Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?

From the Archive: As Democrats line up behind Hillary Clinton as their presumptive 2016 presidential nominee, many are whistling past the graveyard of her disastrous record on foreign interventions, judgments that raise doubts about her fitness for the job, as Robert Parry observed in 2014.

By Robert Parry (Originally published on Feb. 10, 2014, with some updates.)

Most Democratic power-brokers appear settled on Hillary Clinton as their choice for President in 2016 and she holds lopsided leads over potential party rivals in early opinion polls but there are some warning flags flying, paradoxically, hoisted by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his praise for the former First Lady, U.S. senator and Secretary of State.

On the surface, one might think that Gates’s glowing commendations of Clinton would further burnish her standing as the odds-on next President of the United States, but strip away the fawning endorsements and Gates’s portrait of Clinton in his memoir, Duty, is of a pedestrian foreign policy thinker who is easily duped and leans toward military solutions.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, for thoughtful and/or progressive Democrats, the prospect of a President Hillary Clinton could represent a step back from some of President Barack Obama’s more innovative foreign policy strategies, particularly his readiness to cooperate with the Russians and Iranians to defuse Middle East crises and his willingness to face down the Israel Lobby when it is pushing for heightened confrontations and war.

Based on her public record and Gates’s insider account, Clinton could be expected to favor a more neoconservative approach to the Mideast, one more in line with the traditional thinking of Official Washington and the belligerent dictates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As a U.S. senator and as Secretary of State, Clinton rarely challenged the conventional wisdom or resisted the use of military force to solve problems. She famously voted for the Iraq War in 2002 falling for President George W. Bush’s bogus WMD case and remained a war supporter until her position became politically untenable during Campaign 2008.

Representing New York, Clinton rarely if ever criticized Israeli actions. In summer 2006, as Israeli warplanes pounded southern Lebanon, killing more than 1,000 Lebanese, Sen. Clinton shared a stage with Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman who had said, “While it may be true and probably is that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim.”

At a pro-Israel rally with Clinton in New York on July 17, 2006, Gillerman proudly defended Israel’s massive violence against targets in Lebanon. “Let us finish the job,” Gillerman told the crowd. “We will excise the cancer in Lebanon” and “cut off the fingers” of Hezbollah. Responding to international concerns that Israel was using “disproportionate” force in bombing Lebanon and killing hundreds of civilians, Gillerman said, “You’re damn right we are.” [NYT, July 18, 2006]

Sen. Clinton did not protest Gillerman’s remarks, since doing so would presumably have offended an important pro-Israel constituency.

Misreading Gates

In November 2006, when Bush nominated Gates to be Defense Secretary, Clinton gullibly misread the significance of the move. She interpreted it as a signal that the war was being wound down when it actually presaged the opposite, that an escalation or “surge” was coming.

From her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton failed to penetrate the smokescreen around Gates’s selection. The reality was that Bush had ousted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in part, because he had sided with Generals John Abizaid and George Casey who favored shrinking the U.S. military footprint in Iraq. Gates was privately onboard for replacing those generals and expanding the U.S. footprint.

After getting blindsided by Gates over what became a “surge” of 30,000 additional U.S. troops, Sen. Clinton sided with Democrats who objected to the escalation, but Gates quotes her in his memoir as later telling President Obama that she did so only for political reasons.

Gates recalled a meeting on Oct. 26, 2009, to discuss whether to authorize a similar “surge” in Afghanistan, a position favored by Gates and Clinton, with Secretary of State Clinton supporting even a higher number of troops than Defense Secretary Gates was. But the Afghan “surge” faced skepticism from Vice President Joe Biden and other White House staffers.

Gates wrote that he and Clinton “were the only outsiders in the session, considerably outnumbered by White House insiders. Obama said at the outset to Hillary and me, ‘It’s time to lay our cards on the table, Bob, what do you think?’ I repeated a number of the main points I had made in my memo to him [urging three brigades].

“Hillary agreed with my overall proposal but urged the president to consider approving the fourth brigade combat team if the allies wouldn’t come up with the troops.”

Gates then reported on what he regarded as a stunning admission by Clinton, writing: “The exchange that followed was remarkable. In strongly supporting the surge in Afghanistan, Hillary told the president that her opposition to the surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary [in 2008]. She went on to say, ‘The Iraq surge worked.’

“The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.” (Obama’s aides have since disputed Gates’s suggestion that the President indicated that his opposition to the Iraq “surge” was political, noting that he had always opposed the Iraq War. The Clinton team has not challenged Gates’s account.)

