A Vote for the Democrats Would Be a Vote for War Crimes

May 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


An article titled “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk” appeared in the New York Times Magazine on April 21. It is telling you what to expect if Hillary Clinton is the next president:

For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has. (our emphasis)

This is a mainstream, liberal, ruling class institution telling you that fascist lunatics like Cruz and Trump don’t have anywhere near the appetite Hillary Clinton has for invasions, bombings, civilian massacres, war crimes, baby-killing sanctions, and everything else for which “military engagement abroad” is a euphemism (a way of talking about U.S. wars without acknowledging what they really mean).

Maybe you got involved in the elections because you saw Bernie Sanders as being about something fundamentally different than that. We disagreed. (“If You’re into Bernie Sanders...”) But now what? Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton?

Look at four “highlights” of Hillary Clinton’s record and positions on “military engagement abroad”:

1. The Iraq War

Fallujah, Iraq, November 12, 2004.
U.S. Marines in Fallujah, Iraq, November 12, 2004. AP photo

Today, Hillary Clinton justifies voting for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq by saying she “made the best decision I could with the information I had.” However anyone might spin or interpret that, Hillary Clinton has never taken responsibility for the human cost of invading Iraq.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the occupation that followed, caused the deaths of more than 600,000 Iraqis. It drove more than four million people from their homes. And it played a key role in generating the forces that became ISIS. The war was a massive war crime wave on the part of the U.S.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq was characterized by civilian massacres, torture (including at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison), and war crimes. In destroying the city of Fallujah in 2004—to send a message to anyone who got in its way—the U.S. used white phosphorous shells in a massive and indiscriminate way against civilians.

Hillary Clinton has never apologized or expressed regret for any of that.

2. Clinton’s closest advisers are perpetrators of and cheerleaders for invasions, war crimes, and torture.

Children killed during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad, March 15, 2006.
Children killed in a U.S. raid north of Baghdad, March 15, 2006. AP photo

Hillary Clinton and her people are telling you that she has always thought Obama was not and is not militarily aggressive enough in the Middle East.*

She relies on and is close to the most rabidly pro-war-crimes generals and diplomats. One of Clinton’s close advisers is Madeleine Albright, who made headlines a few months ago saying “there’s a special place in hell for women” who don’t support Hillary. And Madeleine Albright, herself, like Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, justified U.S. sanctions that devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and kept children from getting essential nutrition and medicine that resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 of them. Said Albright: “We think the price is worth it.”

On behalf of the Clinton camp, Albright attacked Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech on April 27 as being too isolationist. And Albright is just one of a whole crew of extreme military hawks close to and advising Clinton. Another is Jack Keane, a retired four-star general whom the Times described as “the resident hawk on Fox News, where he appears regularly to call for the United States to use greater military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.” Clinton has also had close ties to former general and CIA director David Petraeus, infamous for his role in civilian massacres, torture, and death squads in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2014, Petraeus said Hillary Clinton would “make a tremendous president.”

3. Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, was the driving force in the White House behind the U.S. role in the bombing of Libya, and gleefully celebrated it.

The U.S./NATO bombing of Libya effectively overthrew a regime that had been a thorn in the side of the U.S. and the West. In the aftermath, Libya is in utter shambles, torn apart by reactionary warlords and a breeding ground for ISIS. The U.N. estimates that roughly 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes since the U.S. and its NATO allies overthrew Gaddafi—a quarter of whom have left the country altogether.

When Hillary Clinton got news that Gaddafi was dead, she ghoulishly laughed and gloated “We came, we saw, he died”—invoking the imperial words of Julius Caesar, who is reported to have celebrated a victory over a rival by saying “veni, vidi, vici”—“I came, I saw, I conquered.”

The result? Libya is dominated by forces “guilty of arbitrary detention, torture, unlawful killings, indiscriminate attacks, disappearances, and the forceful displacement of people. In addition, armed groups that pledged allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) are also summarily killing people in areas under their control.” (Human Rights Watch)

4. At a time when the apartheid—openly and violently racist—nature of Israel is becoming more and more exposed, Hillary Clinton is making a big point that she will be way more aggressively pro-Israel than Obama.

In a speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Clinton lashed out at the movement that is opposing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians with boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). She slandered and promoted moves to legally ban that movement on campuses and communities in the U.S.

In her speech, Clinton made it clear that when it comes to Israel, she is way to the right of Obama—who himself backed Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2014 that killed more than 500 children. She announced that one of her first acts as president would be to invite Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. Netanyahu is a particularly rabid Zionist fanatic even within the spectrum of traditional Israeli politics and someone who basically spit in Obama’s face by speaking, without an invitation from the White House, to the U.S. Congress to denounce the Iran nuclear deal.

* * *

Voting for the Democrats is complicity with those crimes—past, present, and future. Is that what you want? Is this why you got involved in trying to change things through the Democrats?

So... what are you gonna do now?

* * *


1) Iraq War Deaths

For documentation on the death and devastation caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, see: “Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey” by Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, and Gilbert Burnham (The Lancet, November 20, 2004) and, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey” by Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts (The Lancet, October 21, 2006.

For documentation on U.S. use of phosphorous in Iraq War, including on-screen, first hand testimony by U.S. troops who carried out or witnessed war crimes (and then spoke out against them) see: Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, the documentary film by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta. The film documents the use of chemical weapons, particularly the use of incendiary bombs, and other indiscriminate use of violence against civilians and children by military forces of the United States in the city of Fallujah in Iraq during the Fallujah Offensive of November 2004.

2) For documentation that Madeleine Albright upheld 500,000 children killed by U.S. sanctions against Iraq, see: “Madeleine Albright The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it” (video).

3) For documentation on the situation in Libya after the U.S./NATO bombing campaign that facilitated the downfall of the Ghadafi regime, see a Human Rights Watch report at www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/libya.

For documentation on Hillary Clinton’s defining role in the bombing of Libya and creating the current hell on earth in that country, see the New York Times series “The Libya Gamble.”

See Hillary Clinton ghoulishly laughing and celebrating U.S. invasion of Libya and death of former ruler Ghadafi: “Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died.” (video)

4) For documentation of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and apartheid oppression of the Palestinians. For a report on the 2011 war, see “Report of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1” (UN Human Rights Council, June 24, 2015).  For a current survey of crimes against humanity being committed against the Palestinians today see “Freedom of Movement: Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” (UN Human Rights Council, February 2016)

* One of the factors behind significant sections of the ruling class getting behind Obama in 2004 was that there was tremendous war weariness and discontent in society in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. This was seen as a potentially dangerous threat to the perceived legitimacy of the whole system. These forces, and Obama himself, played up the fact that he had voted against the Iraq war and much of the outrage against the war was channeled into getting behind him. Another factor in Obama’s attempts to de-escalate U.S. involvement in the Middle East was an assessment by powerful voices in the ruling class that it was necessary and possible to “pivot to Asia” in order to more aggressively confront and contend with China’s rising influence and power. That “pivot” didn’t prove to be possible to accomplish to the degree it was envisioned—given how the Middle East has spun increasingly out of control during the Obama administration. [back]



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