Hillary Rodham Clinton. The so-called "lesser evil". The U.S. Democratic Party's Presidential nominee. The possible first U.S. female President. The supposed counterweight to Trump's right-wing extremism. Last June, on the occassion of CPUSA's endorsement of Mrs.Clinton, we were pointing out: "Hillary Clinton, like Donald Trump, is a choice of the U.S. monopoly capital, of the country's bourgeois class, for the position of the President. Mrs.Clinton's service as Obama government's Foreign Secretary is known and has been proved disastrous: Libya, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Syria, Yemen. The people of these countries know, better than anyone, what Imperialism means and what was Clinton's contribution in war crimes". If we had to draw Clinton's political portrait that would be a portrait of an imperialist war-monger, a champion of hawkish aggression. From her stance as a First Lady to her voting record as a Senator and from her service as Obama's Secretary of State to her Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has proved her role as a ruthless promoter of U.S. Imperialism. In this post we republish two articles from progressive- but, nonetheless, bourgeois- sources which contain quite interesting information about the role of Hillary Clinton, especially in Foreign Policy issues - IDC.
She’s A Proven Warmonger. By Prof. Muhammad Sahimi/Source: mintpressnews.com, January 27, 2016.
LOS ANGELES — (ANALYSIS) Ever since Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president, she has tried to present herself as a progressive whose “inevitable” election will be a historic moment for the United States, and perhaps even the world. After Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders entered the race and began talking about his relatively progressive agenda, Mrs. Clinton tried to outdo him and take on positions that not only completely contradict her history as first lady, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state, but force her to make totally ridiculous statements that only demonstrate the facts that she believes in no principle and is only hungry for power.
A good example of this was when she tried to explain her cozy relations with the Wall Street and the millions of dollars that she has either made as a speaker or received as campaign contributions. During her second debate with Sanders and other Democratic candidates, the senator from Vermont said:
“I have never heard of a candidate, never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, from coal, from Wall Street, from the military-industrial complex, not one candidate say, oh, these campaign contributions will not influence me. Why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? They expect to get something. Everybody knows that.”
Mrs. Clinton retorted:
“I represented New York on 9/11, when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”
This is on par Sarah Palin’s 2008 response to a question about her foreign policy experience. Mrs. Palin said that because “you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska” she is experienced in foreign policy. If elected president, Mrs. Clinton would be as much of a fighter for the ordinary Americans against the Wall Street as Palin would have been as a politician with experience in foreign policy.
Mrs. Clinton has been bragging about her achievements as first lady, and what her husband accomplished in that era. So it is only fair to recall the terrible things that also happened during Bill Clinton’s “co-presidency” with Hillary. Oddly, what is not mentioned, for example, is that in 1996, Bill and Hillary Clinton gutted the welfare program for the poor in the name of reform, just to appease the right and ensure that Bill’s re-election. The program failed miserably. It cut off help to millions of poor people, but delighted many on the right who had not been able to accomplish it themselves.
Mrs. Clinton didn’t move to offer her full support to same-sex marriage until 2013. Though she voiced some support for civil unions throughout the early 2000s, in both 2000 and 2004 she defined marriage as a union “between a man and a woman.”
Regarding punishment for violent offenders and criminals she said in 1994, “We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.” But in April last year she declared that, “We have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance,” calling for an end to mass incarceration.
How about the economic sanctions that were imposed on Iraq by the Clinton administration, which killed at least 576,000 Iraqi infants and children? If Hillary Clinton wants to brag about her husband’s work as president, she should also accept the responsibility for his misdeeds. But, then again, perhaps we shouldn’t expect that from someone who admires a war criminal like Henry Kissinger.
Hillary Clinton with the ex-Secretary of State and notorious war criminal Henry Kissinger.
There are many other social and political issues about which Mrs. Clinton was either aligned with the right wing, or at most centrists, in the past, but is now running to the left to catch up with Mr. Sanders. Her social progressivism is phony and it undergoes changes all the time just for her expediency. She has lied so many times about so many issues that she has lost track of what she has said, and where and when she’s said it.
But what I would like to discuss is Hillary Clinton’s record on foreign policy, and what she would do if elected president. As an Iranian-American I am particularly concerned about her views on the Middle East and Iran. The review below indicates that she is neither a progressive nor a liberal (a label that she would like to avoid), but a proven warmonger whose record has contributed greatly to war, bloodshed and destruction in the Middle East and North Africa.
To begin with, Hillary Clinton is an Israel-firster. Every policy that she espouses and every pronouncement that she makes on any part of the Middle East benefit Israel in one way or another, at the expense of the rest of that region. To see this, just consider recent history.
After Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu did everything in his power to prevent the nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 – a historic diplomatic breakthrough for President Barack Obama for whichMrs. Clinton also takes credit – and after Netanyahu “sacrificed much of his popularity with the Democratic Party by crusading against the Iran nuclear deal,” Clinton tried to rehabilitate Netanyahu’s image.
