correcting the record.

  5. Sam,

    She is qualified because she stood at the side of her husband for eight years as he systematically screwed over our armed forces and the veterans who served in them. That’s her only qualifications and it’s enough that if she gets the nomination instead of Obama I will have to seriously consider voting for McCain.