But the exchange, as recounted by Gates, indicates that Clinton not only let her political needs dictate her position on an important national security issue, but that she accepts as true the superficial conventional wisdom about the “successful surge” in Iraq.

While that is indeed Official Washington’s beloved interpretation in part because influential neocons believe the “surge” rehabilitated their standing after the WMD fiasco and the disastrous war the reality is that the Iraq “surge” never achieved its stated goal of buying time to reconcile the country’s financial and sectarian divides, which remain bloody to this day.

The Unsuccessful Surge

The truth that Hillary Clinton apparently doesn’t recognize is that the “surge” was only “successful” in that it delayed the ultimate American defeat until Bush and his neocon cohorts had vacated the White House and the blame for the failure could be shifted, at least partly, to President Obama.

Other than sparing “war president” Bush the humiliation of having to admit defeat, the dispatching of 30,000 additional U.S. troops in early 2007 did little more than get nearly 1,000 additional Americans killed almost one-quarter of the war’s total U.S. deaths along with what certainly was a much higher number of Iraqis.

For example, WikiLeaks’s “Collateral Murder.” video depicted one 2007 scene during the “surge” in which U.S. firepower mowed down a group of Iraqi men, including two Reuters news staffers, walking down a street in Baghdad. The attack helicopters then killed a Good Samaritan, when he stopped his van to take survivors to a hospital, and severely wounded two children in the van.

A more rigorous analysis of what happened in Iraq in 2007-08 apparently beyond Hillary Clinton’s abilities or inclination would trace the decline in Iraqi sectarian violence mostly to strategies that predated the “surge” and were implemented in 2006 by Generals Casey and Abizaid.

Among their initiatives, Casey and Abizaid deployed a highly classified operation to eliminate key al-Qaeda leaders, most notably the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June 2006. Casey and Abizaid also exploited growing Sunni animosities toward al-Qaeda extremists by paying off Sunni militants to join the so-called “Awakening” in Anbar Province.

And, as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings reached horrendous levels in 2006, the U.S. military assisted in the de facto ethnic cleansing of mixed neighborhoods by helping Sunnis and Shiites move into separate enclaves, thus making the targeting of ethnic enemies more difficult. In other words, the flames of violence were likely to have abated whether Bush ordered the “surge” or not.

Radical Shiite leader Moktada al-Sadr also helped by issuing a unilateral cease-fire, reportedly at the urging of his patrons in Iran who were interested in cooling down regional tensions and speeding up the U.S. withdrawal. By 2008, another factor in the declining violence was the growing awareness among Iraqis that the U.S. military’s occupation indeed was coming to an end. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted on and got a firm timetable for American withdrawal from Bush.

Even author Bob Woodward, who had published best-sellers that praised Bush’s early war judgments, concluded that the “surge” was only one factor and possibly not even a major one in the declining violence. In his book, The War Within, Woodward wrote, “In Washington, conventional wisdom translated these events into a simple view: The surge had worked. But the full story was more complicated. At least three other factors were as important as, or even more important than, the surge.”

Woodward, whose book drew heavily from Pentagon insiders, listed the Sunni rejection of al-Qaeda extremists in Anbar province and the surprise decision of al-Sadr to order a cease-fire as two important factors. A third factor, which Woodward argued may have been the most significant, was the use of new highly classified U.S. intelligence tactics that allowed for rapid targeting and killing of insurgent leaders.

However, in Washington, where the neocons remain very influential, the myth grew that Bush’s “surge” had brought the violence under control. Gen. David Petraeus, who took command of Iraq after Bush yanked Casey and Abizaid, was elevated into hero status as the military genius who achieved “victory at last” in Iraq (as Newsweek declared).

Even the inconvenient truth that the United States was unceremoniously ushered out of Iraq in 2011 and that the mammoth U.S. embassy that was supposed to be the command center for Washington’s imperial reach throughout the region sat mostly empty did not dent this cherished conventional wisdom about the “successful surge.”

Clinton’s Conundrum

Yet, it is one thing for neocon pundits to promote such fallacies; it is another thing for the Democratic front-runner for President in 2016 to believe this nonsense. And to say that she only opposed the “surge” out of a political calculation could border on disqualifying.

