This writer remains puzzled and bemused by the seemingly universal Democratic love that is being showered upon the only major announced Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton. He receives endless requests from such organizations as ‘Emily’s List’, the ‘Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’ and ‘Florida for Hillary’ for his hard-earned money, to support the coronation of the former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State. These solicitations generally include the number of people who have already donated, and the sums that have been reached, which are always just short of the goal. This writer, it is implied, can be the one to put Mrs. Clinton over the top.
But why, this writer sincerely wants to know, is there such enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton? What has she done, in all her years of public life, to warrant it? When has she ever achieved something for the greater good, and not disappointed? Thinking of Mrs. Clinton, one is reminded of Paris Hilton, a basically useless creature who is famous simply for being famous. Is Mrs. Clinton so different? Perhaps she is; at least Ms. Hilton isn’t dangerous.
Let us look at just one situation in which Mrs. Clinton could have taken a principled stand, but chose instead the easier path of political expediency.
Following the attacks on the U.S. in September of 2001, the administration of President George Bush worked to produce some link between those attacks, and oil-rich Iraq. United States intelligence could find no credible link, information the Bush Administration had, but didn’t share with Congress. But an invasion of Iraq was required by the self-styled ‘War President’. In order to do so, some dubious connection between Al-Quada and Iraq, and publically proclaimed accusations that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that were aimed directly at the U.S., caused a frightened and gullible U.S. population to want some kind of revenge against the September crimes, and prevention of future such events. So the Iraq War Resolution (formally the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution) of 2002 was passed in October of that year, with twenty-nine Democratic senators voting in favor of it. Included in that disgraceful list was none other than the Democrat’s current darling, Mrs. Clinton. Two years later, when the death toll was mounting, and Iraq was descending into civil war, Mrs. Clinton said she had no regrets about her vote, although she felt that Mr. Bush had mishandled the entire situation.
Now, although Mr. Bush chose to conceal important facts from Congress, let us look at some of the facts that were widely known at that time.
* Weapons inspectors, let by Hans Blix of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were gaining unprecedented access to any site in Iraq that they requested, as they searched for those ‘weapons of mass destruction’. They were finding none.
* Some of the U.S.’s closest allies, including Russia, Canada and France, refused to participate in any invasion, wanting the weapons inspectors to continue their work, and finding dubious U.S. proclamations about the risk Iraq posed to the world.
* Throughout the world, millions of people protested against the coming invasion.
So based on those three facts, there are some questions Mrs. Clinton has never adequately answered:
* Why authorize a war, when the reason for it, in this case to remove weapons of mass destruction, was doubtful at best? If one is going to start a war (and this writer is far from convinced that that particular form of mass murder is ever justified), shouldn’t one at least wait to see if the reason is valid?
* Is there no value in listening to the thoughtful consideration of trusted allies? If many other countries, especially those that don’t rely on U.S. foreign aid, and are therefore somewhat freer to express an honest opinion, oppose a major U.S. policy, one fraught with risks, shouldn’t some attention be paid to them?
* Lastly, if U.S. elected representatives want to ignore world opinion, that is one thing. But with massive opposition to the invasion demonstrated in the streets of the U.S., does that not call perhaps for a delay in the war process, so more information can be obtained, and the worries of the populace considered?
Apparently, such trivial considerations as there not being a real reason for war, opposition by allies, and the voice of the citizenry, were not worthy of Mrs. Clinton’s notice. Rather, she may have thought, don’t risk appearing to be weak on terrorism (whatever that is); in twenty-first century U.S. political circles, that may be as damaging as being weak on Communism was a generation ago. No, better not to rock the political boat, when one is merely a junior senator and has an eye on a return to the White House, this time as the star and not just a supporting character. After all, what do statesmanship, principled leadership and morality have to do with governing in the U.S? It’s sound bites for the evening news that count.
Mrs. Clinton may have been short-sighted, and missed an important opportunity. It can be argued that she, and not that upstart senator from Illinois, would have been nominated for president in 2008, had she voted against that authorization for war. And while the Democratic base may have a short memory, she will need whatever remains of the real left in order to win; too many people on the right despise her, so she will need the votes of everyone left of center.
But can she rely on them? This writer sincerely hopes not. While the Republican nominating circus has just begun, with the expected clowns performing for their base, it is time for Democrats to see Mrs. Clinton for the opportunist she is, and look for a viable alternative. That such a person will emerge is unlikely, and this is indicative of the sad state of political and governmental affairs in the U.S.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).