cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

Welcome to part two of my three-part series on why I am not supporting Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. If you missed part one, you can find it here. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that on the day part one dropped, so did Clinton’s Iowa poll numbers. Perhaps Democrats are waking up.

Part Two will focus on this illegal, immoral and clusterf*ck of a war we’ve got going in Iraq and Clinton’s part in getting us to this place while utterly refusing to acknowledge that she was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Post 9/11 “patriotism”

As a woman and a New York senator, Hillary probably had to come across as tougher than average following the September 11 attacks. I know that after 9/11 lots of sensible people found redeeming qualities in Bush and decided, despite red flags to the contrary, to trust him. I was not one of those people, but by and large, the public was behind the man. In my way of thinking, that is exactly when a discerning eye is most needed. It’s easy to stand up to Bush when he’s at a 30 percent approval rating. Do it when he’s at 70 percent and people are challenging your patriotic bona fides, and you might just be a leader. Hillary Clinton was not a leader.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I’m quoting extensively from the research in Her Way. The authors’ work reconstructing the period from 9/11 through most of the Iraq war is incredibly valuable and depressing.

Right after 9/11, from the Senate floor, Hillary vowed that any country choosing to harbor terrorists and “in any way aid or comfort them whatsoever will now face the wrath of our country.” That’s just stupidness talking, and I hate when any politician picks up useless words and reuses them, thinking they are a substitute for strategy, leadership or clear thinking. How exactly do you comfort a terrorist in any way whatsoever? If a terrorist slips and falls on my pillow, did I comfort him? Why the talk of wrath? This knee-jerk and far-reaching violent response should have tipped us off.


The key issue around Clinton’s Iraq vote is yet to come, however:

What has not been discussed publicly is whether she specifically read the classified version of the National Intelligence Estimate, the most comprehensive judgment of the intelligence ommunity about Iraq’s WMD, which was made available to all one hundred senators. The ninety-page clasified report was delivered to Congress on October 1, 2002, just ten days before the Senate vote. An abridged summary was made public by the Bush administration, but it painted a far less subtle picture of Iraq’s weapons program than the full classified report, part of which was later declassified. To get a complete picture, one needed to read the entire classified document

Hillary still had no one on her staff with the security clearances needed to read the NIE and the other highly classified reports that pertained to Iraq. This put more pressure on her to read these reports herself. Senators could easily access the NIE in a secure room on the fourth floor of the Capitol or in the offices of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rather incredibly, given the magnitude of the vote to come, only six senators personally read the report.

WTF, and hold the damned phone. Stop the game. Do not pass go. I want to know the names of the six, and the rest I want thrown out of office and into jail. This has got to count as gross negligence. How hard is it to read 90 pages when war is on the line? I bet these Senators read more than 90 pages from their campaign donors. Don’t we elect these people to do a job? Isn’t it part of the job to do the basic prerequisite reading before pushing the giant kill button on the national war apparatus? We are doomed as a people when a $400 haircut gets more attention than such a flagrant and dangerous abdication of responsibility, and we let it slide.

The French people go on strike when someone threatens to stop paying them long after they stop working. We Americans just head to community-destroying Wal-Mart for a re-up on useless “consumer goods” while trillions of dollars are raided from our treasury and tens of thousands of our children are mentally and physically traumatized by war and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are murdered in our name. We are so screwed.

In 2007 there was a bit of a stink around Hillary when she was asked at a campaign stop if she read the NIE. She claimed she “was briefed” but as Her Way points out, “none of her own aides could possibly have done so.” The book continues:

The question of whether Hillary took the time to read the NIE is critically important. Unlike the abridged and sanitized summary, the longer, classified version of the Intelligence Estimate contained numerous caveats and dissents on Iraq’s weapons and capabilities, making it sound less certain that the country posed a legitimate threat to the United States.

On the floor of the Senate October 10, 2002, Hillary ran off her list of reasons for supporting the vote. Among them she stated Saddam had given “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members,” but as Gerth and Van Natta point out, “Hillary’s link between Iraq’s leader and Al Qaeda, however, was unsupported by the conclusions of the NIE, as well as by several other classified reports and unclassified documents that were available before the Senate vote.”

That’s a fancy way of saying she made the ish up or went along with Bush, Cheney and the other criminals drooling for a chance to wave their Halliburton-inflated penises around in the Middle East.

The kicker: “In fact, the lone Democratic Senator who came close to echoing Hillary’s hawkish remarks about Hussein’s alleged assistance to Al Qaeda was Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.” Nuff said.

Since that dreadful mistake, Hillary has been willing to refer to it as anything but. She’s said she “takes responsibility” for her vote, but what does that mean? If I drive drunk and kill four members of a family, I don’t take responsibility for my actions by talking about how I take responsibility for my actions. I go to jail. I do community service. I suffer pariah status within my community. I pay a price. There is accountability. Real leaders don’t talk about how they take responsibility. They simply do it.