But that pattern fits with Clinton’s previous decisions. She belatedly broke with the Iraq War during Campaign 2008 when she realized that her hawkish stance was damaging her political chances against Obama, who had opposed the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Despite Clinton’s shift on Iraq, Obama still managed to win the Democratic nomination and ultimately the White House. However, after his election, some of his advisers urged him to assemble a “team of rivals” a la Abraham Lincoln by asking Republican Defense Secretary Gates to stay on and recruiting Clinton to be Secretary of State.

Then, in his first months in office, as Obama grappled with what to do about the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, Gates and Clinton teamed up with Gen. David Petraeus, a neocon favorite, to maneuver the President into another 30,000-troop “surge” to wage a counterinsurgency war across large swaths of Afghanistan.

In Duty, Gates cites his collaboration with Clinton as crucial to his success in getting Obama to agree to the troop escalation and the expanded goal of counterinsurgency. Referring to Clinton, Gates wrote, “we would develop a very strong partnership, in part because it turned out we agreed on almost every important issue.”

The hawkish Gates-Clinton tandem helped counter the move dovish team including Vice President Joe Biden, several members of the National Security Council staff and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, who tried to steer President Obama away from this deeper involvement.

Gates wrote, “I was confident that Hillary and I would be able to work closely together. Indeed, before too long, commentators were observing that in an administration where all power and decision making were gravitating to the White House, Clinton and I represented the only independent ‘power center,’ not least because, for very different reasons, we were both seen as ‘un-fireable.’”

When General Stanley McChrystal proposed the expanded counterinsurgency war for Afghanistan, Gates wrote that he and “Hillary strongly supported McChrystal’s approach” along with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Petraeus. On the other side were Biden, NSC aide Tom Donilon and intelligence adviser John Brennan, with Eikenberry supporting more troops but skeptical of the counterinsurgency plan because of weaknesses in the Afghan government, Gates wrote.

After Obama hesitantly approved the Afghan “surge” and reportedly immediately regretted his decision Clinton took aim at Eikenberry, a retired general who had served in Afghanistan before being named ambassador.

Pressing for his removal, “Hillary had come to the meeting loaded for bear,” Gates wrote. “She gave a number of specific examples of Eikenberry’s insubordination to herself and her deputy. She said, ‘He’s a huge problem.’

“She went after the NSS [national security staff] and the White House staff, expressing anger at their direct dealings with Eikenberry and offering a number of examples of what she termed their arrogance, their efforts to control the civilian side of the war effort, their refusal to accommodate requests for meetings.

“As she talked, she became more forceful. ‘I’ve had it,’ she said, ‘You want it [control of the civilian side of the war], I’ll turn it all over to you and wash my hands of it. I’ll not be held accountable for something I cannot manage because of White House and NSS interference.’”

However, when the protests failed to get Eikenberry and General Douglas Lute, a deputy national security adviser, fired, Gates concluded that they had the protection of President Obama and reflected his doubts about the Afghan War policy:

“It had become clear that Eikenberry and Lute, whatever their shortcomings, were under an umbrella of protection at the White House. With Hillary and me so adamant that the two should leave, that protection could come only from the president. Because I could not imagine any previous president tolerating someone in a senior position openly working against policies he had approved, the most likely explanation was that the president himself did not really believe the strategy he had approved would work.”

Of the 2,357 American soldiers who have died in the 12-year-old Afghan War, about 1,725 (or nearly three-quarters) have died since President Obama took office. Many were killed in what is now widely regarded as the failed counterinsurgency strategy that Gates, Petraeus and Clinton pushed on Obama.

Getting Gaddafi

In 2011, Secretary of State Clinton also was a hawk on military intervention in Libya to oust (and ultimately kill) Muammar Gaddafi. However, on Libya, Defense Secretary Gates sided with the doves, feeling that the U.S. military was already overextended in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and another intervention risked further alienating the Muslim world.

This time, Gates found himself lined up with Biden, Donilon and Brennan “urging caution,” while Clinton joined with Rice and NSC aides Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power in “urging aggressive U.S. action to prevent an anticipated massacre of the rebels as Qaddafi fought to remain in power,” Gates wrote. “In the final phase of the internal debate, Hillary threw her considerable clout behind Rice, Rhodes and Power.”

President Obama again ceded to Clinton’s advocacy for war and supported a Western bombing campaign that enabled the rebels, including Islamic extremists with ties to Al-Qaeda, to seize control of Tripoli and hunt Gaddafi down in Sirte, Libya, on Oct. 20, 2011. After Gaddafi was caught, he was tortured, including being sodomized by a knife, and then murdered.

