Bill Killed

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On 14 August,
you are invited to "an audience" with Bill Clinton. You
have a choice. You can attend the "breakfast and speech"
or the "brunch buffet and speech." These will take place
in the white elephantine Millennium Dome, where a place in the "Kings’
Row" will cost you 799. Last year, Clinton made more than
5m granting "audiences." Not only the usual corporate
types attend. A few years ago, I watched a conga line of writers,
journalists, publishers and others of liberal reputation shuffling
towards his grotesquely paid presence at the Guardian Hay Festival.

The Clinton
scam is symptomatic of the death of liberalism — not its narcissistic,
war-loving wing ("humanitarian intervention"), which is
ascendant, but the liberalism that speaks against crimes committed
in its name, while extending rungs of the economic ladder to those
below. It was Clinton’s promotion of the former and crushing of
the latter that so inspired new Labour’s "project." Clinton,
not Bush, was Cool Britannia’s true Mafia godfather. Keen observers
of Tony Blair will recall that during one of his many farewell speeches,
the sociopath did a weird impersonation of Clinton’s head wiggle.

Clinton is
able to make a shedload a money because he is contrasted with the
despised Bush as the flawed good guy who did his best for the world
and brought economic boom to the US — the fabled American dream
no less. Both notions are finely spun lies. What Clinton and Blair
have most in common is that they are the most violent leaders of
their countries in the modern era; that includes Bush. Consider
Clinton’s true record:

In 1993, he
pursued George H W Bush’s invasion of Somalia. He invaded Haiti
in 1994. He bombed Bosnia in 1995 and Serbia in 1999. In 1998, he
bombed Afghanistan; and, at the height of his Monica Lewinsky troubles,
he momentarily diverted the headline writers to a major "terrorist
target" in Sudan that he ordered destroyed with an onslaught
of missiles. It turned out to be sub-Saharan Africa’s largest pharmaceutical
plant, the only source of chloroquine, the treatment for malaria,
and other drugs that were lifelines to hundreds of thousands. As
a result, wrote Jonathan Belke, then of the Near East Foundation,
"tens of thousands of people — many of them children — have
suffered and died from malaria, tuberculosis and other treatable
diseases."

Long before
Shock and Awe, Clinton was destroying and killing in Iraq. Under
the lawless pretense of a "no-fly zone," he oversaw the
longest allied aerial bombardment since the Second World War. This
was hardly reported. At the same time, he imposed and tightened
a Washington-led economic siege estimated to have killed a million
civilians. "We think the price is worth it," said his
secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, in an exquisite moment of
honesty.

Clinton’s economic
"legacy" — like Blair’s — is the most unequal society
Americans have known. In his last presidential year, 1999, I walked
along the ocean front at Santa Monica in California and was struck
by the number of middle-class homeless, "bag gents" who
had lost executive jobs and families thanks largely to Clinton’s
North American Free Trade treaty. As for working Americans, the
boasted high employment figures concealed a reversion to real wage
levels of the 1970s. It was Clinton, not Bush, who wiped out the
last of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Back in Santa Monica the other day,
I noted the bag gents had multiplied.

These days,
you see Good Ol’ Bill, or the Comeback Kid, as he is variously known,
wiggling his head on the TV news, campaigning for his wife, Hillary,
among Americans who, terminally nave, still believe the Democratic
Party is theirs and that "it’s time to vote a woman into the
White House." Together, the Clintons are known as "Billary"
and rightly so. Like Good Ol’ Bill, his wife has no plans to address
the divisions of a society that allows 130,000 Americans to claim
the wealth of millions of their fellow citizens. Like GOB, she wants
to continue Iraq’s torment for perhaps a decade. And she has “not
ruled out" attacking Iran.

Those
settling down in the Kings’ Row at the Millennium Dome on 14 August
for breakfast or brunch with GOB, having transferred another swag
to the Clinton bank account, are unlikely to reflect on the blood
spilt and the epic suffering caused, or on the moral corruption
of the liberal ideology that courted and acclaimed Clinton, along
with the criminal Blair.

But we should.

August
10, 2007

John
Pilger
was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been
a war correspondent, filmmaker and playwright. Based in London,
he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s
highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his
work in Vietnam and Cambodia. His new book, Tell
Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs
, is
published by Jonathan Cape in June.

©
John Pilger 2007

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Pilger Archives

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