Code Pink implored her.

Thanks to Her Way, I found the following YouTube video of Code Pink insisting on getting time with Clinton shortly before the war was to be launched. They actually traveled to Iraq to see the situation on the ground. They returned with a message. Watch as much as you want. I recommend starting at about minute 5:00.

Key statement from Code Pink:

We know you have talked about it takes a village to raise a child. We know it takes a bomb to destroy a village. And we’ve seen that around the world. We don’t want to see that again. We want you to help us protect the Iraqi women, the Iraqi children, and we want you to help us protect our children. And you also know much better than we do that every state in this nation is suffering from deficits right now. We know we need that money to go to child care to go to health care, to fighting things like AIDS around the world. We don’t think we can afford to spend billions of dollars on killing people in Iraq. We know that you’re a wonderful woman, and deep down we really think you agree with us.

They were wrong, and I think many others are wrong to this day. Hillary Clinton is not an anti-war candidate. She’s quite hawkish on the whole military thing. She’s probably not the change candidate. She’s not going to radically open government to the people. We project our own values, hopes and dreams onto the nearest available leader, and like a broken relationship, we think we can change them.

Few constituencies know this better than Black America when it comes to the Clintons. The boy has rhythm, can play the sax and is comfortable around Black people. All the sudden we think he’s the second coming of Martin Luther the King. Many refer to him as the first black president. It’s insanity.

Those Code Pink women wanted desperately for Hillary to say, “Oh you’re right. Thanks for seeing deep into my heart and reminding me of my roots and who I really am,” but she did not. Hillary did not care about the millions of Iraqi women and children. Her vote tells us that. Hillary Clinton is not the leader we want her to be. She’s who she is. The sooner we acknowledge that the sooner we can start to evaluate her and all candidates back here among the land of the mortals. Hillary really wanted to believe that Bush would sincerely pursue diplomacy, and many of us really want to believe the Hillary didn’t screw this thing up. She and we were wrong together.

“I voted for diplomacy.”

My final beef with Clinton’s war vote and her subsequent representation of it revolves around her claim that she was “voting for diplomacy.” That is so disingenuous, and I’ll explain why, again thanks to some text from Her Way

…she stressed the need for diplomacy with Iraq on the part of the Bush administration and insisted she wasn’t voting for “any new doctrine of preemption, or for unilateralism.” Yet just a few hours later, Hillary voted against an amendment to the war resolution that would have required the diplomatic emphasis Hillary had earlier gone on record as supporting — and which she now says she had favored all along

The long-overlooked vote was on an amendment that had been introduced by several Senate Democrats who hoped to rein in President Bush’s authority by require a two-step process before Congress would actually authorize the use of force.

Oops. Busted. Funny how facts get in the way of a good story huh? The problem with trying to rewrite history is that we now have a pretty good record of the first draft.

Why Am I Making Such a Big Deal Of This?

Am I playing “gotcha” or “the blame game?” You’re damn right I am. This is war! Our leaders seem to have forgotten this, while the women of Code Pink had exactly the right idea and called the outcome well in advance. We have destroyed a nation. We bombed its history into rubble. There is no more Iraq. Peace is done there. We have ripped families apart. We have sent millions fleeing into neighboring countries. We have created monsters of our own children. We have multiplied war profiteering, treasonous life sucking entities. We have bankrupted our treasury and our children’s treasury. We may not recover from this war for a generation or two. Of course I’m playing the blame game. It was designed for just such an occasion.

Now we have the same macho talk being directed at Iran. I’ve seen this movie before. It sucked, and the sequels are always worse.

I know politicians have to survive, and their lifeblood consists of money and votes (probably in that order), but we’re not talking about naming a national park. We’re talking about killing people. Killing people.

You do not get to slide on this. You do not get to simply say, “I take responsibility for my vote.” You enabled this crazy incompetent mofo to go tearing up the world, using our military and our kids as his personal play toy, so you could “look tough.” Why didn’t you just wear the flight suit right next to him on the aircraft carrier and join his self-delusional land of make believe? I have no patience for people who only pay lip service to their “solemn oath” with regard to using the military.

For Hillary Clinton, the Iraq War was not just a massive mistake in judgment, but it was also a massively missed opportunity. Just imagine how things might have been different if someone with her clout had the courage to speak up when it mattered. Not only could she have avoided the box she voted herself into, but given her name and power, she might have been just what other Senators and Congresspeople were looking for. She might have influenced them to follow her example. She might have led. Just imagine, as Kucinich said in the last debate, “what it would be like to have a president that was right the first time.”

This has been part two of my series explaining my frustration with Hillary Clinton and why I do not support her campaign. Tomorrow, I will post part three, the final part, on why two Clintons are worse than one. As always, I welcome comments.

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