Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hillary Clinton and the Neocons

Apparently the original tip got lost in the mail.  Because it was only last week—nearly 13 years after HRC threw her weight behind the war of terror, over 11 years after she lent her backing to the war in Iraq, and five years after she advocated for the surge in Afghanistan—that The New York Times ran the story on the alliance between Hillary Clinton and the Neocons.

Titled“The Next Act of the Neocons.  AreNeocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton”, the story outlines the alienation of the neocon sadists from the young guns of the Republican Party, and their increased willingness to turn to Hillary Clinton for their survival. 
The alliance is nothing new.  From the day she entered the Senate, the same year as 9/11, Clinton was a good ally of the neoconservatives.  She backed their dramatic and ineffective response to the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.  She supported their unconscionable civil liberties grab, from 2001 right down to the present.  She joined them in eschewing an intelligent national conversation about the ultimate causes of the 9/11 attacks—a long history of U.S. imperialism, our backing for vicious regimes around the world, the momentum of our law-breaking security state, etc.
As we travelled deeper into that decade of growing despair, Clinton’s embrace of the Neocon philosophy grew increasingly fulsome.  In the intervening years, as in those before, that philosophy—the violent expansion of raw American power, often in the service of corporate profits; an abstract definition of the “national interest” associated with the aggrandizement of elite power, and alienated from the welfare of the public; and a mulish defence of Israeli colonialism, even when that colonialism acts to the detriment of Israeli citizens—has done untold damage to our country and the world.
Clinton became a key backer of the illegal, immoral, and ill-considered War on Iraq and the concomitant dissemination by the Bush Administration of terror around the globe.  That war not only brought shock and awe to Iraq: it killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, razed whole cities, and destroyed key infrastructure, fuelling the wealth as well as the blood-lust of Neocons who occupied key positions in government and industry.  It opened the door for Al Qaeda to expand across the Middle East and Africa, ushered in the widespread use of mercenaries, and conflated threats and organizations, with the likes of Dick Cheney lying shamelessly and without censure on television about connections between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
During the 2008 primaries, Hillary Clinton expressed the qualms that never arose when she unquestioningly accepted the claims of the Bush Administration about Iraq and voted to go to war.  We now know that those qualms were just for show, Clinton having apparently confessed to colleagues that “her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing [Obama] in the Iowa primary”. 
As Secretary of State, Clinton continued her open if unspoken promotion of Neo-conservatism.  She pushed hard for the escalation of violence in Afghanistan.  She supported the horrors inflicted by drone warfare on two continents as unaffected by moral qualms as by Congressional oversight.  She advocated for intervention in Libya while in office, and in Syria after leaving the State Department.  And she supported Israeli colonialism, Egyptian dictatorship, and Saudi hegemony. 
Coupled with her embrace of the plutocrats and her harsh words for their critics, Clinton’s jingoistic, violent, elitist outlook makes her a good friend of the Neocons.  Their willingness to embrace her publicly is just the latest phase in an evolving relationship.
That embrace is driven in part by the libertarian streak that is widening in the GOP.  The likes of Rand Paul oppose both illegal, profiteering interventions in Iraq, and those undertaken under the auspices of international law.  They are isolationists who are opposed to the lawless executive-authorized killing of U.S. citizens within the country, but not to the extrajudicial murder of foreigners abroad. 
Libertarians—at least of Paul’s stripe—are not morally disturbed by the Wars of the Neocons.  Rather, they are put off by the cost and irritated at the erosion of their power-base in Congress.  When it comes to legally-sanctioned interventions, they are upset by the universal claims about human rights, which sit uneasily with their domestic embrace of the massive social and economic inequality engineered by their precious “free market”.
And yet the hypocrites on the right remain the only critics—however insubstantial, immoral, and inconsistent—of the Neocons.  Virtually no Democrats have made serious critiques of the violence associated with Clinton and Obama over the past six years.  And many serious progressives are preparing to suck it up and cheer Clinton through the coronation, er, I mean primary, and into the presidency.

Because of both her right-wing foreign and domestic policy stances, Clinton needs to be challenged in the Democratic primaries and, if necessary, again in the general election.  But progressive challengers are few and far between, and whether or not she seeks the presidency, someone like Elizabeth Warren within the Democratic Party, and contenders from the Green and other parties, should be pointed and vocal in pointing out the moral vacuum that exists within both parties when it comes to the outlook and conduct of the United States abroad, something connected to the sociopathic right-wing economic policy we practice at home.

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