The Center for American Progress and its president, Neera Tanden, invited Netanyahu during the second week of November. Tanden and CAP founder John Podesta are both very close to the Clintons. Just before Netanyahu’s visit to the CAP, Mrs. Clinton penned an article published by the Jewish daily Forward, explaining how she would reaffirm the unbreakable bond with Israel and Netanyahu. And, in a speech at the Saban Forum of Brookings Institution in Washington on Dec. 6, she promised that, if elected, on her first day in office she would “extend an invitation to the Israeli prime minister to come to the United States hopefully within the first month, certainly as soon as it could be arranged.”
Consider Mrs. Clinton’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a Jan. 6 article published by the Jewish Journal, she talked about “taking the U.S.-Israel relationship to the next level.” But what is the next level? Is $4 billion per year for Israel not enough? And, she wrote, “I’m especially concerned about the new wave of violence inside Israel itself – brutal stabbings, shootings, and vehicle attacks that seek to sow fear among the innocent.” Mrs. Clinton did not write a single word about Israeli settlers’ attacks on Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, attacks that have killed many Palestinians, including toddlers, attacks that have beencelebrated by Israeli extremists. Even U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said in a conference in Tel Aviv on Jan. 18, “Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked.”
Regarding the movement in Europe to pressure Israel to evacuate the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mrs. Clinton wrote:
“We must continue to fight against global efforts to delegitimize Israel. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, is the latest front in this battle. BDS demonizes Israeli scientists and intellectuals – even young students – and compares Israel to South African apartheid. That’s wrong and this campaign should end.”
On Jan. 18, Shapiro also told the conference: “At times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank – one for Jews and one for Palestinians.” This is precisely the definition of an apartheid system.
Mrs. Clinton also distorts the nature of BDS, which targets Israeli products produced in the West Bank and entities that invest there. This is not a movement to “de-legitimize” Israel, rather to force it to behave like any other state, abide by international laws and U.N. Security Council resolutions, and evacuate the territories it has been occupying and exploiting for almost 50 years.
Mrs. Clinton is even willing to completely distort established facts and fabricate new ones in order to “prove” her support for Israel. In a speech to Council on Foreign Relations on Nov. 19, she equated Hamas, Iran and Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL). Yet Iran has been fighting tooth and nail against Daesh, and despite some terrorist operations in the past, Hamas is a liberation movement of the Palestinian people (and elected by the people of Gaza) with no ambitions whatsoever outside the historical Palestinian territories.
The fact is, one can write books on Mrs. Clinton’s blind support for Israel that even many true Israeli progressives totally reject and consider as counterproductive to their nation.
At a time when the Middle East is changing due to the nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1, the slow rapprochement between Iran and the U.S., and revelations which have made crystal clear the role of Saudi Arabia and its allies in supporting terrorism in the region, Mrs. Clinton is still espousing the same failed policies toward Iran: more sanctions, more military threats, and more diplomatic pressure. Of course, this is nothing new.
The Clintons have always been Iran’s number one enemy in the U.S., on par with the neocons and the Israel lobby. When it comes to Iran, there are few politicians, if any, more hawkish than the two.
It was Bill Clinton who imposed the total trade embargo on Iran (and Libya) in 1996. This embargo came after Iran made a gesture of reconciliation toward the U.S. by awarding the American oil company Conoco a major contract to develop a large offshore oil field in the Persian Gulf in May 1995, even though a European oil company had actually won the contract. When asked during her first Democratic presidential debate in October “which enemy are you most proud of,” Mrs. Clinton included “the Iranians” (emphasis mine) among them. This was truly disturbing. Was she talking about 80 million Iranians? If she meant the Iranian government, why did she not say so?
As a senator Hillary Clinton supported every resolution by Congress to impose more unilateral sanctions on Iran that had not been approved by the Security Council. As the secretary of state she helped assemble the coalition of nations that imposed “the toughest sanctions in history” on Iran that hurt the lives of tens of millions of ordinary Iranians, which is something that her campaign brags about.
During her first run for president in 2008, she threatened in an interview: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” This statement truly demonstrates the warmongering nature of Hillary Clinton. She did not say that if Iran attacked Israel, which is highly unlikely if not impossible, she will defend Israel. No, she threatened to obliterate Iran, the land of an old civilization that’s made many contributions to humanity. Her threat to “obliterate” Iran means only one thing: She is willing to attack Iran with nuclear weapons.
