While touting her gun control record and lambasting rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' firearm policy, Hillary Clinton keeps under wraps her heavy-handed involvement in the arms trade during her time as America's top diplomat. Sanders, although never Secretary of State, hasn't advocated for major arms deals between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, or any other warmongering country for that matter.
According to an investigation by journalists David Sirota and Andrew Perez of the International Business Times, Clinton not only rubber-stamped major weapon deals with 20 countries that donated to her and her husband's philanthropic arm, the Clinton Foundation, but also approved nearly double the amount of arms sales to those same 20 countries as the State Department of George W. Bush's second term.
Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton's term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term.
The investigation, which came out in May of this year, caused chatter online, but didn't result in Clinton facing any questions about her arms dealing record in the first two Democratic debates. It's important now, especially as we discuss mass violence at home, to ask Clinton if she'll pursue a reduction of firearms not only domestically but internationally.
Judging by her fierce pursuit of a $29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, a country which Human Rights Watch criticizes for violently oppressing women, it seems unlikely. According to the same International Business Times report, the Saudi deal's success was "personal" to Clinton.
At a press conference in Washington to announce the department's approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been 'a top priority' for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the "U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia."
As Sanders' gains in the polls have tightened the race for the Democratic Party's nomination, Clinton has strategically shifted criticism away from Wall Street, where Sanders' campaign has momentum, to the Vermont senator's gun control record, going so far to imply Sanders was sexist during a DNC Women's Leadership Conference.
"I've been told to, and I quote, 'stop shouting' about gun violence," Clinton said. "First of all I'm not shouting. It's just sometimes when women talk people think we're shouting."
The question is, will the countries that come looking for weapons that take countless innocent lives hear that shouting?