It Takes Two Clintons to Destroy a Village

bill and hillaryRecently, the New York Times reported on Hillary Clinton’s post-government career (July 11, 2013). She “is hitting the paid speechmaking circuit, drawing huge crowds of conventioneers”; her fee can reach $200,000 for a single talk. She is part of “a lucrative branch of the Clinton family business: Bill Clinton earned $13.4 million from speeches in 2011 … and has collected more than $100 million in speaking fees since leaving the White House.”

Admirers who marvel at the Clintons’ ability to command huge sums might pause for a moment to think about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died from US-led sanctions on Bill Clinton’s watch – with silence from the First Lady, as well as the estimated one million Iraqis who have died from the 2003 invasion of that country by Bush and Cheney, enthusiastically seconded by the former President as well as Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Amidst the adulation for the Clintons, can admirers imagine the anguish of Afghani, Bosnian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Serbian, Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni parents whose children that have been killed as a result of decisions the Clintons have made as public officials?

How many admirers expressed public outrage at Bill Clinton’s 1998 bombing of a supposed weapons factory in Sudan that was in fact the Al-Shifra plant that “produced 90% of its pharmaceutical products”? According to the Boston Globe, the bombing will ultimately cost the lives of thousands of Sudanese, “many of them children who have already suffered and died from malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases.”

Do Clinton lovers know that the sanctions regime was a clear violation of the International Genocide Convention that the US signed and ratified? One Article states, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” As pointed out by international lawyer Francis Boyle, “The 500,000 dead Iraqi children, as conceded and approved by later US Secretary of State Albright, constituted a substantial ‘part’ of the People of Iraq.”

Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, who “had been instructed to implement a policy that … effectively killed over a million individuals,” resigned in protest over the sanctions regime, asserting it “constituted genocide.” It was incompatible “with various provisions of the United Nations Charter and similar instruments of international humanitarian law.” Evidence supporting his charge included “information that various organizations of the United Nations provided” and data from the World Health Organization revealing “significant increases in adult deaths, particularly among the aged in need of sophisticated drugs no longer available.” The people of Iraq “have seen their children die, their parents die, and their own health deteriorate. They are witnessing a national depression and a social collapse. The genocidal impact of economic sanctions on Iraq is a cruel tragedy” and “crimes against humanity….”

Years after his enthusiastic support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, however, Bill Clinton concluded that the war was a “big mistake.” But admirers need to recall Clinton’s claims about Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): “Saddam … must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons. Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike … targets in Iraq…. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors” (12/16/1998). Hillary Clinton repeated the same lies about Iraq’s WMD and so-called links to al Qaeda: “… intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members…. if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons” (10/10/2002).

The Iraq invasion was based on a criminal lie: Iraq could not attack the US with WMD because it had none; it had no missiles that could deliver them and it was not developing its nuclear weapons programs. Bill Clinton knew these facts: in 1995, the CIA informed him that Iraq had destroyed its WMD in the early 1990s (Newsweek, March 7, 2003). According to Richard Falk and Howard Friel (The Record of the Paper), Clinton withheld this CIA information and continued to support economic sanctions against Iraq “for its alleged failure to comply with UN disarmament resolutions.” Compared to a blow job in the White House, this a real impeachable offense.

john marcianoIn 2003, millions throughout the US protested the invasion of Iraq – particularly Democrats and liberals. Does their righteous anger arise, however, only when the bombs and drones have “made by Republicans” written on them? Nearly five years into Obama’s presidency, we have irrefutable proof most Democrats and liberals are willing to protest Republican crimes but become mute when it comes to similar reprehensible acts committed by their favorite political figures. Where are the former antiwar activists that once condemned Bush and Cheney, whose crimes against the Iraqi people have been totally supported by the Clintons?

John Marciano

Friday, 19 July 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on July 19, 2013
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About John Marciano

John Marciano has been an activist, scholar and teacher in the antiwar/social justice movement since 1965, commencing as a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo where he was a founding member of SDS there. He was a chair of the Tompkins County (Ithaca, NY) human rights commission, where he worked with community groups to confront homophobia, racism, violence against women and war.

Now Professor Emeritus at SUNY, he has published two books, book chapters, numerous articles and dozens of opinion pieces on political and social issues. These include Teaching the Vietnam War (with Willliam L. Griffen), 1979; and Civic Illiteracy and Education: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of American Youth, 1997. Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn read the Vietnam manuscript and Zinn wrote the preface; Chomsky also commented on Civic Illiteracy and wrote an endorsement; “9/11 and Civic Illiteracy,” in Comparative Education, Terrorism and Human Security, 2003; “Civic Literacy at Its Best: The ‘Democratic Distemper’ of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS),” in Defending Public Schools, 2004; and “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Shifting Meaning of Terrorism,” The Bookpress, Ithaca, New York, October 2003.

From 2004 through 2008, he taught community courses for adults in Santa Monica on Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Empire as a Way of Life, based on the work of William Appleman Williams.