Op-Ed, 607 words

Hillary Clinton Hasn’t Learned a Thing from Iraq

The former secretary of state could shatter the glass ceiling for women, but she'd leave the old boys' military-industrial complex intact.


As the first Democratic presidential debate drew to a close, moderator Anderson Cooper posed a question to Hillary Clinton: How might her presidency differ from Barack Obama’s?

Clinton smiled. “Well, I think it’s pretty obvious,” she replied to rapturous applause. “Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had.”

Indeed, a Hillary Clinton presidency would shatter the glass ceiling for women in the United States. But it would also leave intact the old boys’ military-industrial complex that’s kept our nation in a perpetual state of war for decades.

Clinton, it seems, failed to learn anything after supporting the disastrous Iraq War, which plunged a huge swath of the Middle East into chaos and cost her the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Instead of embracing diplomacy, she continued to champion ill-conceived military interventions as secretary of state.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

In 2011, when the Arab Spring came to Libya, Clinton was the Obama administration’s most forceful advocate for intervening to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. She even out-hawked Robert Gates, the Pentagon chief first appointed by George W. Bush who was less than enthusiastic about going to war in Libya.

Ironically, the political grief Clinton has suffered over the subsequent attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, might never have occurred if Clinton had opted against intervening in Libya’s civil war.

While House Republicans recently spent 11 hours relentlessly drilling Clinton about Benghazi and her personal email account, the larger disaster by far is the postwar chaos that’s left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants.

Clinton favors greater military intervention in Syria’s civil war, too. In her presidential bid, she’s joined hawkish Republican senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham in supporting the creation of a no-fly zone over the country.

That puts her at odds not only with President Barack Obama, but also with her Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, who warned that it could “get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region.”

Clinton did end up supporting the administration’s Iran nuclear deal, but her support came with a history of bellicose baggage.

Back in 2008, for example, she warned that Washington could “totally obliterate“ Iran. During that presidential campaign, she chided Obama as “naïve” and “irresponsible” for wanting to engage the country diplomatically.

Even after the nuclear agreement was sealed, she struck a bullying tone: “I don’t believe Iran is our partner in this agreement,” Clinton insisted. “Iran is the subject of the agreement.” She added that she “won’t hesitate to take military action” if it falls through.

Contrast Clinton with the more moderate Secretary of State John Kerry. It’s no wonder Obama’s two signature foreign policy achievements — the Iran deal and the groundbreaking opening of diplomatic ties with Cuba — came after Clinton left.

There was a very telling moment about Clinton’s attitude during the debate when Cooper asked, “Which enemy are you most proud of?”

Alongside the NRA, Republicans, and health insurance companies, Clinton listed “the Iranians” — which could mean either the Iranian government or the nation’s 78 million people. In either case, it wasn’t a very diplomatic thing to say while her successor and former colleagues are trying to chart a new, more cooperative relationship with Iran.

When it comes to war and peace, it might not matter too much if a Republican or Hillary Clinton wins the White House. In either case, the winner will be the military-industrial complex President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about.

Medea Benjamin, the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
Distributed by OtherWords.org

  • Ric
  • stephenverchinski

    The Iran deal still included another billion in weapons to Israel. Hardly a stunning Obama achievement.

  • 1dale2

    Verses and writings available at troporg@racsa.co.cr

    Verse 7: Perpetual War

    Mr.Orwell´s vison of 1984 is near repeated.

    In AmeriKa, Inc. a State of National Insecurity now thrives in a Culture of Fear and Perpetual War.

    One does not have to be an Ancient Mariner to see War, War everywhere,

    And all the hopes did shrink,

    War, war everywhere

    Nor any drop of peace.

    With a missile the modern mariner shot the kindly Albatross.

    The Warmongers doublespeak–“Truly War is the only Roadmap to Peace.”

    The Directorate of National Insecurity knows that a “War on Terror” is a never-ending cycle of creating terrorists,

    Medieval and Evil as they are.

    Evil begets Evil to better serve the Devil of Empire.

    With the manufactured intelligence of NSA the boogeymen abroad are missiled and droned,

    Only to create thousands more.

    NSA does not stand alone; secret Security Agencies proliferate and privatize their spying,

    The better to avoid oversight and reward business friends.

