Marie Antoinette is notorious for her response to starvation among her subjects: “Let them eat cake.” Her arrogance surely accelerated the coming of the French Revaluation.
Hillary Clinton, in voting for a Senate resolution that labeled the Iranian army as a “terrorist force,” has essentially made her own memorable declaration: “Let them eat yellowcake.”
Unlike Marie Antoinette, instead of infuriating the masses living in misery, Clinton’s vote -- as the leading Democratic presidential contender -- warmed the hearts of Bush, Dick Cheney and the neo-con policymaking elites who have been hankering for a war with Iran. What could be more delightful than to garner the anti-Iran vote of the leading Democratic presidential contender for a resolution that draws Bush and Cheney closer to the new blank check for another war that they seek?
Despite the Bush administration’s long history of manipulating evidence on the Saddam Hussein’s search for “yellowcake” nuclear material and uranium tubing (to cite just two examples in the contrived rush for war), Hillary Clinton voted for the anti-Iranian resolution on the basis of specious evidence about “sophisticated” armor-piercing improvised explosive devices known as “EFPs.”
The vote to characterize Iran’s army as a “terrorist” force comes at a critical moment as the Bush-Cheney administration moves to squeeze in a military action against Iran before the rapidly-approaching end of their regime. As one former intelligence official told Seymour Hersh (New Yorker, Oct. 8), “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq. But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”
Nor, evidently, does Hillary Clinton seem to give a “rat’s ass” about the quality of the intelligence purporting to show Iranian government interference in Iraq. First, the “evidence” tying the EFPs to the Iranian government Iran is extraordinarily flimsy. A top American official was forced to admit that all the components of an EFP (except for the explosives), are available at “any RadioShack” and Iran is hardly the exclusive source of EFPs. Yet Hillary Clinton voted to accelerate the mindless frenzy toward conflict with Iraq despite absence of any hard evidence linking the EFPs to the Iranian government (as outlined in detail by Gareth Porter at www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gareth-porter/liebermankyl-vs-the-evi_b_66020.html.)
As George W. Bush once tried to remark, “Fooled me once, shame on me. Fooled me twice, shame on, um, uh, you know …” Hillary Clinton, convinced that she is the untouchable front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, is shamelessly willing to be “fooled” again. She seemingly wants to establish credentials with hard-right Republican voters in the general election, showing that she is just as mindlessly hawkish as any man, even the buffoonish warrior Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) who co-sponsored the anti-Iran resolution. At the debate at Dartmouth, she placed herself at the far right of all the Democratic primary contenders on virtually ever issue, ignoring the anti-war sentiment fueling the Democratic wave in 2006 while making every gesture possible to make herself acceptable to hard-Right voters in November 2008
In playing to the right at the most recent Democratic debate at Dartmouth on issue after issue, Clinton appeared to so sure of her eventual nomination that all she lacked was a Bush-style “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging behind her.
Yet some may still harbor the illusion that Hillary Clinton is intent on a fundamentally different course than George W. Bush and his doctrines of preventive war and US supremacy in the world. But recall that Hillary Clinton in October 2002 not only voted unapologetically for the resolution that led us to war and endless occupation of Iraq. She also voted against Sen. Carl Levin’s resolution calling for all peaceful processes to be exhausted before the US launched the war.
But as Clinton and Lieberman now add fuel to the drive for a military strike against Iran, they may wish to consider the results of the last major US intervention in Iran, an episode rarely mentioned in the US media despite the ongoing, disastrous results for the Iranian people. In 1953, a CIA-British-engineered coup ended the democratic rule of Mohammed Mossadegh and restored the dictatorship of Shah Reza Pahlevi, whose 26-year reign was marked by grotesque torture, mass murders, and, not surprisingly, unconditional US support. Since the Shah’s overthrow 26 years ago, Iran passed from the torture chamber of the Shah and plunged into the authoritarian rule of the mullahs.
However, it would be foolish to expect to hear any warnings from Hillary Clinton to Bush and Cheney. Each disastrous blunder by them, in her mind, insures her election. But she seems to forget the human toll these colossal missteps take, and that Democratic voters may ultimately decide that they cannot stomach the nomination of someone who has served chiefly as an enabler of Bush, Cheney, and Co.
Hillary Clinton’s recent conduct underscores how willing she is to abandon principle -- and potentially toss away countless thousands of lives -- in her drive for the presidency. Let us speak plainly on the volatility of the situation with Iran: Hillary Clinton knows better; she simply has other calculations in mind.
Roger Bybee is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and consultant. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2007
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