Clinton expressed delight when she received the news of Gaddafi’s capture and death, though she may not have known all the grisly details at the time. During a TV interview, she joked, “We came, we saw, he died,” in a reference to Julius Caesar’s famous phrase, “veni, vidi, vici,” Latin for “I came, I saw, I conquered” after a decisive military victory in what is now Turkey.

But the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi cast Libya into civil war and chaos with Islamic terrorism spreading throughout Libya and surrounding areas. The violence included an assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel, an incident that Clinton has called the worst moment in her four years as Secretary of State.

Gates retired from the Pentagon on July 1, 2011, and Clinton stepped down at the State Department on Feb. 1, 2013, after Obama’s reelection. Afterwards, Obama charted a more innovative foreign policy course, collaborating with Russian President Vladimir Putin to achieve diplomatic breakthroughs on Syria and Iran, rather than seeking military solutions or more “regime changes” favored by the neocons.

In both cases, Obama had to face down hawkish sentiments in his own administration and in Congress, as well as Israeli and Saudi opposition. Regarding negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, the Israel Lobby pressed for new sanctions legislation that appeared designed to sabotage the talks and put the U.S. and Iran on a possible path to war.

(Later in February 2014, neocons inside the State Department, including Assistant of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who had been promoted by Secretary Clinton, sabotaged Obama’s cooperation with Putin by orchestrating a coup in Ukraine on Russia’s border. The crisis drove a wedge between Obama and Putin.)

Dealing with Iran

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had been a hawk on the Iranian nuclear issue. In 2009-2010, when Iran first indicated a willingness to compromise, she led the opposition to any negotiated settlement and pushed for punishing sanctions.

To clear the route for sanctions, Clinton helped sink agreements tentatively negotiated with Iran to ship most of its low-enriched uranium out of the country. In 2009, Iran was refining uranium only to the level of about 3-4 percent, as needed for energy production. Its negotiators offered to swap much of that for nuclear isotopes for medical research.

But the Obama administration and the West rebuffed the Iranian gesture because it would have left Iran with enough enriched uranium to theoretically refine much higher up to 90 percent for potential use in a single bomb, though Iran insisted it had no such intention and U.S. intelligence agencies agreed.

Then, in spring 2010, Iran agreed to another version of the uranium swap proposed by the leaders of Brazil and Turkey, with the apparent backing of President Obama. But that arrangement came under fierce attack by Secretary of State Clinton and was derided by leading U.S. news outlets, including editorial writers at the New York Times who mocked Brazil and Turkey as being “played by Tehran.”

The ridicule of Brazil and Turkey as bumbling understudies on the world stage continued even after Brazil released Obama’s private letter to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva encouraging Brazil and Turkey to work out the deal. Despite the letter’s release, Obama didn’t publicly defend the swap and instead joined in scuttling the deal, another moment when Clinton and administration hardliners got their way.

That set the world on the course for tightened economic sanctions on Iran and heightened tensions that brought the region close to another war. As Israel threatened to attack, Iran expanded its nuclear capabilities by increasing enrichment to 20 percent to fill its research needs, moving closer to the level necessary for building a bomb.

Ironically, the nuclear deal reached in late 2013 (and reinforced by the framework agreement of April 2, 2015) essentially accepts Iran’s low-enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes, pretty much where matters stood in 2009-2010. But the Israel Lobby quickly set to work, again, trying to torpedo the new agreement by getting Congress to approve new sanctions on Iran.

Clinton remained noncommittal for several weeks as momentum for the sanctions bill grew, but she finally declared her support for President Obama’s opposition to the new sanctions. In a Jan. 26 letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, she wrote:

“Now that serious negotiations are finally under way, we should do everything we can to test whether they can advance a permanent solution. As President Obama said, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed, while keeping all options on the table. The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that imposing new unilateral sanctions now ‘would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.’ I share that view. “

Clinton’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry, also has pressed Israel and the Palestinian Authority to accept a U.S. framework for settling their long-running conflict (an effort that ultimately failed when Israeli leaders balked at meaningful concessions). The Obama administration’s aggressiveness even in the face of Israeli objections stood in marked contrast to the behavior of previous U.S. administrations and, indeed, Obama’s first term with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

One key question for a Clinton presidential candidacy will be whether she would build on the diplomatic foundation that Obama has laid, or dismantle it and return to a more traditional foreign policy focused on military might and catering to the views of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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29 comments for “Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?

  1. Bill Bodden
    April 23, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Perhaps this article should have been titled: “Are the neocons Hillary lite?”