    Special Ops secretly assassinate suspects and the drones guide their deadly missiles

    Because The War on Jihadist Ghosts keeps the money flowing,

    And the Culture of Fear deepened.

    Anyway, murder is more efficient and cheaper than torture,

    Avoids the embarrassment of secret renditions and Guantanamo,

    And creates for every martyr a hundred militants, the more to feed the Death

    The Super Rogue State draws red lines of blood in the Middle East desert sands,

    Arming Islamic insurgents that blowback to bite the asses of those who pursue the Imperial Vision.

    But the Blowback from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine…

    Is intended consequence, how else to cycle Perpetual War?

    From 1980 to our ever darker days AmeriKa Inc. has invaded, occupied or bombed Fourteen countries in the Muslim World.

    During his presidency Barack Obummer droned Muslim targets in eight countries.

    The terror of missiles and bombs is unleased against hapless populations.

    The latest in American weaponry given to the Israelis to kill Palestinians,

    And maintain Israel as Amerika’s buttress against Arab nationalism.

    The Saudis weaponized to bomb Yemen.

    The delivery systems for these instruments of terror are drawn from the liturgy of the Warfare State:

    Hellfire Missiles to rein death upon infidels.

    Hellfire is delivered by anointed Predator Drones and (Grim) Reapers.

    The piloted A-10 Warhog Jets, acting on
    terrorist location intelligence,

    Take out Muslim wedding parties.

    Smart missiles are not smart, they are dumb.

    Each explosion creates fury among targeted populations many times as powerful as the bomb.

    A Warfare State demonizes Muslims, invades and occupies their lands, bombs their villages,

    Threatens continuing violence, imposes sanctions…

    The only definable ethical principle being “America First”.

    The end being Global Domination administered by the War Machine.

    A Lawless Super Rogue State pursuing the Global Empire as envisioned by the Dominant Class of AmeriKa Inc.

    The War machine pursues “Operation Infinite Justice” and imposes enduring injustice.

    America Firsters undertake “Operation Enduring Freedom,” to enslave the Barbarian World.

    Their twenty-first century Crusade guided by the religiosity of the free market,

    The furthering of which requires terror, subjugation, humiliation, domination, and war.

    Americans don’t see surviving mothers bury their mutilated children,

    Americans don’t see the humiliation in destroyed communities,

    Americans are not allowed to understand the anger and hate engendered,

    The lust for revenge.

    Americans are only allowed TV views of the violent forms that revenge takes,

    Being conditioned to mistake effect for cause.

    A sense of history driven from consciousness.

    Americans react with horror at the beheading of innocents,

    Americans might wonder why Hamas lobes missiles at Israel that never seem to hit a target

    While Israel´s Apartheid Regime´s “deserved right to defend itself” fires AmeriKa´s gift of missiles

    That hit Palestinian hospitals with precision accuracy.

    As retaliatory tactics the violence of Jihad is counterproductive,

    Serving to fire the Imperial Beast

    yielding power to the most retrograde elements of Muslim society.

    But no
    one can deny the right of victims to justice.

    is no greater justice than ending Perpetual War,

    sacred duty of decent Americans.

    Verse 8: The State of
    National Insecurity

    Directorate of National Insecurity–

    Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of the CIA, the Head of the National
    Security Agency,

    President´s National Security Advisor, the Chief of Homeland Security,

    Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Chair of the Senate Committee on

    President of the Good Old USA–

    answer to the 1% in a plutocracy posing as ersatz democracy,

    to Big Money, to Wall Streeters and their cohorts,

    To Oil
    Barons, the Multinational Corporations, the Drone Makers,

    To the vast
    network of contractors for the CIA, NSA, and Homeland Insecurity,

    enjoying secret giveaways for their private pockets

    at a classified $4+ trillion for the War on Terror),

    To the
    GMO inventors, big Pharma profiting from provisions in “Fast Track” Free Trade

    To insurance
    Racketeers serving up sickness under “Obamacare,”

    And all
    their lesser but well rewarded staff of hangers-on,

    thinking that what the 1% want the 90% will get–

    Shaft, not even the Trickle-down.

