Hillary's telling the truth — that's the problem


Hillary Clinton has been called everything from a hawk to a “war goddess” (by AntiWar.com‘s Justin Raimondo, and on a regular basis). But just how strong on defense is she?

We all know that she voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq and dragged her heels on turning against the war. Regarding Iran, she has insisted that “we cannot take any option off the table.”

Also, she was the only Democratic senator to support the Kyl-Lieberman amendment which called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to be designated a terrorist organization. The better, she maintained to “apply greater diplomatic pressure on Iran.”

“See?” a supporter might exclaim. “Once elected president, she’ll choose diplomacy over war every time. She just talks like that to win.”

Many a sober-sided soul misplaced their critical faculties in the wake of 9/11. Are we being too hard on Hillary? In the spirit of the holiday season, shouldn’t we let bygones be bygones?

Sure — if any of the above instances were aberrations. But, as Stephen Zunes demonstrates in a three-part blockbuster series on Foreign Policy in Focus, Hillary’s not talking tough just to win votes. Far from the option of last resort for her, force comes in a much-too-close-for-comfort second to diplomacy.

In articles on her Iraq, military, and international law policies, Zunes demonstrates that they’re consistent with those she supported, and even advocated, while her husband was president.

Reading all three will outfit you with all the talking points you need to disarm a Hillary supporter. We’ve cherry-picked the most eye-opening.

  • Of her White House days, Zunes writes that “when President Bill Clinton and others correctly expressed concerns that bombing Serbia would likely lead to. . . ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Hillary Clinton successfully pushed her husband to bomb that country anyway. She also defended the bombing raid on the Sudanese chemical weapons plant that wasn’t. (If you’ll recall, it was a pharmaceutical plant.)
  • Hillary supports military aid, including missiles which can be nuclear weaponized, to Israel, Pakistan and India, all of which have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. She even voted to end restrictions on US nuclear cooperation with such states.
  • After defending Israel’s right to occupy Palestinian territory, not to mention its erection of The Wall, she denounced the International Court of Justice for calling on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law.
  • Besides supporting her husband’s bombing of Iraq, Hillary, Zunes writes, “has expressed pride that [his] administration changed underlying U.S. policy toward Iraq from ‘containment’ to ‘regime change.'” Hindsight may be 20/20, but imagine seeking credit for that!
  • During the Senate debate over the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, Clinton was the only Democrat to accept all of the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq.
  • When Barack Obama noted that the use of nuclear weapons against terrorists amounted to overkill, Hillary replied, “I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.”

As if the above weren’t troubling enough, Hillary’s stances and votes on international law are downright chilling.

  • In 2002, she voted in favor of an amendment by Senator Jesse Helms (yes, you read that right) prohibiting the United States from cooperating with the International Criminal Court. In other words, when it comes to prosecuting for genocide in Darfur, don’t look at us.
  • After Israel’s 2002 offensive in the West Bank, Hillary opposed UN efforts to investigate alleged Iraqi war crimes by Israeli occupation forces. Even more startling, she criticized President Bush for calling on Israel to pull back.
  • Finally, she refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines. Then she voted down a Democratic-sponsored resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries using them against civilian-populated areas. Just keeping defense donors happy or are these legitimate weapons to her?

At this point her supporters are backing away from you. They need to return to campaign headquarters pronto in order to nurse their wounds and restore their denial to health.

Why is she even a Democrat? As we all know, Democratic presidents are almost as likely to wage war as Republican. Then what’s with her reputation as a liberal?

Zunes explains that since “most of the public criticism of the former first lady has been based on false and exaggerated charges from the far right. . . many liberals become defensive and reluctant to criticize her. Many also ironically start believing [the far right’s] claim she is some kind of left-winger.”

It’s almost as if the cover of arch-liberal with which conservatives have conveniently provided Hillary allows her inner hawk to fly free.

The good news is that she’s not dissembling to get elected. That’s also the bad news. Thanks to the efforts of people like Stephen Zunes, more and more of us understand that, with Hillary and her militaristic proclivities, what you see is what you get.

12 replies »

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  2. You go, Dom Pierre. Well observed.

    You know what Hillary is? She’s a Compassionate Conservative.

  3. Stephen Zone is so far to the left, he’s hanging onto the planet by his fingernails. That he see’s Hillary as a hawk comes as no surprise, he would view the Sainted Mother Theresa as a hawk. Please don’t try to convince me to go the way of an individual that is as radical to the left, as the rightwing bible clubers are to the right. How about some common sense here……Hillary will make a fine president.

  4. Compared to the Shrub, a shrub would make a fine president.

    Hillary is no Liberal, no Democrat. I guess what Zune says being true and accurate is irrelevant, if you point out unhappy facts about someone, right?

    But, then, isn’t that what politics is these days? Make sure you appeal to the polls when on camera and shun anyone that shines light on the inner bowels of actual voting records? Gawd forbid we should know where you behave, we should all just accept your label and lip service as gospel.

  5. Sister Mary Eve…argued like a true authoritarian, full of ad hominens, absent any actual facts. You never counter any of Zunes’ (it’s spelled with a “U”) claims, just slime him and make a groundless assertion. Maybe you could re-read the part about “denial”.

  6. She wasn’t always a Democrat. She was raised a Republican, and was an active Goldwater Girl. She hasn’t “The Conscience of a Conservative” (Goldwater’s bestseller) or the conscience of a Liberal. She has no values at all.

  7. Unfortunately George W. Bush’s lies and paranoid inducing “EVERYONE’S A TERRORIST!” schtick has caused alot of people to forget that Iran IS a country that needs monitoring…As Clinton forced tougher sanctions on Iran during the mid-90’s…It was Cheney who was holding Iran’s hand, and created the subsidiary of Halliburton…Not Hillary or Bill. Her vote on the Iran resolution, IMHO was the right one…The Iraq resolution, from what I can see, had everyone running for cover…if lies and made up intel was presented to me as the admin did, maybe I’d have voted for more coercive action also…because DIPLOMACY was promised, upfront. Under normal Presidents, that resolution would have been simply a deterrent, not a green light for immediate war.

    As for bombing Serbia, it was the right thing to do for NATO…and carried out much more effectively and competently than this Iraq debacle. It stopped the war didn’t it? And who were the one’s crying about it back then? The republicans mostly…saying the same things we Dems are saying about Iraq…only Clinton was actually effective.

    The US complete support of Israel makes me nervous; I am not an expert on Israel by any means, but I do think we should be much more neutral on that front.

    Some of these things make me uncomfortable, yes…but compared to other candidates, I do not question Hillary’s competence, her American-ness, and after reading her ‘real’ history (i.e. through the lies of the right wing nutters, and even some extreme liberals) I feel ultimately that she would make a good President.

    After reading the ABA’s report on Signing Statements, and Bill Clinton’s versions, it is evident that Clinton valued American civil liberties. It’s my assumption that via extension, Hillary will be of the same mind.

    Of course, we all know that any Democrat would make a better President than Hillary, simply because Republicans will lay out the red carpet, throw roses, and gleefully support any issues the Democrat (excluding Hillary) would champion. Hah, yea right..there goes that “divisive” theory…Understand, the roots of divisivenss come from teh REPUBLICANS…sown by “Rovian” asses…..Hillary can bridge the divide…look at NY.

  8. Possible the only thing worse than a neo-con is someone who abets, supports and outdoes them purely out of ambition.