Over the past weekend Hillary Clinton pledged to end the war in Iraq if she is elected. “If we in Congress don’t end this war before January 2009, as president, I will,” she told a large crowd at the Democratic National Committee’s winter convention in Washington.
It was the first time since announcing her candidacy that Hillary acknowledged the growing movement against the war when discussing Iraq, which faced its bloodiest period since the invasion almost four years ago with over 1,000 reported deaths in the last seven days alone. Also in attendance at the DNC meeting were other presidential hopefuls, including John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, who both attempted to paint themselves as the best antiwar candidate in the hunt for the White House.
The top candidates’ tepid words on Iraq were a sign of what’s to come over the next year and a half as their rhetorical talents are turned on high. Despite Obama’s reassurance that he did not support the war from the beginning, along with Edwards’ claims that he’s had a change of heart on his past pro-war votes — neither candidate distinguished their position from the Bush administration when it came to the looming Iran confrontation.
In fact two weeks earlier, while visiting Israel, Edwards laid out his position on Iran quite succinctly:
“Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons The vast majority of people are concerned about what is going on in Iraq. This will make the American people reticent toward going for Iran. But I think the American people are smart if they are told the truth, and if they trust their president. So Americans can be educated to come along with what needs to be done with Iran.”
Hillary Clinton pushed virtually the same bitter line while addressing the annual AIPAC convention held in New York City last week. “U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons,” Clinton told the crowd of Israel supporters. “In dealing with this threat … no option can be taken off the table.”
Barack Obama has also been upfront about how he would deal with Iran, arguing that he would not rule out the use of force and supports surgical strikes of alleged nuclear sites in the country if diplomacy (read: coercion) fails. To put it bluntly, none of the front running Democrats are opposed to Bush’s dubious “war on terror” or his bullying of Iran. They support his aggression in principle but simply believe a Democratic presidency could handle the job more astutely. All put Israel first and none are going to fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
Times like these require bravery. They require a fight. A fight against immoral and illegal policies. A fight against tyranny. A fight for freedom. Freedom from hatred. Freedom from occupation. Americans and the people of the Middle East deserve better than Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. They deserve to live their lives without the threat of warfare and bloodshed. They deserve to live without fear.
JOSHUA FRANK, author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, edits www.BrickBurner.org