Even though she supported the nuclear accord with Iran, Mrs. Clinton still demonizes and belittles Iran. In a speech at the Brookings Institution in September, Mrs. Clinton declared, “I don’t see Iran as our partner in implementing this agreement. I believe Iran is the subject of the agreement” (emphasis mine), as if Iran is a banana republic that is subject to U.S. orders. In her aforementioned article in the Jewish Journal she threatened Iran again:
“We have to send Iran an unequivocal message. There can be no doubt in Tehran that if Iran’s leaders violate their commitments not to seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons, the United States will stop them. They will test our resolve with actions like their provocative ballistic missile test, for which we should impose new sanctions designations. They need to understand that America will act decisively if Iran violates the nuclear agreement,including taking military action if necessary (emphasis mine).”
Mrs. Clinton is always looking for new ways to impose new economic sanctions on Iran in order to carry favor with the pro-Israel lobby and its rich donors. After Iranian hardliners in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who oppose the nuclear accord tried to provoke the U.S. by carrying out some missile tests, Mrs. Clinton quickly called for new sanctions.
Shane Bauer and two friends were arrested by Iranian border guards in July 2009, after the trio had apparently drifted into Iran from Iraq. They were held until September 2011. Bauer, now a senior reporter with Mother Jones, criticized Mrs. Clinton for calling for more sanctions on Iran after four Iranian-Americans were released from jail in Tehran on Jan. 16. He tweeted: “Seriously, why would Hillary call for more sanctions now? As far as we know, 4 of the Americans are still in Iran. [It is] totally irresponsible.” He also tweeted that when he was in jail in Tehran, “whenever I heard Hillary’s voice, my heart would sink. All she ever does with Iran is inflame tensions.”
Mrs. Clinton has never given up her imperial ambitions to reshape the Middle East in Israel’s image, making the region as safe for Israel’s expansionist policy as possible, and she views Iran as the main impediment to achieving her goal. She has also been itching for years to start a war with Iran. If that happens, not only her Israeli patron will be delighted, weapons makers that donate to her campaign more than any other candidatewill be ecstatic. Mrs. Clinton is a good loyalist of the military-industrial-intelligence complex.
Mrs. Clinton’s enmity toward Iran and Iranians, and her unconditional and blind support for Israel, are not surprising. Her biggest donors, Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl, have given $2 million to the super PAC Priorities USA Action that finances Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
Saban is the man who has bragged, “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.”
He has also professed his support for Hillary Clinton. “I have told her [Clinton] and everybody who’s asked me, ‘Whatever it takes, we’re going to be there.’ I think she would be a fantastic president for the United States, an incredible world leader and one under whom I believe – deeply – the relationship with the U.S. and Israel will be significantly reinforced,” Saban told the Washington Post in November 2014. He has also called for more scrutiny of Muslims in the U.S.
Most recently, the Clinton campaign has been slamming Sen. Sanders’ suggestion that the U.S. and Iran should have closer relations. Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s senior policy adviser, said on Jan. 21: “This proposal [by Sanders] to more aggressively normalize relations and to move to warm relations with Iran not only breaks with President Obama’s policy, it breaks with the sober and responsible diplomatic approach that’s been working for the United States.”
Thus, Mrs. Clinton is a strong ally of Iranian hardliners who also do not want any rapprochement with the U.S., and have been doing everything they can to prevent it.
Mrs. Clinton’s warmongering toward Iran has alarmed many. Many Iranian-Americans are terrified by the possibility of her presidency, during which she may either re-impose the economic sanctions under another name, or go to war with Iran.
Iraq and Daesh
That Sen. Clinton voted in 2002 to go to war with Iraq is old news. The vote contributed to her defeat in her first presidential run in 2008. Most likely, she voted for war with Iraq because the Israel lobby in the U.S. wanted it, although many other factors contributed to that catastrophic war. We were lied into war, and as a senator, she played an important role in it.
But, even though she has admitted that the vote was a mistake, she does not appear to have learned anything from the mistake. In a House hearing on the Benghazi attack during which U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, Mrs. Clinton said: “We have learned the hard way when America is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened, including here at home.” In other words, she believes that U.S. forces should be everywhere. What she does not concede is that it was the invasion of Iraq which was the catalyst for the present chaos and bloodshed in the Middle East, and it was the imperialist intervention in Libya (and elsewhere), which she has supported, that led to the murders of the four and transformed Libya from the wealthiest, most economically advanced nation in Africa under Moammar Gadhafi to a hub for terrorists.
In addition to Mrs. Clinton’s absurd notion of lumping in Daesh with Hamas and Iran, she is also calling for doubling down on the previous disaster in Iraq. In her aforementioned speech at the Council on Foreign Relations she called for “more allied planes, more airstrikes and a broader target set” to combat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, urging Congress to approve a new authorization of the use of military force against Daesh. So, what is the lesson that she has learned from her mistake in voting for war in Iraq?
One of the most despicable moments in Hillary Clinton’s political career was when she bragged about what happened in Libya and to Gadhafi. “We came, we saw, he [Gadhafi] died,” Mrs. Clinton said to an aide after learning of Gadhafi’s death, echoing Julius Caesar, the Roman general and statesman. These six words demonstrate the imperialist nature of Hillary Clinton’s views better than any book or article or speech on her foreign policy.
