Backtalk, December 24, 2007

Hillary Clinton’s Illiberal Belligerence

Dear Professor Zunes:

Thank you for “Hillary Clinton’s Illiberal Belligerence.” However, I must take serious issue with your characterization of her belligerence as “illiberal.”

There is absolutely NOTHING that has happened in or to this country or planet since Sept. 11, 2001 – particularly including the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the so-called “war” against so-called “terrorism,” or the creation of the Fatherland Security State – that would or could have been possible without the eager and willing enabling and abetting of the so-called “liberals,” Democratic or otherwise.

Surely you’ve not forgotten how the Democrats (including Clinton, Kerry, et al.) DEMANDED the right to give Cheney permission to invade and occupy Iraq back in the summer of 2002, so as not to be able to be called “soft on WMDs” by the Republicans during the congressional elections that year.

Nor can you have forgotten the undebated, unchallenged, and unchallengeable blank check that not just Hillary but every liberal save one (the gracious and courageous lady from Oakland, Rep. Barbara Lee) just days after 9/11 gave the Cheney White House to do whatever it deemed is, was, or ever will be required or desired to wage and win the New Crusade. Or how few, if any, bothered to even read, let alone understand, before voting for the USA PATRIOT and Fatherland Security Acts in the following weeks.

Nor need we limit an examination of liberal belligerence to events ostensibly linked to 9/11. I don’t recall it being a conservative (neo- or otherwise) administration that launched the full-scale American war in Vietnam in the ’60s. And it certainly was no liberal that ended it.

And it was no conservative regime that choreographed the dismemberment of what used to be Yugoslavia in the ’90s. Or that, as you acknowledge, bombed the Sudan in 1998. Or that killed 750,000 to 1 million Iraqis between 1993 to 2001 (mostly the very young and the very old, particularly women) via treatable or preventable diseases by carrying forth the sanctions initiated by Bush the Elder. …

~ Jeffrey G. Moebus, master sergeant, U.S. Army (retired), Montara, Calif.

Stephen Zunes replies:

Actually, that title was not mine; it was chosen by the editors.

Though I think you go a bit too far at points, I mostly agree with your analysis.

Ron Paul: Slings and Arrows, Left and Right


I like the new photo – but is it of your kid brother? What is your secret of eternal youth?!

Love your articles, and I read them here in remote Australia, where our neocon PM has just been booted out of office and his House seat, too. Grand days! The Curse of the House of Bush is working like a trick!

~ Brian McKinlay

Yes. I wholeheartedly approve of the new “Behind the Headlines” photo.

The old picture had you looking back over your shoulder in a PATRIOT Act-esque, “watch yer back” posture.

Now, you are looking ahead to the future, one in which U.S. foreign policy is returned to its originally stated function of upholding the Constitution and defense thereof, and the U.S. is neither the world’s policeman nor the world’s problem (see Bush’s recent climate change conference).

You are looking neither left nor right – again, very apropos of the political stance of and sane people everywhere. A few years from now, when the stature of the United States of America has been restored and the people have their rights to liberty restored, will be regarded as instrumental in keeping those fundamentally American ideals alive – and I love you guys for that.

~ Brian Otten (U.S. expat, supporter since 2001), London, England

Hi Justin,

Even before I read your request to comment on the new photo, I was thinking of writing you a note. I like it! You look dignified and healthy. I don’t know if you’re still puffing on those cigarettes, but I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. The world is a better place with you in it.

I liked your comments about Ron Paul’s economic populism. I am a nonpartisan, pro-small government liberal, and I tell people that the problem with big government is that it redistributes wealth – from the many in the form of taxes to the politically connected few. This corruption, in turn, distorts the efficiencies of a market economy and harms the rest of us even further. Of course, when the biggest gravy train is the military-industrial complex, it means there is a profit incentive to waging war. You know all that, but that’s how I explain it.

~ Wayne Grabert

Antiwar Left Should Look Beyond Democrats

I really, really wish that what you are saying were true, but sadly, it is not. The antiwar “movement” is based chiefly in the left wing of the Democratic Party, a wing that has limited influence over the “centrist” leadership of the party. The rest is mainly based in the anti-interventionist wing of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. They are a politically tiny minority in their own party with virtually no influence. The rest are independent people like Naderites. Ideologically pure, politically impotent.

The American people are knee-jerk pro-military, and apart from that, they just don’t care about war because it causes them no problems, and they really aren’t paying attention. If you don’t “support the troops,” then they’ll turn on you in an instant. The troops are their heroes. Ron Paul is amazing because he’s gone from 1 percent to 3 percent of the vote nationally, but he’s not going to win any primaries or elections. We are stuck with the Democrats because they are the only viable political force we have.

~ Stephen Davis

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