The Warmongering Record of Hillary Clinton

Roundup
tags: Hillary Clinton, war



Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of "Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan,"  "Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan" and "Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900." He is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion," (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

If reason and justice prevailed in this country, you’d think that the recent series of articles in the Washington Times concerning the U.S.-NATO attack on Libya in 2011 would torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects.

Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State at that time knew that Libya was no threat to the U.S. She knew that Muammar Gadhafi had been closely cooperating with the U.S. in combating Islamist extremism. She probably realized that Gadhafi had a certain social base due in part to what by Middle Eastern standards was the relatively equitable distribution of oil income in Libya.

But she wanted to topple Gadhafi. Over the objections of Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates but responding to the urgings of British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, she advocated war. Why? Not for the reason advertised at the time. (Does this sound familiar?) Not because Gadhafy was preparing a massacre of the innocents in Benghazi, as had occurred in Rwanda in 1994. (That episode, and the charge that the “international community” had failed to intervene, was repeatedly referenced by Clinton and other top officials, as a shameful precedent that must not be repeated. It had also been deployed by Bill Clinton in 1999, when he waged war on Serbia, grossly exaggerating the extent of carnage in Kosovo and positing the immanent prospect of “genocide” to whip up public support. Such uses of the Rwandan case reflect gross cynicism.)

No, genocide was not the issue, in Libya any more than in Kosovo. According to the Washington Times, high-ranking U.S. officials indeed questioned whether there was evidence for such a scenario in Libya. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that a mere 2,000 Libyan troops armed with 12 tanks were heading to Benghazi, and had killed about 400 rebels by the time the U.S. and NATO attacked. It found evidence for troops firing on unarmed protestors but no evidence of mass killing. It did not have a good estimate on the number of civilians in Benghazi but had strong evidence that most had fled. It had intelligence that Gadhafy had ordered that troops not fire on civilians but only on armed rebels.

The Pentagon doubted that Gadhafi would risk world outrage by ordering a massacre. One intelligence officer told the Washington Times that the decision to bomb was made on the basis of “light intelligence.” Which is to say, lies, cherry-picked information such as a single statement by Gadhafi (relentlessly repeated in the corporate press echoing State Department proclamations) that he would “sanitize Libya one inch at a time” to “clear [the country] of these rats.” (Similar language, it was said, had been used by Hutu leaders in Rwanda.) Now that the rats in their innumerable rival militias control practically every square inch of Libya, preventing the emergence of an effective pro-western government, many at the Pentagon must be thinking how stupid Hillary was. ...




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