It is difficult to find anyone at this site who will defend Hillary Clinton’s 2003 vote to give George W. Bush the material support to go to war in Iraq. Hell, even Hillary says that was a mistake.
Some here will say, and have said, that one bad — actually, truly awful — vote is not enough to determine an opinion about a candidate. There is some truth in that. But my own opposition to Clinton’s candidacy is based on foreign affairs, where the differences between her and Bernie Sanders stand out even more dramatically than they do on domestic policies.
Hillary Clinton is a hawk, in the sense that the “best and the brightest” were hawks during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Their policies almost destroyed their party, and the country as a whole veered towards rebellion because of their militarist adventures and crimes in Southeast Asia.
The GOP took up their policy in Vietnam. Henry Kissinger was one of the architects of the later stages of the war in Vietnam, such as the secret bombing of Cambodia (as Johnson had secretly bombed Laos) and the counterinsurgency extension of Operation Phoenix, the CIA’s program with South Vietnam forces that arrested, tortured and murdered tens of thousands, many of them innocents, in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Even more, Kissinger gave the go-ahead signal to the militaries and intelligence agencies of South American countries to conduct their widespread killings and kidnapping disappearances that were transnationally organized as Operation Condor. Condor ran their radio operations through U.S. communications facilities. One of the most famous acts of terrorism on U.S. soil before 9/11, were the killings of Orlando Letelier and his associate on the streets of Embassy Row in Washington DC — an assassination that can be traced back to the supportive policies of Kissinger and Nixon and their CIA for the Pinochet coup in Chile.
Today, Hillary Clinton’s prime example of a foreign policy adviser is Henry Kissinger. You don’t have to look closer than the disastrous U.S. intervention in Libya (and I’m talking as a whole here, not about Benghazi) and Kissinger’s advocacy of same to see where a Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.
But even on a purely moral level, to lionize a man who most of the world considers a war criminal, as Hillary does Kissinger, should be anathema for any person who claims to have a progressive bone in their body.
The New York Times published not too long ago an op-ed by Princeton professor Gary Bass, who reminded readers of America’s shame, by which he meant the support Nixon and Kissinger gave to the genocidal murders by the Pakistani army of East Bengalis during the war of independence of the latter in the early 1970s. Hundreds of thousands were killed and millions escaped as refugees from terror of the Pakistani army. But Nixon and Kissinger supported the Pakistani generals. According to Bass, “Kissinger sneered at people who ‘bleed’ for ‘the dying Bengalis.’”
While Bernie Sanders has not been sufficiently antiwar in all instances to meet my tastes, importantly he has criticized Clinton for supporting the policy of regime change abroad. “Regime change” is a code word for intervention around the change to install regimes that are servile to U.S. economic and military needs. Another term to describe it is naked imperialism.
Sanders and others who voted no to give the U.S. power to go to war in Iraq knew and argued that the result would be terrible. They were right, and the result of a wrong policy can be measured literally in many tens of thousands of corpses and millions of gallons of blood.
It’s not just votes for war, either. Clinton has voted against the banning of cluster bombs, which are terror weapons when used against civilian populations, horrifically maiming and killing women and children — and that’s precisely how they have been used by the U.S., the Saudis, the Israelis, and more. Sanders has voted to ban such weapons, Clinton has not.
There’s much more that could be said and written about the dangers of foreign policy adventures and possibly wars under a Hillary Clinton administration. For those who believe her policies would merely be a continuation of those under Obama, think again. Clinton was reportedly a hawk even within the Obama administration, and even pushed strenuously for more U.S. military intervention in Syria.
But Clinton called for further US special forces to be deployed to Syria too, reiterated her call for a no-fly zone and demanded an “intelligence surge” to allow the airstrikes against Isis to be stepped up. “We have a lot of work to do to really decimate Isil in Iraq and Syria,” she said, using an alternate name for Isis. www.theguardian.com/...
Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy experience boils down to an identification and personal connections with major figures in the military-intelligence world. A Clinton administration will mean more Kissingers, more Petraeuses, more of the neocon imperialist agenda which the Obama administration itself could not find a way to fully separate from.
This country cannot afford another military and financial disaster along the lines of the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The dangers of a third world war are not purely imaginary. Clinton’s bellicose stance towards Putin’s Russia, and aggressive support of pushing NATO up to the very borders of that state (her support for NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia was called “reckless” in a Baltimore paper op-ed recently) is creating a tripwire for that very war.
It is not only on domestic policy that Democrats face an important choice this election year, but issues of war and interventions and foreign policy are arguably even more important.
I respect those who have and are supporting Hillary Clinton. I respect the reasons for doing so. It would be great, and long overdue, that a woman be president of a land that purports to stand for human equality. But I ask those supporters to think about the issues raised and vote for the future, not the past. Sadly, Hillary Clinton has embraced the militarist policies of past administrations.
Vote for the future. Vote for the candidate who is skeptical about U.S. military ambitions and speaks of peace. Vote for Bernie Sanders.