  2. Bill Bodden
    April 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

    She famously voted for the Iraq War in 2002 – falling for President George W. Bush’s bogus WMD case – …

    More likely she voted for the Iraq war because of the pro-Israel vote in New York state as the paragraph following the above quotes suggests.

    • rexw
      April 25, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      An accurate comment, Bill.

      Of all the things that have happened and which have caused the USA’s fall from grace and international respect, far too many to list here, any further association with this woman would put paid to any possible recovery of prestige.

      I doubt if in the often inspiring history of the USA, a person has ever been as dangerous to America and the world. She is controlled by Tel Aviv, totally, and one needs to say no more than that.

    • hidflect
      April 29, 2015 at 12:33 am

      Bingo! It’s an gushing sense of overwhelming relief that other people out there in the electronic void “get it”.

  3. Stephen Berk
    April 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Hillary indeed has a hawkish record. Her irresponsible support of the Libya intervention against a Qaddafi who had come to an agreement with the West and who was the only one who could contain the radical factions of Islam in Libya, was one of her worst errors. I have hoped that someone with a strong military background and a realist position, like former Virginia senator, Jim Webb, will challenge her and debate her on her militaristic foreign policy. If she is the inevitable nominee, I may have to bite the bullet and vote for her, as the Republicans have become an extremist party, dominated by a far right with a paranoid world view and hyper-militarism. Also, Clinton’s domestic record in the Senate is on the liberal side, and she definitely would appoint better people to the Supreme Court. She opposes Citizens United and the movement to overturn it. The gang of five Republican majority on the Court has traitorously turned this country into a plutocratic oligarchy, run by the likes of the Koch brothers, the Walton family and Sheldon Adelson.

  4. Stephen Berk
    April 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Correction: I meant to say that Clinton opposes Citizens United and supports the movement to overturn it. I also applaud her support for the negotiated deal with Iran achieved by John Kerry and the Obama administration.

    • Peter Loeb
      April 28, 2015 at 6:39 am

      DEAR STEPHEN BERK: YOU HAVE NO “LINE IN THE SAND”…

      “Freedom” (so-called) is indeed a wonderful thing.

      If you want to support Israel and its many oppressions of the
      indigenous people of Palestine including massacres, rape,
      murder, home demolitions, massive state terror, destruction
      of infrastructure (hospitals, schools etc.), defiance of inter-
      national law, you should indeed support Hillary Clinton.

      The fact that she is female gives her no excuse whatsoever.

      I have “drawn a line in the sand”. I will not support any
      political candidate or political entity which fails to condemn
      Israel. That is not MY decision. It is theirs. If they wanted
      my vote and support, they would have advocated other
      policies.

      (PS I could have expressed the above in unprintable language.
      Instead I was reserved!)

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  5. Mrk
    April 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Hillary Clinton has her own oligarchic backers. More here. The photos are priceless. She is also a Hillraiser, and was on the DNC’s Platform Committee in 2008.

  6. abbybwood
    April 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    This just in….

    Ukraine’s “American” Finance Minister asks Sen. John McCain for weapons for Ukraine:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/ukraines-american-finance-minister-asks-john-mccain-weapons/5981

    It almost seems as if there has been a coup in the United States. Obama is supposed to be the president yet it seems John McCain, the guy who LOST the election is doing a lot of running around the world micro-managing things with his “good friend” Bibi.

    We see John in Syria making nice with the “rebels” (Al Queda). We see John making nice with Bibi while Bibi was in D.C. campaigning with the entire Congress jumping up and down for him (and McCain and Graham as Bibi’s main cheerleaders).

    Victoria Nuland (at the behest of Hillary!) fomented the coup in Ukraine and her husband, Robert Kagan, a Neocon to the max, cheerleaded that effort.

    And with that coup and the influx of billions of dollars from the IMF the coup leaders had to make sure one of “their own” was named to control the finances, voila enter the American citizen Natalie Jaresko! (Naturally she had to be quickly sworn in as a “Ukrainian citizen” prior to moving into her new office.

    Now she and McCain are having their little private soirees over how to jump start a hot war with Russia!:

    Would ANY adult in the room please stand up and speak up!

    We need a major soiree of our own at the National Press Club with Nader, Parry, Scheer, Warren, Sanders, Hedges (feel free to add to this list) and others who sincerely want to AVERT a hot war with Russia.

    The Neocons (including ALL the Republicans running for president) and Hillary! need to be put on CHECK!

