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Hillary's Telling the Truth -- and That's the Problem

12.27.2007 | POLITICS

Hillary Clinton has been called everything from a hawk to a "war goddess" (by'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.

About the Author
Russ Wellen is an editor at Freezerbox who specializes in foreign affairs and nuclear deproliferation.
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