    Terrorism of War lubricates the Shaft,

    State of National Insecurity shoves it up the ass of any boogeyman foreign
    terrorist created

    And any
    bold Peacemaker in the Homeland.

    In the
    Homeland all the agencies of repression mobilize to manhunt the good guys,

    And deny
    them asylum.

    dead or alive, by any means necessary!

    The NSA
    passes on what poses as intelligence to the multiplying police agencies.

    The FBI
    infiltrates the peacemakers, tells local cops how to des-occupy the street

    Brother listens to every word you speak,

    And if
    you don´t think Zombie, puts you on The List.

    Department of War brings official terror instruments to the Homeland,

    local police forces with “surplus” military armaments

    provoke and then violently suppress peaceful demonstrators

    police murder and immunity from prosecution.

    State of National Insecurity has more sophisticated apparatuses than Mr. Orwell

    Adolf Hitler could envision.

    efficient that no Homeland Gestapo is needed–

    least not time yet for domestic Death Squads

    those created by Ronnie Raygun in Central America in the 1980s

    And now
    the murderous Narco-State in Mexico fashioned by NAFTA and the War on Drugs,

    And the
    neo-Nazi thugs in the Ukraine overthrowing the government

    To get
    Western access to the oil, gas, business opportunity and NATO bases

    start a new Cold War with Russia.

    National Insecurity Agency, a monstrosity almost beyond comprehension,

    billions of private messages of everyone, everywhere,

    the allied Heads of State in Germany, Brazil, France, and Japan,

    searching for intelligence to compile lists of supposed terrorists to kill,

    At home
    compiling lists of millions among the thinking and peaceful,

    like you and me, now with FBI files,

    because we oppose the Terrorism of the Super-Rogue.

    pacifists are now Terrorists.

    President of nice words and dirty deeds

    “Reform,” but will as always follow the Dirty Way.

    can be no balance of privacy and security, only cover-ups of what is really
    going on.

    2015 “Freedom Act” to limit the NSA is a long way from curtailing surveillance.

    The NSA
    searches for commercial advantage to pass on to Business Cronies.

    still spies on friend and foe, sabotages computer systems of “enemies,” like

    to facilitate then cloak in secrecy the Official Terrorism of the Super Rogue.

    State of National Insecurity could be
    considered a fourth branch of government,

    military, security, and police agencies supposedly

    the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

    their centrality, these agencies are better considered

    As a
    State reduced to its all-powerful Repressive Apparatus,

    To its
    authoritarian essence.

    centrality and power unchecked and not counterbalanced

    executive, legislative, or judicial power.

    branches respond to and do the bidding of the Repressive Apparatus.

    agencies that directly constitute the Repressive Apparatus—

    Department of War, the Joint Chiefs of War Staff,

    And the
    Special Forces created by the military (better termed Death Squads),

    Central Intelligence Assassins, the National Insecurity Agency,

    National Insecurity advisors around the Pres,

    Insecurity, the Injustice Department, the Federal Bureau of Cointelpro,

    trigger happy police, the National Guard Against Insurgency….

    Senate Insecurity Committee diapers their unwiped asses.

    these agencies have spawned a vast array of private contracting corporations

    That is
    well beyond the “Military-Industrial Complex” that President Eisenhower warned

    It is
    these days not just the big corporations producing weapons,

    Now it
    is private contractors that do much of the dirty counter-terrorism work,

    computer surveillance and sabotage work, the spy work on corporate competitors,

    listening in on allies like the German Chanciler or reformists like the
    President of Brazil.

    mercenary work to disrupt and kill.

    shadow private complex takes in trillions with no oversight or accountability.

    State of National Insecurity is state agencies in symbiosis with a huge complex
    of private entities

    to share and profit from the Dirty Work.

    Complex, the merging of government agencies and private corporations,

    the bidding of the entire Plutocracy, united by thirst for war and empire

    social control on the home front.

    government that once had some lawful protections is transformed into a Regime
    of Repressive Lawlessness

    jails or kills innocents

    accords impunity to the criminality of the agents of the Repressive Apparatus.

    State of National Insecurity corporatizes its global operations,

    With no
    oversight or accountability.

    terror apparatus within the State of National Insecurity.

    to the 1%,

    to the courts or Congress.

