Hillary Clinton can change her views in an instant on trade, guns, gay marriage, and all sorts of issues, but she's consistent in this: she wants war.
The Democratic nominee in the final debate reiterated her bellicose stance towards Syria. Combined with her 2003 vote for war in Iraq, and her central role in getting the U.S. into the 2011 war in Libya, Clinton could become the most hawkish candidate elected president in most Americans' lifetimes.
"I am going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria," Clinton said Wednesday night. Totally separate from the fight against ISIS, Clinton's "no-fly zones and safe havens" are U.S. military intervention in the bloody and many-sided conflict between Syria's brutal government, terrorist groups, and rebel groups.
Enforcing a no-fly zone is "basically an act of war," Michael Knights, a no-fly-zone expert at the Washington Institute told me in the run up to the Libyan war. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate that a no-fly zone created "the potential of a direct conflict with the Syrian integrated air defense system or Syrian forces or, by corollary, a confrontation with the Russians."
Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified in the same hearing that "safe zones" would require significant U.S. boots on the ground.
So while Hillary says she doesn't want war with Russia or Syria, or boots on the ground in Syria, she pushes policies that the Pentagon says risk war and require boots on the ground.
Hillary showed that same cavalier attitude toward war earlier this decade, laughingly declaring "we came, we saw, he died." This was her version of George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" moment, and Libya was her smaller — and less legal — version of Bush's Iraq War.
"Hillary's War," was the Washington Post's headline for a flattering feature on the Secretary of State's central role in driving the U.S. to intervene in Libya's civil war in 2011.
Clinton staff, published emails have shown, worked hard to get Clinton credit for the war. Clinton's confidante at the State Department Jake Sullivan drafted a memo on her "leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country's Libya policy from start to finish."
Sullivan listed, point-by-point, how Clinton helped bring about and shape the war. Before Obama's attack on Moammar Gadhafi, "she [was] a leading voice for strong UNSC action and a NATO civilian B5 protection mission," the memo explained.
Hillary's war was illegal—because the administration never obtained congressional authorization for it—and it was also disastrous. "Libya is in a state of meltdown," John Lee Anderson wrote in the Atlantic last summer.
ISIS has spread, no stable government has arisen, and the chaos has led to refugee and terrorism crises.
Clinton nevertheless calls her war "smart power at its best," declaring during the primary season, "I think President Obamamade the right decision at the time."
Yet somehow, through three general election debates, she never got a single question on Libya. Consider that: a former Secretary of State touted a war as a central achievement of hers, is running on her foreign-policy chops, and she is escaping accountability for that disastrous war.
Clinton, of course, also voted for the Iraq War in 2003. She says now she thinks that war was a mistake because it destabilized region. But somehow she doesn't apply that supposed lesson to Libya or to Syria.
The pattern is clear: Hillary Clinton is consistently and maybe blindly pro-war. She is now the clear frontrunner to become our next president. The antiwar movement that flourished under President George W. Bush has disappeared under President Obama. Will it revive under Hillary? Will Republicans have the power or the desire to check her ambitious interventionism.
If Hillary wins big and sweeps in a Senate majority with her, we could be in for four more years of even more war.
Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.