As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton forcefully supported the NATO attacks on Libya and the so-called “humanitarian intervention” there. It was she who convinced many skeptical members of NATO that the alliance must support the intervention, and it was she who convinced the president that the U.S. must intervene in Libya, impose a no-fly zone there, and bomb the government’s troops and positions, in addition toarming the Islamic groups that were fighting with Gadhafi’s army. She “sold” the policy because it was supposedly “an opportunity for the United States to respond to an Arab request for help; it would increase U.S. standing in the Arab world, and it would send an important signal for the Arab Spring movement.” Yes, destroying an economically-advanced Arab nation would bolster U.S. standing with the Arab masses, most of whom despise other Arab dictators that we support in Saudi Arabia and the Arab nations of the Persian Gulfthat were after Gadhafi’s head.
Mrs. Clinton was advocating the intervention in Libya while the Pentagon was opposed to it. It has been reported that top Pentagon officials so deeply distrusted Mrs. Clinton about the war in Libya that they opened their own channels of communications with Gadhafi. Tapes recovered in Tripoli describe the conversations between the Pentagon’s emissary (apparently sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and a son of Gadhafi.
Further, secret intelligence emails by Sidney Blumenthal, an adviser to the Clintons, to Mrs. Clinton’s private email account clearly show that NATO was committing war crimes in Libya; that there was racial cleansing by the U.S.-supported rebels against black Libyans; that special forces from Egypt, Britain, and France that were training the rebels knew of their links with al-Qaida; that the main goals of then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was at the forefront of the intervention, were to obtain Libyan oil, improve his own reputation, and assert French military power, not any noble humanitarian goal; and that many rumors about Gadhafi’s alleged crimes against his people were just that, baseless rumors. Blumenthal also reported to Mrs. Clintonthat Gadhafi had 143 tons of gold and a comparable amount of silver valued at $7 billion, which were supposed to be used for the creation of a pan-African currency, so that France’s former colonies in Africa would not use the French franc, and this motivated Sarkozy to attack Libya.
Gadhafi offered to negotiate an end to the war, and even resign and leave Libya in order to avoid bloodshed in his country, but the goal of Mrs. Clinton was regime change and removing Gadhafi from power. Toppling Gadhafi and transforming Libya into a terrorist hub are not the only “achievements” of Mrs. Clinton’s disastrous policy. Unlike Western propaganda about Gadhafi’s rule, Libya was, in fact, a democracy that was more advanced than those in many other nations. As Harvard University scholar Garikai Chengu explained:
“Far from control being in the hands of one man, Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially ‘mini-autonomous States’ within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.
The Basic People’s Congress … was essentially Libya’s functional equivalent of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom or the House of Representatives in the United States.Libya’s People’s Congress was not comprised merely of elected representatives who discussed and proposed legislation on behalf of the people; rather, the Congress allowed all Libyans to directly participate in this process. Eight hundred People’s Congresses were set up across the country and all Libyans were free to attend and shape national policy and make decisions over all major issues including budgets, education, industry, and the economy.”
Even The New York Times conceded that Libya’s direct democracy was functioning. But, to paraphrase Mrs. Clinton, “the U.S. came, the U.S. saw, Libya died.”
As usual, Mrs. Clinton’s positions are subject to change without notice. The same person who advocated U.S. troops on the ground in the Middle East during the House hearing on the Benghazi attacks, changed her position again. Back in October, during the first debate among the Democratic candidates for president, when the subject of Syria and U.S. direct intervention there came up, Mrs. Clinton said: “We don’t want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that.”
If that were her position and she could consistently stick to it, we would at least have some idea where she stands. But she has repeatedly called for arming the opposition in Syria and imposing a no-fly zone there. The no-fly zone in Syria is a totally insane idea, because if the target is Daesh, it has no air force. So, who is the target? The Russian air force? What if Russian bombers and fighters entered the U.S.-imposed no-fly-zone?Mrs. Clinton apparently believes that the no-fly zone will give the U.S. and its allies leverage over Russia, an utterly absurd notion. She also seems to believe that such a zone does not necessarily imply that the U.S. would go to war with Russia, nor does it imply that the U.S. might shoot at Russian aircraft. The universe in which she lives is magical; anything is possible. Unfortunately, though, it runs parallel to our universe with no connection between the two.
Even if Daesh had a sort of rudimentary air force, has Mrs. Clinton not learned anything from the no-fly zone in Libya and the resulting catastrophe? Is it possible to arm the opposition in Syria, if most, if not all, of whom are terrorists, according to Vice President Joe Biden, and impose the no-fly zone without the presence of any U.S. military and intelligence advisers?
