Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Iraq "Hillary Clinton's War?"

Note: In this piece I raise "the great unanswered question of 9/11." Read on.

In terms of her oratorical "style," Mrs. Clinton invariably risks frightening small children. She's the female analogue to Ted Kennedy, an angry, red-faced individual who shouts a lot.

To understand the phoniness of Hillary Rodham Clinton (and of tomorrow's subject, Barack Hussein Obama), it's important to understand their target audience: the far-left Democrats who actually participate in primaries and caucuses. These are types, the 20% of the Democratic Party -- one-in-five -- who tell pollsters that they hope America loses the war in Iraq. To reach such people, rhetorical extremism is an essential ingredient.

Two of my favorite Hillary-isms are as follows: (1) "George Bush doesn't care about people"; and (2) THIS IS GEORGE BUSH'S WAR!"

On the notion that GWB "doesn't care" about the people he represents and who elected him twice: Mrs. Clinton offers no evidence that she cares any more about "people" than does President Bush. She's a person who desires to become President, and to that end, she dumps verbal trash on the man who currently holds the office. Thus, she engages in political statements that don't go beyond hurling gratuitous insults -- an apporach her husband and others have called "the politics of personal destruction."

Why would she make such improper statements about Bush -- ones that "rise" to the level only of schoolyard taunts? Because she understands that he's an easy political target -- and because the most important thing in the world to her is winning the nomination. Her target audience, Americans who generally don't like their country very much, wants red meat, so she stuffs it down their throats.

Specifically, what about the "this is George Bush's war" comment? Again, it's a demagogic accusation. Hillary Clinton wants to become commander-in-chief. If as President she has to go to war, does she want many Americans to condemn it as "Hillary Clinton's war?" OrWorld War II "Franklin Roosevelt's War?" Or Korea "Harry Truman's War?" Or Vietnam "Lyndon Johnson's War?"

Some enterprising media type should ask her those questions, although no one will. She might accuse the questioner of being part of "a vast right-wing conspiracy."

Mrs. Clinton has a bad habit of speaking without thinking. Apparently, if she believes some statement will generate votes from left-wingers, the words just fly out of her mouth.However, is the conflict in Iraq really GWB's war, or is perhaps in a sense "Hillary Clinton's War?" One could make the case -- if one were so inclined -- to say that it is.

In October, 2002, Senator Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution. In November, 2003, she also voted for the $87 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the war. A month later, December, 2003, she said the following: "The fact is we're in Iraq and we're in Afghanistan, and we have no choice but to be successful." For some reason, she's stopped making that important -- and accurate -- point.

In the spring of 2004, Hillary Clinton called Saddam Hussein "a potential threat [to America]." She added that the Iraqi dictator had been "seeking weapons of mass destruction . . . whether or not he actually had them." There's no real debate on this points.

In other words, back in the period from 2002-2004 Iraq was not "George Bush's war." It was America's war -- and hers. She noted correctly that if Saddam Hussein didn't have WMDs, he certainly intended to get them at the earliest possible time. Of course, she wasn't a candidate for President then.

Nowadays, of course, her comments on Iraq are much different. She indicates -- falsely -- that the Bush Administration somehow "misled" her about WMDs. What she neglects to say is that the CIA director appointed by her husband -- George Tenet -- had said to President Bush that Saddam's having WMDs was "a slam-dunk." Mrs. Clinton (and her husband) apparently agreed.

George Bush clearly is a convenient scapegoat for Mrs. Clinton to use in her single-minded quest for the Democratic nomination. However, she fails to note that, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she had the same information about WMDs as the President. She cast her war authorization vote with the same knowledge GWB had when he made the decision to go to war.

The approach Mrs. Clinton is taking allows her to be for a war when it's going well -- and against it when it's not. To paraphrase Kyle Smith, it turns politics and elective government into a circular firing squad, where ultimately no one is left standing.

The events of 9/11 were the reason the U.S. went to war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The fear that Saddam Hussein had -- or was seeking -- WMDs that he wouldn't hesitate using was the main reason the country went to war in Iraq. Of course, Saddam had possessed -- and used -- WMDs against Iran and the Iraqi Kurds.

The catastrophe of 9/11 represented a major failure of intelligence by the CIA, headed by Bill Clinton's appointee. They also reflected a failure on the part of the FBI, headed by Clinton appointee Louis Freeh. (William Mueller, Bush's appointee, had been in his office for only about a week when 9/11 occurred.)

A great unanswered question of that time is this: Why didn't GWB blame the failures of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, for 9/11? No one knows the precise answer. However, it appears that Bush -- unlike people such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- didn't want to play the blame game. Instead, he gave Bill Clinton a pass so as not to divide the country.

As we've seen, Mrs. Clinton has no such concerns about dividing the nation, or any real grasp of her husband's role in letting 9/11 occur. Instead, she has the old Democratic strategy of divide the nation -- calling Iraq GWB's war -- in order to conquer as her Party's nominee. The phoniness is as transparent as it is malicious.

A cynic might ask: What else is new?

Tomorrow, I'll be writing on the phoniness of Barack Obama, who never quite reaches the total inauthenticity of Mrs. Clinton but at times comes perilously close. Obama said today, "We are at a defining moment in our history." That's not really profound. Rather, it's in the category known as cliches. He's good at them.

On TV, he just said, "Change does not happen from the top down. Change happens from the bottom up." I guess that's why he's running for President. He wants to start at the bottom. The emptiness of the man's rhetoric is truly awesome.

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