“Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, and more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.” ~ Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton leads race for the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. Liberal feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright, and Lena Dunham continue to tout Clinton as the candidate for women. Planned Parenthood has officially endorsed the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, calling her a champion for women’s rights. Clinton may have the best shot at being the first woman POTUS, but she is no feminist hero.
In Clinton’s own words, women have always been the primary victims of war, but Clinton is the most pro-war candidate in the 2016 presidential race, Democrat or Republican. Furthermore, she has the record to back it up.
In November, Clinton gave a speech describing her vision for the United States’ role in the Middle East:
“No other country can rally the world to defeat ISIS and win the generational struggle against radical jihadism. Only the United States can mobilize common action on a global scale, and that’s exactly what we need. The entire world must be part of this fight, but we must lead it.”
Hawkish rhetoric is nothing new for Clinton. Take, for example, her 2002 statementson the American invasion of Iraq:
“…If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
As a Senator, Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War, and in 2008, defended her vote, saying, “I believe in coercive diplomacy.” She also voted against the Levin Amendment in 2002, an amendment that would have given the UN veto power over United States military action. In 2004, she voted in favor of allocating $86 billion of the U.S. budget to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She voted against withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2007.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s record is horrific. Clinton aggressively pursuedregime changes in Libya and Syria, leading to the creation of ISIS, war in Mali, and the strengthening of terrorist group Boko Haram. Regime change has historically beenterrible for national security, leading to blowback and the creation of newer, bigger, more oppressive threats to both citizens of the United States and citizens of the Middle East.
In a recent Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton bragged that she sought the support and counsel of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger himself has described Clinton’s run at the State Department “the most effective…[he’s] ever seen.”
Hillary Clinton was right about one thing: women are disproportionately affected by war. In 2003, the UN released a statement saying that women suffer disproportionately during and after war. War magnifies gender inequality and breaks down the social networks that women need to survive. ISIS has filled the vacuum Hillary created in Syria, executing, raping, and trafficking the region’s women along the way.
Gender inequality during and after conflict is not limited to sexual and gender-based violence; it touches every aspect of women’s lives. Clinton’s Syrian disaster led to the Syrian refugee crisis, and while men bear the bulk of mortality during war, women make up the majority of refugees. War also puts widows at a higher risk of poverty, especially in countries where social norms dictate that men make up the workforce and women stay at home. The notion that the United States as an external force can somehow change these cultural norms is part of the same democracy-spreading farceGeorge W. Bush touted during his hawkish presidency.
Violence and imperialism do not liberate women. External force and rampant destruction do not liberate women. Hillary Clinton’s incessant war mongering and disregard for the basic human rights of non-Americans do not liberate women. Women liberate themselves when they take control over their lives and their futures against all odds. Kurdish women defending their families from ISIS and US airstrikes are feminist heroes. Hillary Clinton is a violent oppressor. Know the difference.
This was originally published on February 25, 2016 at Antiwar.com.