    • Rob Roy
      April 23, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      abbybwood, well said and you are right on all counts. The fact that Clinton brought in Nuland is enough to not vote for her. Nuland is crazy enough to actually think she can force a regime change in Russia by pulling off a coup and throwing out Putin. Ukraine is run by neo-Nazis and she doesn’t even care; they are murdering people right and left without MSM covering it. McCain doesn’t care either and is in the thick of things. Jaresko has mud on herself, too. Putin would be harder to unseat than Bashar al Assad and has a better military than the U.S. He’s smarter than the Kagan types and won’t be bullied. We’ve instigated many illegal wars since WWII and have lost every one. If America is dumb and “exceptional” enough to start a war with Russia, maybe this time we will lose big enough to stop starting wars altogether. Oh, I forgot about Africa…in 49 or the 54 countries we have proxy wars and secret operations under African Command (AFRICOM), another of our “pivots.” I like your list of good people, every one and wish they’d join forces and upset the current parties. Another Clinton nor Bush will change anything.

      • Rob Roy
        April 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm

        Excuse, me…I meant to say, “Another Clinton nor Bush will NOT change anything.”

    • Pat
      April 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      abbybwood, you are mostly right, but I’d like to clarify a couple of points.

      McCain is an idiot, but he didn’t “make nice” with Al Qaeda in Syria. That is an Internet myth that just won’t go away. The truth behind the photos making the rounds as “evidence” needs a lot of explanation and so doesn’t make a very good story, unless you’re willing to follow the trail of breadcrumbs, which leads back to the State Department and its use of taxpayers’ money to fund propaganda groups that it can then cite as justification for U.S. intervention.

      Second, this story is not “just in.” It appeared on the site of the Ron Paul Institute on Tuesday. I suggest that your link should have gone to that story and not to Russia Insider. Why, you might ask, am I making a big deal about this?

      Russia Insider is building its audience by plagiarizing the work of others. There’s nothing wrong with being an aggregator – that’s essentially how HuffPo started. However, Russia Insider publishes articles in their entirety. Not only is this plagiarism under U.S. digital copyright law, but it cheats sites like ConsortiumNews out of readership and thus out of donations that keep them running. Marketing shows that only a small percentage of visitors to a site donate or buy anything, so building and maintaining traffic is vital.

      In fact, Russia Insider has published several of Bob Parry’s articles. Yes, they provide a link to the original article, but who is going to click on it when the entire story is right in front of them? Moreover, if you find an article of Bob’s (or anyone else’s) and click on his “byline,” the link goes to a page on Russia Insider with a list of stories it has published by the writer and not to the writer’s own Web site.

      The correct way for an aggregator to use work by others is to use a couple of sentences, maybe a paragraph, with a “read more” link directly to the original article. I have left comments to that effect on Russia Insider, so they are aware of this. Apparently they don’t care, which is ironic. They are positioning themselves as the anti-empire news site, while engaging in practices that hurt independent news sites and blogs that, by the way, have been around a hell of a lot longer and have earned their reputations.

      If this is a bit heavy handed, my apologies. I feel very strongly about this.

      Regarding Nuland, Kagan, Jaresko, etc., Bob Parry has covered these stories extensively on this site.

      I do like your idea for a soiree at the National Press Club. I’m not sure who would organize something like that, but it’s worth finding out. It will be even more important when campaigning for the primaries goes full swing. For what it’s worth, Nader is The Man. He couldn’t win an election, but he knows Washington and offers solutions instead of just complaining. I wish more people would take him seriously.

  7. Roberto
    April 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    It is a fact, and something that has bothered me for a while, that Hillary was working with Nuland, a leftover of the Bush administration.

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/victoria-nuland-barack-obamas-problem-diplomatin-a-1017614.html

  8. Joe L.
    April 23, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    As a Canadian, sometimes I wish that the citizens of the rest of the world could vote in US elections. Why I say this is probably more than any other nation on earth whomever leads the US will effect the rest of the world. If I could vote, or I am guessing that if many other people that aren’t Americans could vote, I would not vote for either Republicans or Democrats – it seems to me that both are equally bad and will bring the world more war, more strife, and all-in-all be a divisive force in the world rather than one which will unite the world. I truly hope that Americans get out and vote but that they send a message to both the Democrats and Republicans that enough is enough by voting for a 3rd party. Regardless though the vote is only for Americans, good luck.

    • Roberto
      April 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      A two party system is too good for the control freeks. By the time the general election comes, “the fix is already in.” We have a monster on our hands.