In Mrs. Clinton’s view, America is “exceptional,” which means that it should be able to intervene in any country it wishes, abide by international treaties when they suits American interests, and abandon them when it wants to. She presented us with a good example of this “exceptionalism” during the October presidential debate, when she said: “I think it’s important too that the United States make it very clear to Russia’s Vladimir Putin that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos, bombing people on behalf of Assad.” This is a politician who has been itching for a war with Iran for a long time, the same senator who voted for the Iraq War, and the same secretary of state who orchestrated the war in Libya. The latter two events have brought incredible destruction, bloodshed and chaos to the Middle East, but because she believes in “American exceptionalism,” she wants to lecture Mr. Putin on the virtues of non-intervention.
Never mind that regardless of whether one supports or rejects intervention in other nations, Russia is in Syria because its government, still recognized by the United Nations as the representative of the Syrian people,invited it. As far as we can tell, the White House has not received such an invitation. And do not forget that Mrs. Clinton called Syrian President Bashar Assad a reformer, and Secretary of State John Kerry referred to him as “a very generous man” and “my dear friend,” whom he visited several times. On the other hand, the U.S. is supporting the opposition in Syria, which is an act of war.
No true progressive advocates the type of imperialist wars that Hillary Clinton has championed. She is truly a mistress of deception, changing her positions all the time, hoping that she can deceive the people and present herself as progressive. She is a phony progressive, but a proven warmonger. If she is elected, we should expect war with Iran, as well as deeper intervention in Iraq and Syria. A vote for her would be a vote for more war.
The Warmongering Record of Hillary Clinton
ByGary Leupp* / Source: Counterpunch, February 11, 2015.
If reason and justice prevailed in this country, you’d think that the recent series of articles in the Washington Times concerning the U.S.-NATO attack on Libya in 2011 would torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects.
as U.S. Secretary of State at that time knew that Libya was no threat to the U.S. She knew that Muammar Gadhafi had been closely cooperating with the U.S. in combating Islamist extremism. She probably realized that Gadhafi had a certain social base due in part to what by Middle Eastern standards was the relatively equitable distribution of oil income in Libya.
But she wanted to topple Gadhafi. Over the objections of Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates but responding to the urgings of British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, she advocated war. Why? Not for the reason advertised at the time. (Does this sound familiar?) Not because Gadhafy was preparing a massacre of the innocents in Benghazi, as had occurred in Rwanda in 1994. (That episode, and the charge that the “international community” had failed to intervene, was repeatedly referenced by Clinton and other top officials, as a shameful precedent that must not be repeated. It had also been deployed by Bill Clinton in 1999, when he waged war on Serbia, grossly exaggerating the extent of carnage in Kosovo and positing the immanent prospect of “genocide” to whip up public support. Such uses of the Rwandan case reflect gross cynicism.)
No, genocide was not the issue, in Libya any more than in Kosovo. According to the Washington Times, high-ranking U.S. officials indeed questioned whether there was evidence for such a scenario in Libya. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that a mere 2,000 Libyan troops armed with 12 tanks were heading to Benghazi, and had killed about 400 rebels by the time the U.S. and NATO attacked. It found evidence for troops firing on unarmed protestors but no evidence of mass killing. It did not have a good estimate on the number of civilians in Benghazi but had strong evidence that most had fled. It had intelligence that Gadhafy had ordered that troops not fire on civilians but only on armed rebels.
The Pentagon doubted that Gadhafi would risk world outrage by ordering a massacre. One intelligence officer told the Washington Times that the decision to bomb was made on the basis of “light intelligence.” Which is to say, lies, cherry-picked information such as a single statement by Gadhafi (relentlessly repeated in the corporate press echoing State Department proclamations) that he would “sanitize Libya one inch at a time” to “clear [the country] of these rats.” (Similar language, it was said, had been used by Hutu leaders in Rwanda.) Now that the rats in their innumerable rival militias control practically every square inch of Libya, preventing the emergence of an effective pro-western government, many at the Pentagon must be thinking how stupid Hillary was.
No, the attack was not about preventing a Rwanda-like genocide. Rather, it was launched because the Arab Spring, beginning with the overthrow of the two dictators, President Ben Ali of Tunisia and President Mubarak of Egypt, had taken the west by surprise and presented it with a dilemma: to retain longstanding friendships (including that with Gadhafi, who’d been a partner since 2003) in the face of mass protests, or throw in its lot with the opposition movements, who seemed to be riding an inevitable historical trend, hoping to co-opt them?
