President Obama’s decision to veto a bill that would allow 9/11 families to sue the Saudi government put him a precarious political position: between the victims of the greatest terror attack on American soil and the U.S. service members under his command who could be a greater risk if other nations pass similar laws.
But it puts the woman he wants to succeed him in office, Hillary Clinton, in an even worse position, forcing to stake out a stance that pits her between her former New York constituents, her former employees at the State Department, and her nation’s long-time ally in Middle East. Politically, the smart move for Clinton is to back the bill to the hilt. As a matter of policy, however, such support could backfire rather horribly.
Talk about a rock and a hard place. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was passed unanimously in Congress and sent to the President’s desk. While the President has indicated that the reason for the veto is to prevent US interests abroad from being sued, frivolously or otherwise…
“It’s not hard to imagine other countries using this law as an excuse to haul U.S. diplomats, U.S. service members or even U.S. companies into courts all around the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “The president feels quite strongly about this.”
…it is hard to ignore the cozy relationship the administration has with the Saudi government, or the amount of money the Saudis have contributed to him personally.
Turning back to Hillary, the Clinton Foundation and its acceptance of Saudi and other foreign money has been a lightning rod for Donald Trump’s criticism against her. While she could use Obama’s defense to support the veto, she unfortunately has herself on the record as supporting frivolous lawsuits herself, notably against gun manufacturers:
Seven in 10 American voters do not support Hillary Clinton’s position that crime victims should be allowed to sue firearm manufacturers and retailers if they made or sold the gun lawfully, according to a new poll.
Seventy-two percent of those surveyed believe criminals who commit the crimes should be punished, not law-abiding manufactures and retailers who sell the product, according to a survey released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation released Monday. Only 23 percent agreed with Mrs. Clinton’s stance, with 4 percent unsure.
It is important to note that JASTA is widely popular in the US, and the lawsuits against gun manufacturers aren’t. Closer examination of lawsuits against gun manufacturers shows that all of them have failed, and those bringing the suits have often been saddled with the legal bills the gun companies have incurred. This is news to them, as Bloomberg and his gun control organizations have conned individuals into doing the suing, and then left them with the bill when the suits fail.
So its not like Hillary can use Obama’s “frivolous” defense of the veto. She will have to clarify her position sooner rather than later. Hillary has so far declined to comment on the bill, but the veto is still pending. Once it goes through, it will likely be overridden, and she can’t hide from the question forever. Either she A) supports the bill, and risks losing support from her Saudi benefactors, or she B) supports the Saudis, and opens herself up to further attacks from Trump about being a “bought-and-paid-for” interest.
I’m actually inclined to agree with Obama’s veto, mostly because I think this is political pandering. I’d say to find the Saudi officials responsible for supporting the hijackers, and go after them criminally. Lawsuits will take years, and even if they win, good luck getting the Saudi government to pay up. Which makes things worse, because you have now just opened the US up to the same sorts of lawsuits as JASTA, for all the awful things our leadership and military has done.
But my position is pretty meaningless. I’m not the one running for president with Saudi financial backing – Hillary is.
She’s truly in between a rock and a hard place.
She will probably publicly support the bill and make a closed-door deal with the Saudis later on. However, Saudi money could be crucial to getting her elected in the first place. Biting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea.