by Michael Nolan by Michael Nolan
"A lot of wonderful people love their country and hate the military," wrote Bill Clinton, back in 1969, during the Vietnam War. An important difference to note, concerning the Vietnam war and our current war in the Middle East, is that, in the former, pacifist Bill Clinton knew that he might actually have to serve in it, if he didn't play his cards right. A further, perceived disadvantage for young Bill was that, had he served, he might have damaged (considering that era's anti-military sensibilities) the brilliant political career that he quite presciently assumed was his.
But age has come with wisdom for Bill, and today he finds himself a wonderful person who can love the military at the same time – even an imperial military, unfettered by congress or the people, and dispatched on missions that have nothing to do with protecting the United States. This value judgement about Bill is based on the likely assumption that he agrees with his wife's statement, made in a speech at Princeton in January, that "[W]e can take no option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership in Iran, that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons." The "option," of course, that dared not speak its name in Mrs. Clinton's speech was the nuke the bastards option.
The Clintons know which way the political winds blow (to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the poet of their generation). Today, Bill's chickenhawk pedigree, far from being a hindrance in his obsessive quest to be America's first First Hubby, might actually play well in imperial Washington, where the statement "send poor kids to die" is not a matter of mere expediency, but one, rather, of core philosophy. Chickenhawks are in, and who's to say that Bill doesn't put his feet up on the desk, lean back and visualize his own bust up there between those of — let's just say – Newt Gingrich and Richard Perle at the Neocon Hall of Fame. Hey, if it gets the old lady elected, where's the harm in it?
The Iraq War has made us hated and mistrusted around the world. We are begging – yes, begging — for an onshore terrorist attack, with our country's actions at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, our indiscriminate killings in Iraq, our blanket support of Israel. Two weeks ago, as the Israeli Air Force rained down hellfire and death on Lebanese children, Mrs. Clinton, in a campaign canard that gave cheap opportunism a bad name, averred that "Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones." Israel’s genocidal invasion of an American ally might fit in with her values but not, by any means, with those of all Americans. Those who don't support the war in Lebanon might well jump ship on Hillary, rather than let her lead them by the nose into World War III.
Bill Clinton went to Connecticut, in a vain attempt to drag warhawk Joe Lieberman's hide out of the electoral fire, and to share his (Clinton's) observation that the principled antiwar stand of many Connecticut Dems, in switching allegiance to Ned Lamont, was the "nuttiest strategy I ever heard of."
Nutty? Is that how the Clintons characterize American patriots who know that the war in Iraq is an unmitigated moral and military and security disaster for America? A terrorist attack on our shores (in payback for Iraq) could well lead to civil disorder, the suspension of the US Constitution (in the name of "security") and an unleashing of American nuclear terror throughout the Middle East. But, mindful of Karl Rove’s venerable, all-purpose “flip-flop” smear, Hillary still won’t admit the error of her original vote to go to war. Well, increasing numbers of Americans consider it a very large error indeed. With that in mind, how would the Clintons have the rest us view the Iraq war?
What, that silly old thing? We're all Democrats aren't we? Hey (as Bill wheedled at the Lieberman rally in Connecticut), we're together on labor issues, the environment, gay rights, all that stuff. Maybe, maybe not, but there's a growing, apocalyptic sense in America that, if the neocon mass murder continues, unopposed by both major parties, then the working stiffs, the gays and the greens that Clinton claims Lieberman represents will face (like all Americans) a deadly future.
Bill once remarked that, "people who think, vote Democrat." Well, some of Bill's thinkers might well stop donating to the Democratic party, lest the dough end up with a candidate who won’t condemn, outright, our suicidal war in the MiddleEast, and who offers, instead, the apparent argument (with her recent attacks on Don Rumsfeld), that she can wage war better.
Undoubtedly, Mrs. Clinton's campaign consultants have told her not to say things that could be used against her by the right wing in '08. The Clintons' job, as they see it, is to get Hillary elected president, and if they have to comply with neocon policies that could well bring down America, c'est la vie.
Michael Nolan [send him mail] is a freelance writer from Taunton, MA. His work has appeared in LewRockwell.com, Common Dreams.org, OpEdNews.com and the Vermont Guardian.