    State has its homeland, Fortress America;

    It has
    its dogma, the War on Terror;

    It has
    its policy guidelines, Neoliberalism;

    It has
    its ideology to instill in the populace, the religion of Zombyism—

    sexism, the War of All Against All,

    cultural ethos of competition and individualism that compliment insecurity and
    proneness to violence.

    sectors of the populace are taught to view militarism and violence as a source
    of pride,

    and resistance are unmanly cowardice, deserving of repressive punishment.

    National State of Insecurity has its creative Think Tanks;

    It has
    its political action groups to spread millions around the electoral landscape;

    It has
    its means of avoiding accountability, a drawn curtain blocking heinous crimes,

    A kind
    of Shari-like code of security and Impunity

    A cloak
    of secrecy so dark only the top criminals who command it know what is going

    their counterparts declaring jihad, the bearded Male Muslim Fanatics,

    to the violence perpetrated upon their peoples with their own gross violence,

    Macho Warriors of the Insecurity Complex,

    in suits and ties, don’t sport beards, and don’t wave the Bible

    they proclaim “Death to Terrorists”

    And at
    home intimidate the Rabble with teargas and clubs and guns,

    “Lock´em Up and Throw Away the Key.”

    to the State of National Insecurity is a criminal organization,

    A pivot
    for organizing the ruthless pursuit of the Imperial Vision.

    The CIA
    has a long, long, long history of deadly Interventions and Dirty Tricks.

    torture episode publicized of late is only the shivering tip of a very dense
    iceberg of Official Terrorism.

    many years of cover-up the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

    exhibited a semblance of courage in December 2014.

    spite of being spied upon by the insecurity apparatus

    Committee issued a report critical of CIA “enhanced interrogation”

    was central to the War on Terror in the Bush years,

    under Obama in favor of drone attacks and more troops in Afghanistan.

    Chairwoman Feinstein termed CIA activity “misguided.”

    President blandly admitted “We tortured some folks.”

    Head of the CIA, unsuccessful in attempts to suppress the report on grounds of
    “national security”

    former Vice-President Cheney, a principal architect of the war on terror,

    array of those involved,

    rose to defend the indefensible in extensive media coverage,

    not a single victim´s story was aired.

    best that was said in official discourse is that torture is “unfortunate” and
    occasionally “never again.”

    is immunity for all perpetrators,

    The CIA
    Director and the battery of agents in Covert Operations,

    Bush, VP Cheney, the Attorney General and a battery of lawyers involved,

    Secretary of War, Rumsfeld.

    No one
    will be prosecuted under American or international law

    gross violations of human rights,

    crimes against humanity

    Or any
    other violation of law and international treaties.

    consequences for kidnappings and renditions to Black torture sights,

    indefinite imprisonment in Guantanamo,

    interrogation techniques that included

    feeding (liquefied gourmet Middle Eastern cuisine no doubt)

    hydration (convenient substitute for a water fountain)

    “Generally not to exceed 72 hours” (no latrines, on delayed order from private

    confinement, stress positions, insect placement, total darkness, sleep

    of pain, hunger, and humiliation, threats of rape and execution,

    facial hold and slap, and the most notorious–Waterboarding.

    are heinous crimes committed by persons devoid of humanity,

    Gestapo of our era responsible to institutions serving only the most perverse

    Lest we
    forget, American judges in 1946 condemned Nazi torturers to death by hanging.

    only sane response by American citizens is prosecution of those responsible.

    to Code Pink that attempted to make a citizen´s arrest of Henry Kissinger for
    his crimes,

    good Ladies were forcibly evited from a Senate Armed Services hearing on
    Imperial Strategy

    Labeled by Warlord Senator John McCain
    as “low-life scum”,

    doubt a projection of his own war-mongering character.

    For the
    institution that sponsored these depravities there is only one remedy,

    the CIA. Along with the National
    Security Agency that monitors all of us,

    Homeland Security that has us take off our shoes before boarding an airplane.

  • BoomerLefty

    It only goes to prove that you don’t need testicles to want to “shoot first, and ask questions later”. Aggression seems to be part of our DNA.