    • dahoit
      April 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Give it a rest,you knuckleheads have Harper,he’s worse than the shrub,he just doesn’t have as many toys.

  9. F. G. Sanford
    April 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    As much as I admire Mr. Parry’s work, I have to wonder. Would not a more penetrating question be, “Is Hillary really a Democrat?” According to the Washington Post, there are now several words you can no longer say about Hillary. Those include polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over-confident, secretive, “will do anything to win”, “represents the past” and “out of touch”. A team of “Super Volunteers”, the article claims, is standing by to disparage anyone who dares incorporate any of these words – and perhaps an entire thesaurus full of synonyms – into any political critique. They claim that usage of these words in conjunction with any description of Hillary constitutes “sexism”. So, I’ll try to avoid those words, tempting though they may be. It helps to go back to Hillary’s roots, when she was a “Goldwater Girl”, born and raised a midwest fundamentalist Christian Republican. Although not of the ‘fire and brimstone’ variety, her Protestant upbringing embraced that insidious doctrine of ‘the elect’, which espouses a peculiar notion of…damn, is there another word for entitlement? Theologically, it amounts to a rationalization for class distinction. “The poor are always with us”, the Dominionist Christians might admonish, and “It’s their own damn fault”. Moving on, there was that little scandal that got her fired from the watergate proceedings. As a result of ethics violations, Jerry Zeifman, then general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote: “I made a personal evaluation of Hillary Rodham (now Mrs. Clinton)…I decided that I could not recommend her for any future position of public or private trust.” Sexist indeed! Consistent with her Old Testament reactionary attitudes, the end justified the means. She carefully crafted alliances along the way, networking with other Rapture raving lunatics in various prayer workshops and Bible study groups with the likes of John [YES, THAT JOHN] Ashcroft. Today, deluded ‘progressives’ defend her candidacy based on fear of potential Supreme Court nominations. Her choices will be guided by her carefully sublimated fundamentalist Christian ideology. So far, her campaign rhetoric has been comprised of crafty references to the issues. She mentions them all, but offers no solutions. She won’t advocate taxing the rich, equal pay, raising the minimum wage, protecting Social Security, opposing TPP, reinstating Glass-Steagall or the “Fairness Doctrine”, repealing “Citizens United”, or protecting reproductive rights. I don’t think “evasive” is on the list of prohibited free speech yet, but let’s wait and see. I’m sure she’ll favor gay marriage and stricter gun laws. That will be enough to convince ‘progressives’. When one of her Supreme Court nominees votes to repeal Rowe v. Wade, don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      F.G. great comment about Hillary. What you wrote here about her history is ‘right on’. As much as I would love to see a ‘Woman U.S. President’, I would never want Hillary to be that woman. My biggest fear is that once Hillary would be in the White House that she would use our military when the first sign of trouble would break out somewhere. God, only knows where and when that would be, since there are so many tender spots that could ignite at any moment. I just feel like Hillary, as smart as she maybe, is to much into herself and the politics of legacy that her ambitions would hurt us all. I do mean all since the U.S. effects so much of our world. As far as that ‘sexism’ thing goes just ask my 6 daughters and my wife what think of Hillary…if you love Hillary you won’t like their answer.

      • F. G. Sanford
        April 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

        Have you noticed the family resemblance? Hillary is the long-lost Koch Sister!

        • Joe Tedesky
          April 24, 2015 at 12:32 am

          Now, now!

    • Zachary Smith
      April 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      “Is Hillary really a Democrat?”

      Of course not – at least if you define a “Democrat” in terms of something resembling FDR. She and her husband were both solid Republicans in everything but name. She still is, of course.

      You made a lot of good points, especially about the religious angles. Hanging out with that Fellowship bunch was something she did because doing so was what she really wanted.

      xxxx://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ehrenreich/hillarys-nasty-pastorate_b_92361.html

      Frankly, I couldn’t vote for Hillary even if she wasn’t a nasty neocon. The Fundie stuff and Corporate Connections are just too ugly. (and never mind her age!) I still believe that Hillary will guarantee the election of any semi-sane Republican who runs against her, but that’s assuming the Power Elites want a Republican in 2016. They had the chance to get Hillary in 2008 and passed on her. In my totally uniformed opinion I believe that’s still the case. Already Walker and Christie seem to be kaput. Most of the others are unelectable except possibly JEB. Again, it’s hard to believe even the rich ******** could stomach another Bush, but I do believe he’d trample Hillary if it came down to a match between the two of them. In the first place, he’s got an “R” by his name, and hers is only subliminal – worn in secret. Second, she’s a woman, and every true member of the Christian Right knows women are by definition second class creatures. Hillary and JEB are both totally corrupt, but I strongly suspect her “nasty” list is at least as long as his. If her name was Hillary Rose Clampett and his John Ellis Brown, neither one of them would be getting a bit of attention.