Recall how Obama had declined up to the last minute to order Mubarak to step down, and how Vice President Joe Biden had pointedly declined to describe Mubarak as a dictator. Only when millions rallied against the regime did Obama shift gears, praise the youth of Egypt for their inspiring mass movement, and withdraw support for the dictatorship. After that Obama pontificated that Ali Saleh in Yemen (a key ally of the U.S. since 2001) had to step down in deference to protesters. Saleh complied, turning power to another U.S. lackey (who has since resigned). Obama also declared that Assad in Syria had “lost legitimacy,” commanded him to step down, and began funding the “moderate” armed opposition in Syria. (The latter have at this point mostly disappeared or joined al-Qaeda and its spin-offs. Some have turned coat and created the “Loyalists’ Army” backing Assad versus the Islamist crazies.)
Hillary, that supposedly astute stateswoman, believed that the Arab Spring was going to topple all the current dictators of the Middle East and that, given that, the U.S. needed to position itself as the friend of the opposition movements. Gadhafy was a goner, she reasoned, so shouldn’t the U.S. help those working towards his overthrow?
Of course the U.S. (or the combination of the U.S. and NATO) couldn’t just attack a sovereign state to impose regime change. It would, at any rate, have been politically damaging after the regime change in Iraq that had been justified on the basis of now well discredited lies. So the U.S. arm-twisted UNSC members to approve a mission to protect civilians in Libya against state violence. China and Russia declined to use their veto power (although as western duplicity and real motives became apparent, they came to regret this). The Libya campaign soon shifted from “peace-keeping” actions such as the imposition of a “no-fly” zone to overt acts of war against the Gadhafy regime, which for its part consistently insisted that the opposition was aligned with al-Qaeda.
The results of “Operation Unified Protector” have of course been absolutely disastrous. Just as the U,S. and some of its allies wrecked Iraq, producing a situation far worse than that under Saddam Hussein, so they have inflicted horrors on Libya unknown during the Gadhafi years. These include the persecution of black Africans and Tuaregs, the collapse of any semblance of central government, the division of the country between hundreds of warring militias, the destabilization of neighboring Mali producing French imperialist intervention, the emergence of Benghazi as an al-Qaeda stronghold, and the proliferation of looted arms among rebel groups. The “humanitarian intervention” was in fact a grotesque farce and huge war crime.
But the political class and punditry in this country do not attack Hillary for war crimes, or for promoting lies to validate a war of aggression. Rather, they charge her and the State Department with failure to protect U.S. ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and other U.S. nationals from the attack that occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. And they fault her for promoting the State Department’s initial “talking point” that the attack had been a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube film rather than a calculated terrorist attack. They pan her for sniping at a senator during a hearing, “What difference does it make (whether the attack had been launched by protestors spontaneously, or was a terrorist action planned by forces unleashed by the fall of the Gadhafi regime)”?
In other words: Hillary’s mainstream critics are less concerned with the bombing of Libya in 2011 that killed over 1100 civilians, and produced the power vacuum exploited by murderous jihadis, than by Hillary’s alleged concealment of evidence that might show the State Department inadequately protected U.S. diplomats from the consequences of the U.S.-orchestrated regime change itself. In their view, the former First Lady might have blood on her hands—but not that, mind you, of Libyan civilians, or Libyan military forces going about their normal business, or of Gadhafi who was sodomized with a knife while being murdered as Washington applauded.
No, she’s held accountable for the blood of these glorified, decent upstanding Americans who’d been complicit in the ruin of Libya.
This version of events is easy to challenge. It’s easy to show that Clinton skillfully—in full neocon mode, spewing disinformation to a clueless public—steered an attack on Libya that has produced enormous blowback and ongoing suffering for the Libyan people. If a right-wing paper like Washington Times can expose this, how much more the more “mainstream” press? Could they at least not raise for discussion whether what Rand Paul calls “Hillary’s war” was, like the Iraq War (and many others) based on lies? Shouldn’t Hillary be hammered with the facts of her history, and her vaunted “toughness” be exposed as callous indifference to human life?
While championing the rights of women and children, arguing that “it takes a village” to raise a child, Clinton has endorsed the bombing of villages throughout her public life. Here are some talking points for those appalled by the prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
She has always been a warmonger.As First Lady from January 1993, she encouraged her husband Bill and his secretary of state Madeleine Albright to attack Serbian forces in the disintegrating Yugoslavia—in Bosnia in 1994 and Serbia in 1999. She’s stated that in 1999 she phoned her husband from Africa. “I urged him to bomb,” she boasts. These Serbs were (as usual) forces that did not threaten the U.S. in any way. The complex conflicts and tussles over territory between ethnic groups in the Balkans, and the collapse of the Russian economy following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, gave Bill Clinton an excuse to posture as the world’s savior and to use NATO to impose order. Only the United States, he asserted, could restore order in Yugoslavia, which had been a proudly neutral country outside NATO and the Warsaw Pact throughout the Cold War. President Clinton and Albright also claimed that only NATO—designed in 1949 to counter a supposed Soviet threat to Western Europe, but never yet deployed in battle—should deal with the Balkan crises.
