Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal

The Republican case against Hillary Clinton over the supposed scandal in Benghazi was always thin at best.  You have to remember that this scandal emerged because Mitt Romney, then running for President (what an outlandish idea?  How did we ever contemplate such an absurdity?) couldn’t be bothered to tell the difference between Libya and Egypt and therefore mistook reports coming out of the latter for commentary on the former.  The GOP scented a scandal.  But instead of letting facts carry the day, after it was clear that the mishap resulted from their candidate’s stupidity rather than anything the administration said or did, the GOP began to manufacture a scandal.

More details have been coming out in the past week about the extent to which the “scandal” supposedly embroiling UN Secretary Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was never much of a “scandal” in the first place.  I suspect that this storm in a teacup was cooked up at a Tea Party, both as a result of Republican representatives’ blind hatred of the President and as part of a more concerted Republican effort to find a “scandal” to pin on the Secretary of State in her final months in office.
But now it would be nice if we could put Benghazi aside and focus on the real scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s assumed run for the presidency in 2016.  Because there is one.  And it’s not some crackpot conspiracy that’s so well hidden you eventually realise it never existed, but rather something that’s right out in the open.
I refer, of course, to the fact that the former Senator and Secretary of State is for all intents and purposes, a practising neoconservative.  That’s right, in her foreign policy outlook, she is basically representative of the same sadistic ideology so spectacularly repudiated by American votes in the successive elections in 2006 and 2008. 
Clinton entered the Senate the year of 9/11, and many of her labours there were defined by an effort to appear “tough on terror”.  This mean that she rubber-stamped the administration’s headlong rush into a now 12-year war in Afghanistan.  We have not only failed to extricate ourselves from this war which has conspicuously failed to eradicate the threat of terrorism, but which instead has promoted its fluorescence.  We have steadily expanded the war such that it is now waged in neighbouring Pakistan.  Clinton also signed up to the neoconservative drive to expand the security state via the Patriot Act. 
When presented with a transparently manufactured case against Iraq, Clinton demonstrated an inability or disinclination to sift through contradictory where not outright inaccurate “evidence”, and opted to rubber stamp our march towards a terroristic war of aggression.  That war—it claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, whose cities and infrastructure were reduced to rubble—not only created new threats to our citizenry, but with that in Afghanistan spawned a matrix of terroristic activities.  Torture, rendition, disappearance, abduction, and targeted killings have all soiled our nation and destroyed the lives of thousands of people around the world.
In 2008, President Obama argued that we needed to reorient our relations with the family of nations.  But not only did he find himself trapped by the hard-charging generals who used media appearances to subvert the central premise of civilian control over policy, he also appointed the likes of Hillary Clinton to a key national security post, from which she advocated for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan and pushed for the expansion of the U.S. War of Terror to Somalia, Yemen, and North Africa. 
The popular risings of the Arab Spring represented one of the greatest opportunities for democratisation our world had seen in a generation.  But Hillary Clinton (together with Joe Biden) urged the President to side with our long-time supporters—ruthless dictators and keptocratic royal families—at the expense of the people pleading for democracy.  That outlook, which ultimately prevailed, turned a moment of extraordinary potential into one of great danger and uncertainty, and meant that the United States will be remembered as a friend of authoritarianism and an enemy of democracy in that region for some time to come.
At a time when our approach to international affairs is so obviously inadequate and needs re-thinking, it is absurd to contemplate the enthronement—and make no mistake, the Democratic Party has no interest in a competitive primary election—of a politician who has eschewed critical thinking in her execution of foreign policy.  Hillary Clinton has shown a scandalous subservience to the logic of the military industrial machine.  She has evinced a scandalous disinclination to rock the boat.  And her judgment about matters of war and peace has been scandalously poor.  Hillary Clinton offers more of the same at a time when “more of the same” is literally killing Americans and other global citizens, and making our world a more frightening, insecure, and violence-prone place, where shouting “terrorists!”, as Clinton has done, excuses whatever stream of viciously violent illogic follows.
Those—not Benghazi—are the real scandals.  Of course the Republican Party does not want to talk about such scandals, because it, even more than Hillary Clinton, is responsible for the self-inflicted damage that the waging of terroristic wars of aggression and the support for authoritarian regimes has dealt to the United States.  But they are scandals which we should bear in mind during the coming years and which make Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy absurdly inappropriate. 

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