Monday, December 3, 2007

Bill Clinton as Autobiographical Revisionist

Not entirely news, but it turns out that Baby Doc Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, would like us to believe that he was always against the Iraq war. There's just one little problem: he seemed quite the warmonger not that long ago. The sheer amount of war and genocide perpetrated during the Clinton years is adequately covered elsewhere - just pick up a recent book by Noam Chomsky or William Blum for a crash course. This blog has certainly had a few cross words for those pining for a return of the Clinton years:
The call for war to overthrow Saddam had been made for some time throughout the 1990s by members of a thinktank called PNAC - many of whose members are currently staffing the White House. It is also the case that the US and UK had been cooperating since the end of the 1991 Gulf War to continue periodic bombing raids within Iraq's borders. None of this is a secret. The US (abetted by UK) campaign of genocide in Iraq was already on-going by the time Bu$hCo usurped the throne - the economic embargo imposed by the US had led to the death by starvation and disease of some 500,000 children in Iraq, for example - something that Clinton's ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright considered an acceptable price to pay. The US had also just two years prior to 9-11 been involved in a war in the Balkans region. There was plenty of war going on.
Further:
I've discussed previously the fact that following the presumed "end" to the Gulf War the regular bombings of Iraq targets continued unabated throughout the 1990s and early 2000s - at which point begins the official "beginning" of the war that our government is currently perpetrating. These airstrikes, conducted under the pretext of preventing the Evil Saddam from engaging in further hostilities with his neighbors, actually served the purposes of preventing efforts to rebuild the infrastructure (and worked in tandem with economic sanctions serving the same end). These strikes included, among other targets, the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq on Sept. 3 & 4, 1996 (ostensibly to "protect" the Kurds) ordered by none other than Bill Clinton (see, e.g., Ward Churchill's On the Justice of Roosting Chickens for a more thorough treatment of the US posture towards Iraq during this period). Of course, there were periodic spikes in bombing activity including - as it turns out - a noticeable escalation in airstrikes during the latter half of 2002:
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.

The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.

The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.

Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that "the US had already begun `spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime".

The new information, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, shows that the allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001, and that the RAF increased their attacks even more quickly than the Americans did. Link
Also, why I have increasingly turned my back on the Dems can be traced in part to:
Whether it's dismantling facets of the New Deal, turning their backs on labor in order to support neoliberal cheap-labor economic policies, or going along with the latest war of aggression in spite of public protest and good sense. We've seen that genocide has been a bipartisan affair: the current state of affairs in Iraq is truly an outrage, but let us not forget that the genocide against the South Vietnamese occurred under a Democrat's watch as did the continued genocide against the Iraqi civilians via periodic bombing raids and economic policies designed to starve Iraqi civilians under Clinton.
We could add to the list two Balkans wars fought under false pretenses, as well as a continuation of the Somalia "humanitarian" intervention started under Papa Doc Bush. That might indeed really be the only real "difference" between the mainstream of the Dems and the mainstream of the GOP: the former will frame wars in "humanitarian" terms whereas the latter will frame wars under the pretense of "national security." Assuming that the Democrat half of the War Party is in control starting January 2009, we can expect plenty of humanitarian bombs to be dropped on civilians in Darfur, as well as humanitarian massacres of Iranian civilians. Perhaps this will appeal to the "nurturing parent" schema held by their supporters: "we had to destroy a few hundred thousand or more lives in order to make the world a more gentle loving place." It'll be some sort of rubbish along those lines no doubt, and I'm sure that there will be plenty of Dem activists singing "Kumbaya" as villages burn, water sources are poisoned, children starve, and cronies' pockets are lined with plenty of greenbacks.

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