Rep. Seth Moulton says US would be ‘no better friend, no worse enemy’ if he's elected president

news
Rep. Seth Moulton questions senior military leaders during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2017.

Iraq war veteran Rep. Seth Moulton is distinguishing himself from the other 20 Democrats running for president right now by arguing that he would make a better commander in chief than President Donald Trump.

"I think our motto as a country should be the same motto we had in the 1st Marine Division: No better friend, no worse enemy," Moulton (D-Mass.), a former Marine captain, told Task & Purpose. "That means standing with our allies and confronting our enemies, not cozying up to them."

"No matter how you look at it, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, they are enemies of the United States and we need to treat them that way," added Moulton, who is one of three veterans vying for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.


It is rare for a Democrat to embrace national security issues on the campaign trail. Over the past two decades, Republican candidates have consistently argued for a larger military, higher defense spending, and less White House micromanaging of the Pentagon.

But Moulton's political philosophy has been shaped by his four deployments to Iraq. As president, one of his first orders of business would be to get Congress re-engaged in determining when the United States goes to war. Lawmakers have largely stood on the sidelines since authorizing the Bush administration to attack Al Qaeda in 2001.

"We have got to have a new authorization for the use of military force, and we have to debate it openly in front of the American public so that everybody understands why we're putting American lives on the line overseas," he said during a recent interview.

Echoing Pentagon leaders, Moulton also thinks the U.S. military needs to focus its attention on Russia and China. However, he questions why the Defense Department needs more than 2,400 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to fight big wars again.

In fact, Moulton said he is worried that the Pentagon is spending so much money on the F-35 that it is not investing in newer technologies that might prove decisive in future conflicts.

"I find it hard to believe we're going to need that many F-35s when the Chinese and the Russians are already pushing ahead on autonomous warplanes, pilotless warplanes," Moulton said. "I think there's a great question as to whether the 6th generation fighter will have a pilot at all."

If Moulton is elected president, he will inherit the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria. He explained what his strategy would be for each of the conflicts.

With the security situation better in Iraq, Moulton believes U.S. efforts there should focus more on helping Iraq's democracy mature, he said.

In Afghanistan, Moulton favors limiting the U.S. military's role to destroying terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and ISIS-Khorasan, he said.

"We need to make it clear that we went there after 9/11 for a real and serious purpose," Moulton said. "That threat still remains. And so we need to counter that threat. But unless we have the will of the Congress and the American people behind us to do more than we should just stay focused on that threat."

Mindful of the rise of ISIS after U.S. troops left in 2011, Moulton does not want to prematurely withdraw U.S. forces in Syria, he said.

"Having spent three years in the Middle East myself, there's no one who wants to get the troops home sooner than I do," he said. "But, we can't pull out without a plan."

At a February hearing, Moulton asked a top defense official point blank if former Defense Secretary James Mattis was wrong when he disagreed with Trump's plan at the time to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria.

"No sir," replied Owen West, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

With Mattis' influence on Moulton's thinking clearly evident, Task & Purpose asked Moulton if Mattis would have a place in a Moulton administration.

"There might be," Moulton said.

SEE ALSO: Once political foes, these veterans are joining forces against a shared enemy: America's 'forever wars'

WATCH NEXT: Seth Moulton's Campaign Video

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider

If you're in the market for a bunker in the southwest, you're in luck. A decommissioned missile complex is now on sale outside of Tucson for nearly $400,000. The complex was home to an armed Titan II missile for 24 years, before it was decommissioned in the 1980s.

The structure is listed with Grant Hampton at Realty Executives. Now, the home is back on the market, and these photos show what lies underground in Arizona.

Read More Show Less

Connecting with the youths is all fun and games until Congress starts worrying you could accidentally expose the U.S. military to Chinese data collection, am I right?

Read More Show Less

A Florida Navy Reserve officer rescued a woman who was trapped in a sinking car, according to a report by CBS 47.

Read More Show Less

The Marine Corps will investigate whether another Marine has ties to a white supremacist group after he allegedly made racist comments on neo Nazi message boards that have since been taken down, according to a Marine Corps official.

Vice News reporters Tess Owen and Tim Hume first reported on Nov. 8 that at least three people who posted on the new defunct Iron March message boards were service members, but their story did not include any of the troops' names.

Newsweek reporters James LaPorta and Asher Stockler were able to independently confirm the identity of one of those service members as an active-duty Marine: Lance Corporal Liam J. Collins, an 0311 Rifleman assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States knows the location of the third in command to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself last month during a U.S.-led raid.

"We have our eye on his third," Trump said during the question-and-answer session following a speech at the Economic Club of New York. "His third has got a lot of problems because we know where he is too."

Read More Show Less