The Bosnian intervention resulted in the imposition of the “Dayton Accord” on the parties involved and the creation of the dysfunctional state of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Kosovo intervention five years later (justified by the scaremongering, subsequently disproven reports of a Serbian genocidal campaign against Kosovars) involved the NATO bombing of Belgrade and resulted in the dismemberment of Serbia. Kosovo, now recognized by the U.S. and many of its allies as an independent state, is the center of Europe’s heroin trafficking and the host of the U.S.’s largest army base abroad. The Kosovo war, lacking UN support and following Albright’s outrageous demand for Serbian acquiescence—designed, as she gleefully conceded, “to set the bar too high” for Belgrade and Moscow’s acceptance—of NATO occupation of all of Serbia, was an extraordinary provocation to Serbia’s traditional ally Russia. “They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get,” Albright said at the time, as NATO prepared to bomb a European capital for the first time since 1945.
Clinton has been a keen advocate for the expansion of an antiquated Cold War military alliance that persists in provoking Russia.In the same year that NATO bombed Belgrade (1999), the alliance expanded to include Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. But Clinton’s predecessor George H. W. Bush had promised Russia in 1989 that NATO would not expand eastward. And since the Warsaw Pact had been dissolved in 1991, and since Russia under Boris Yeltsin hardly threatened any western countries, this expansion has understandably been viewed in Russia as a hostile move. George Kennan, a former U.S. ambassador to the USSR and a father of the “containment” doctrine, in 1998 pronounced the expansion a “tragic mistake” with “no reason whatsoever.” But the expansion continued under George W. Bush and has continued under Obama. Russia is now surrounded by an anti-Russian military alliance from its borders with the Baltic states to the north to Romania and Bulgaria. U.S.-backed “color revolutions” have been designed to draw more countries into the NATO camp. Hillary as secretary of state was a big proponent of such expansion, and under her watch, two more countries (Albania and Croatia) joined the U.S.-dominated alliance.
(To understand what this means to Russia, imagine how Washington would respond to a Russia-centered “defensive” military alliance requiring its members to spend 2% of their GDPs on military spending and coordinate military plans with Moscow incorporating Canada and all the Caribbean countries, surrounding the continental U.S., and now moving to include Mexico. Would this not be a big deal for U.S. leaders?)
As New York senator Clinton endorsed the murderous ongoing sanctions against Iraq, imposed by the UN in 1990 and continued until 2003.Initially applied to force Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, the sanctions were sustained at U.S. insistence (and over the protests of other Security Council members) up to and even beyond the U.S. invasion in 2003. Bill Clinton demanded their continuance, insisting that Saddam Hussein’s (non-existent) secret WMD programs justified them. In 1996, three years into the Clinton presidency, Albright was asked whether the death of half a million Iraq children as a result of the sanctions was justified, and famously replied in a television interview, “We think it was worth it.” Surely Hillary agreed with her friend and predecessor as the first woman secretary of state. She also endorsed the 1998 “Operation Desert Fox” (based on lies, most notably the charge that Iraq had expelled UN inspectors) designed to further destroy Iraq’s military infrastructure and make future attacks even easier.
She was a strident supporter of the Iraq War.As a New York senator from 2001 to 2009, Hillary aligned herself with the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, earning a reputation as a hawk. She was a fervent supportive of the attack on Iraq, based on lies, in 2003. On the floor of the Senate she echoed all the fictions about Saddam Hussein’s “chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.” She declared, “He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.” She suggested that her decision to support war was “influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation.” (Presumably by the latter she meant the threats posed by Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo.) Her loss to Obama in the Democratic primary in 2008 was due largely to Obama’s (supposed) antiwar position contrasting with her consistently pro-war position. She has only vaguely conceded that her support for the invasion was something of a mistake. But she blames her vote on others, echoing Dick Cheney’s bland suggestion that the problem was “intelligence failures.” “If we knew know then what we know now,” she stated as she began her presidential campaign in late 2006, “I certainly wouldn’t have voted” for the war.
She actively pursued anti-democratic regime change in Ukraine.As secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, Clinton as noted above endorsed NATO’s relentless expansion. She selected to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs the neocon Victoria Nuland, who had been the principal deputy foreign advisor to Cheney when he was vice president. The wife of neocon pundit Robert Kagan, Nuland is a war hawk whose current mission in life is the full encirclement of Russia with the integration of Ukraine into the EU and then into NATO. The ultimate goal was the expulsion of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Crimean Peninsula (where it has been stationed since 1783). She has boasted of the fact that the U.S. has invested five billion dollars in supporting what she depicts as the Ukrainian people’s “European aspirations.” What this really means is that the U.S. exploited political divisions in Ukraine to topple an elected leader and replace him with Nuland’s handpicked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyev, deploying neo-Nazi shock troops in the process and generating a civil war that has killed over 5000 people.
