Hillary Clinton: Not the Democratic Savior.
The media is awash with information about a potential presidential run by Hillary Clinton. She has the overwhelming support of Democrats, unparalleled name-recognition, and the assurance of more money for her campaign than either candidate had in the historically-expensive Obama-Romney match-up of 2012. Her credentials – mastermind of her husband’s comeback campaign for Governor of Arkansas, former first lady, former senator from a heavily populated state, presidential candidate, former Secretary of State – look very impressive, if one doesn’t look too closely. However, it is high time one did so.
This article will not discuss Mrs. Clinton’s roles in her husband’s campaigns, or her stint as First Lady, although she was a more activist First Lady than most of her predecessors. Rather, the focus will be on just a few actions and statements she made during her tenure as a U.S. senator, her campaign for the Democratic nomination, her time as Secretary of State, and since her retirement. There may be some conclusions to draw by looking at this information, and this writer has no hesitation about helping the reader to draw them.
· In April of 2008, Mrs. Clinton was asked what her response would be, if she were president and Iran attacked Israel. Mrs. Clinton left no doubt in anyone’s mind. Said she: “Well, the question was, if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be? And I want the Iranians to know that if I am president, we will attack Iran.”
This statement is troubling for multiple reasons. First, the authority to wage an attack does not lie with the president of the United States. War powers are vested in Congress, not the president, at least according to the U.S. Constitution.
Secondly, Mrs. Clinton didn’t discriminate between an offensive or defensive attack; she simply said that aggression against Israel would be met with a U.S. attack. Does she not recognize Iran’s right to defend itself?
Third, after long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with both still ongoing at the time, U.S. citizens may not have been in the mood to send their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers off to another imperial adventure, this one to satisfy the Israeli puppet-master. Logistically, there may not have been sufficient soldiers to use as cannon fodder for a new war.
Mrs. Clinton, like nearly all U.S. politicians, regularly worships at the AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee) altar, and angering that particular god is not something any politician with her hand out for campaign contributions wants to do. There appears to be an inconsistency here: horrific and constant aggression by Israel against the Palestinians does not cause Mrs. Clinton to threaten military action against Israel.
· In September of 2013, the now former-Secretary of State Clinton gave her support to President Barack Obama’s plan for ‘limited’ military action against Syria. And aide to Mrs. Clinton said that she “…supports the president's effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime's horrific use of chemical weapons." Yet she never had much to say about Israel’s horrific use of chemical weapons against the Palestinians. Either way, she seems a bit too willing to send soldiers anywhere in the world where a government has displeased the United States.
· Mrs. Clinton’s support for military ‘action’ is not surprising, if one’s memory is not too short. In October of 2002, then Senator Clinton (D-NY), voted favorably on ‘a joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq’, a move that led to the years long, disastrous Iraq war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and over 4,000 U.S. soldiers, destabilized Iraq, nearly bankrupted the U.S., severely damaged the U.S. reputation around the world, and strained relations with some of the U.S.’s closest allies. Yet, like the horrid specter of being seen as weak on Communism a generation ago, no U.S. politician could bear the possibility of being seen as weak on the then-current bugaboo, terrorism. Fearing being painted with that ugly brush, there was no possibility that Mrs. Clinton would demonstrate that rarest of virtues, statesmanship, and listen to the facts that indicated that Iraq had no dreaded weapons of mass destruction. Better to produce some information for a good sound bite for the next election than demonstrate courage and real leadership.
· Either a limited knowledge of world affairs or complete devotion to Israel, neither a particularly good trait for a Secretary of State, was demonstrated by Mrs. Clinton prior to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of 2011. This was an effort by international citizens to bring much-needed medical and other supplies to Palestine. Said Mrs. Clinton: “Well, we do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. Just this week, the Israeli Government approved a significant commitment to housing in Gaza. There will be construction materials entering Gaza and we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”
Is Mrs. Clinton ignorant of the fact that Israel blockades all of Gaza’s borders, in violation of international laws, laws the U.S. has signed onto? Does she not recognize that Israel violates Palestinian border rights every day, thus making the Gaza Flotilla a necessity? And how, one might reasonably ask, does an unarmed ship ‘create a situation where Israel must defend itself’? The flotilla was not headed for waters internationally recognized as Israel’s. And if the flotilla ‘provokes’ Israel, does she not think that constant settlement construction, home demolitions, arbitrary arrests and detentions of men, women and children, the shooting of farmers working in their fields, the shooting of fisherman working in their boats, and other clear acts of terrorism, might ‘provoke’ the Palestinians?
* In June of 2012, Secretary of State Clinton endorsed the use of drone strikes, saying that the U.S. “…will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as al Qaeda that have attacked us and still threaten us with imminent attack.” Yet no mention was made of the thousands of innocent men, women and children who have been the ‘collateral damage’ of such attacks, nor of the legality of the attacks themselves. But notice that Mrs. Clinton likes to keep the tension high, alluding to the possibility of ‘imminent attack’. Yet she doesn’t provide any evidence that any such attack is, in fact, imminent. However, having voted for the invasion of Iraq, when there was also no evidence of an imminent attack, her disdain for facts is apparent.
It is a mystery to this writer why Mrs. Clinton seems to attract nearly universal homage wherever she may go. She has proven herself to be nothing more than a politician: saying what she thinks will sell well with no consideration of reality; selling herself to the highest bidder and disdaining human rights as long as there is some monetary gain in it for herself. In her roles as U.S. senator and Secretary of State she had untold opportunities to alter the course of history, and the U.S.’s destructive role on the world stage, to alleviate the suffering of countless millions of people, and establish for herself a place in history. Instead, she choose to say what was popular rather than what was right, to make the easy rather than difficult decisions, and thereby include her name on the long list of U.S. politicians bought by lobbyists, fearful of the evening news, and willing to say whatever is necessary to get elected.
One would like to say that the U.S. could certainly offer someone better as a candidate for president, but there does not appear to be any elected official any different from Mrs. Clinton. Oh, some pander to the right, as she panders to the left, but as far as integrity, focus on facts and any semblance of statesmanship is concerned, these do not appear to be present in any elected official with any chance of being elected to the White House. In order for that to happen, the lobbyist gods must be fed, and those that refuse to feed them need not apply. The public must be sated with periodic shows of military might, and any vote or statement against such a show will bring the wrath of the ignorant flag-waving public.
And so we have Hillary Clinton, opportunist extraordinaire, hypocrite, charter member of the 1%, awaiting her coronation as the Democratic presidential nominee in two years. If one thinks anything in the U.S. is going to change anytime soon, one is naïve indeed.