Smith: A Veteran’s Perspective – None of the Democrat Candidates Are Fit to Lead

(L-R) Democratic presidential hopefuls billionaire-philanthropist Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar speak during the seventh Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by CNN and the …
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

I am a veteran of the United States Army. I served two tours in the Middle-East, including one in Iraq. I’m proud of my service and America. And I am terrified of what will become of our beloved military and our national security if any of the Democrats I saw take the Debate stage on Tuesday night become America’s Commander-In-Chief.

Watching the top-tier candidates for president on the left blunder their way through answers on Middle-East policy while engaging in half-truths about the War in Iraq and the Iran/U.S. tensions from a few weeks ago made me profoundly uncomfortable. While septuagenarian multimillionaires argue about the Iraq war vote from 17 years ago, the lone veteran on stage outright lies about the origins behind the decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, and the billionaire who has no real reason to be there goes on about “climate change” as if it’s the primary threat to the lives of Americans, soldiers, and veterans realize they’re left with a sorry group of people aiming to be president of the United States.

The back and forth between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders about the initial vote to authorize the Iraq war points to a fundamental misunderstanding of where we’re at now in terms of our troop presence in Iraq and the issues that America will face in deciding if and when we will vastly reduce the amount of troops we have there. Sanders wears his “no” vote on the Iraq war like a badge of honor to shine his virtue towards his socialist base and supporters. While being anti-war and American interventionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, nor is critique of the origins of the war itself, what Sanders misses is that no matter what his vote was then, we’re in Iraq now. Veterans and active-duty soldiers don’t want 17-year-later Monday-morning quarterbacking about the vote; we want an answer to the issues facing troops in the region now.

As far as Sleepy Joe goes, he was very much asleep at the wheel with his answers at the debate, twisting himself into pretzels to try to defend his “yes” vote and rewrite his history as someone who was one of the more hawkish of the Democrats when it came to the decision of invading Iraq. On the issue of national security, he seems to be attempting to appeal to a far-left base who has no interest in him and will be unlikely to turn out in the numbers the left needs should he gain the nomination, which I remain a believer that he will do. On the identity-politics crazy left, he would likely prefer to pick a running mate that is either a woman or black (or both), and there is nobody on the left who fits those categories that would clearly be a strong addition to his team from a national security standpoint.

I’m not a Buttigieg hater. I find both him and Klobuchar a welcome respite from the socialist nutters of the Democratic left, but his handling of the Iran tensions of the past few weeks and his answers during the debate were woeful. You may have missed this tweet from a few weeks back when he suggested that the U.S./Iran tensions that culminated in Iran mistakenly shooting down a Ukranian passenger jet with 176 people on board was a “tit for tat” and not, you know, the response to the killing of an American contractor in Iraq. As the only veteran on that panel, Buttigieg should know that the way to America to respond to attacks is from a place of strength, and the fact that a presidential candidate who is also a veteran would stoop to side with one of our enemies to score cheap political points is the opposite.

The less said about “climate change” warrior Tom Steyer the better, but let’s just say Americans are unlikely to be interested in someone who appears to be taking cues from Greta Thunberg as to what the true threat of the world is right now. And Elizabeth Warren? If you think veterans or soldiers will vote for her, I assume the closest you’ve ever gotten to one is the last time you watched Full Metal Jacket.

Trump’s methods are not above criticism, but his strength and decisiveness will help keep America safe. These people can’t see the path towards ending or de-escalating the war we’re in because they’re stuck in the past. Trump knows the correct response to provocation is strength. Whether that will be enough to keep Iran at bay and to secure Iraq to a level where we can start drawing down troops remains to be seen. What I know for certain is that nobody on the Democratic bebate stage can stand up to him when it comes to national security. Take it from a vet: he’s the one.


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