Clinton has increasingly vilified Vladimir Putin, the popular Russian president, absurdly comparing the Russian re-annexation of the Crimean Peninsula following a popular referendum with Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland. She is totally on board the program of producing a new Cold War, and forcing European allies to cooperate in isolating the former superpower.
She wanted to provide military assistance to the “moderate” armed opposition in Syria, to effect regime change, and after leaving office criticized Obama for not supplying more than he did.In 2011 Clinton wanted the U.S. to arm rebels who quickly became aligned with the al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate) and other extreme Islamists, in order to bring down a secular regime that respects religious rights, rejects the implementation of Sharia law, and promotes the education of women. The U.S. indeed has supplied arms to anti-Assad forces from at least January 2014, But as it happens the bulk of U.S. aid to the “moderate rebels” has been appropriated by Islamists, and some of it is deployed against U.S. allies in Iraq. It is now widely understood that the bulk of “moderate” rebels are either in Turkish exile or directed by CIA agents, while the U.S. plans to train some 5000 new recruits in Jordan. Meanwhile Assad has won election (as fair as any held in a U.S. client state like Afghanistan or Iraq) and gained the upper hand in the civil war. U.S. meddling in Syria has empowered the Islamic State that now controls much of Syria and Iraq.
She has been an unremitting supporter of Israeli aggression, whenever it occurs.The Israeli newspaper Haaretz described her last year as “Israel’s new lawyer” given her sympathetic view of Binyamin Netanyahu’s 2014 bombardment of Gaza and even his desire to maintain “security” throughout the occupied West Bank. She postured as an opponent of Israel’s unrelenting, illegal settlements of Palestinian territory in 2009, but backed down when Netanyahu simply refused to heed U.S. calls for a freeze. In her memoir she notes “our early, hard line on settlements didn’t work”—as though she’s apologizing for it.
In 1999 as First Lady, Hillary Clinton hugged and kissed Yassir Arafat’s wife Suha during a trip to the West Bank. She advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state. She changed her tune when she ran for the New York Senate seat. When it comes to the Middle East, she is a total, unprincipled opportunist.
Hillary tacitly endorsed the military coup against elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009, refusing to call it such (even though Obama did).She made common cause with those who feared his effort to poll the people about constitutional reform would weaken their positions, made nice with the ensuing regime and made sure Zelaya would not return to office.
She provoked China by siding with Japan in the Senkaku/ Daioyutai dispute.Departing from the State Department’s traditional stance that “we take no position” on the Sino-Japanese dispute about sovereignty over the Senkaku/ Daioyutai islands in the East China Sea, seized by Japan in 1895, Clinton as secretary of state emphasized that the islands fall within the defense perimeters of the U.S.-Japanese alliance. The warmongering neocon National Review in a piece entitled “In Praise of Hillary Clinton” praised her for “driving the Chinese slightly up a wall.”
She helped bring down a Japanese prime minister who heeded the feelings of the people of Okinawa, who opposed the Futenma Marine Corps Air Force Station on the island.The new prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan defeated the slavishly pro-U.S. Liberal Democratic Party in the general election of 2009, had promised to move the hated U.S. base in the heart of Ginowan city for the noise, air pollution and public safety hazards it causes. Clinton met with him, listened sympathetically, and said “no.” Hatoyama was obliged to apologize to the people of Okinawa, essentially conceding that Japan remains an occupied nation that doesn’t enjoy sovereignty. Nationwide his public support ratings fell from 70 to 17% and he was obliged to resign in shame after eight months in office.
She made countless trips to India, signing bilateral economic and nuclear cooperation agreements with a country her husband had placed under sanctions for its nuclear tests in 1998.While castigating North Korea for its nuclear weapons program, and taking what a CIA analyst called a “more hard line, more conditional, more neoconservative [approach] than Bush during the last four years of his term,” she signaled that India’s nukes were no longer an issue for the U.S. India is, after all, a counterweight to China.
What can those who revere her point to in this record that in any way betters the planet or this country? Clinton’s record of her tenure in the State Department is entitled Hard Choices, but it has never been hard for Hillary to choose brute force in the service of U.S. imperialism and its controlling 1%.
This is a country of 323 million people. 88% of those over 25 have graduated high school. The world respects U.S. culture, science, and technology. Why is it that out of our well-educated, creative masses the best that the those who decide these things—the secretive cliques within the two official, indistinguishable political parties who answer to the 1% and who decide how to market electoral products—can come up with is the likely plate of candidates for the presidential election next year? Why is it that, while we all find it ridiculous that North Korea’s ruled by its third Kim, Syria by its second Assad, and Cuba by its second Castro, the U.S. electorate may well be offered a choice between another Clinton and another Bush? As though their predecessors of those surnames were anything other than long-discredited warmongering thugs?
* Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University.