      Finally, another take on Hillary from a card-carrying “leftie”.

      Hillary the Hawk

    • Bill Bodden
      April 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      “Is Hillary really a Democrat?”

      Officially, yes, but like the other members of the Democratic Party oligarchy she is no democrat. Like their Republican counterparts they are all paid-for members of Friends of the Plutocracy and THE LOBBY. As some people would say, “Democrats and Republicans. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference.”

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 24, 2015 at 12:42 am

        Oh, to be a political fund raiser. I learned once a long time ago, from a presidential fund raiser how donors donate 60-40 on the average to both Republican & Democrate candidates. We just don’t need another party, we could use more parties. A third party candidate will just weaken one of the other two. For that reason we could use at least three parties for a total of five. There I go again with the ideas, but something needs to change from this picking the lesser of the two evils.

  10. Charlotte
    April 23, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite? Did that really need to be posed as a question?

    She absolutely is a Neocon-Lite, maybe even worse. And her record proves it.

    Hillary Clinton is a shill for Wall Street and big corporations like Wal Mart (which she served on the board of for years and is now getting millions flowed into her campaign by them). She is a war hawk through and through; she may try to downplay it during her campaign, but the only thing that matters are her past actions.

    Her first-world, corporate feminism (which isn’t even feminism) is a disgrace.

    Her claim to care about women and families even though she fervently supported and pushed for the anti-welfare bill that her husband signed in the 90s (which effectively ended their friendship with Peter and Marian Wright Edelman, who are two prominent children’s rights activists) and couldn’t care less about women and families abroad in countries whose carpet-bombings she’s cheered on is a disgrace. (She has supported every disastrous war since Vietnam. )

    Her claim to support LGBTs even though she opposed marriage equality up to only a couple years ago (when she was getting ready to campaign) is a disgrace. And she still refuses to change her stance that marriage equality is a state right rather than a human right.

    She claims to support universal healthcare even though she single-handedly destroyed the chance of a comprehensive, progressive healthcare bill from being passed in the 90s because she didn’t want to upset her corporate buddies, including the pharmaceutical companies.

    There are great articles on Counterpunch.org about her duplicitous, corrupt persona. I encourage everyone to read them.

    I also encourage everyone to support more progressive Democratic candidates in the primaries. Keep an eye out for who’s running (I think O’Malley probably is, from what I’ve read). Don’t fall into Clinton’s trap.

    Anyone but the Republicans and Hillary.

    • Zachary Smith
      April 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Anyone but the Republicans and Hillary.

      I’m sure there are many good Republicans out there, but I just can’t see such a person getting the nomination for that party. Can you imagine any former Republican president getting nominated today? Not even Herbert Hoover, IMO. A total blockhead in political terms, but the man was quite decent in some ways. NOT acceptable today.

      There are few “name” Democrats I can think of offhand. Joe Biden? HELL NO! Without making a search, he’s the only person who comes to mind. The Democratic bench is empty, and it’s my belief that’s exactly they way the Rich ******** wanted it.

  11. Joe_the_Socialist
    April 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

    ***

    As much as I reviled LBJ at the time, history will show that every President since the Johnson administration has been a neo-con.

    ***

    FREE AMERICA

    DIRECT DEMOCRACY

    ***

  12. Pat
    April 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?

    Absolutely not.

    She is a neocon heavy. All the more so because she comes two for the price of one.

    This is somewhat off-topic, but a few days ago I got an ad for Hillary in my Facebook feed. I clicked on the “why am I seeing this” link and got the response that Facebook has determined from my activity that I am “very liberal” and “thought you might like this.”

    It’s one thing to collect data on consumer habits, but quite another to build a political profile and then sell it to politicians. As far as I know (maybe someone else knows otherwise), Hillary is the first politician to target ads on Facebook. She’s not responsible for the data collection, of course, but she is using it, which means that she’s supporting electronic spying. Not that this should be any big surprise.

  13. Geoffrey Skoll
    April 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Hillary was a Goldwater Girl. She still is. She always will be. There is nothing ‘neo’ in the con.

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