Monday, March 10, 2008

Genocide and the Presidential Race

When I created this blog, I intended on covering high level corruption in our government, along with
matters of substance occurring elsewhere in the world. What instead has happened is that I've been sucked into the presidential race like every other observer in America. I think I do pretty well not doing what I hate the MSM for doing (dwelling to much on the trivial at the expense of the important), but I'm by no means perfect.
Fortunately for my sense of duty, the campaign has actually intersected with what I think of as a more important issue: the aversion of US to getting involved in the prevention of genocide.
Specifically, Bill Clinton is claiming that his wife urged him to get involved in preventing the genocide in Rwanda. Hillary said the same thing.
Let's be clear about this: the Clinton administration did worse than nothing when confronted with the greatest moral test of the Clinton presidency. If the Clintons are telling the truth, there is absolutely no evidence to back them up. I, for one, do not believe them.
Here's a rather long post commenting on this matter, which is well worth reading. To quote some of it.
So, to sum up: the US didn't just fail to intervene in Rwanda. Our government urged the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping forces that were on the ground protecting Rwandans, for no better reason than to keep the Belgians from looking like cowards. It refused to jam the radio station that was passing on instructions for genocide. It blocked further efforts to reinforce the peacekeeping forces there. It also failed to do any of the much smaller things that might have shown that our government was not wholly indifferent to the people of Rwanda who were, at that time, being hacked to death with machetes.

It's worth bearing this background in mind when you hear Hillary Clinton claim that she advocated military intervention in Rwanda. If you don't, you might think: well, it's perfectly comprehensible that she might have argued for military intervention but failed to convince her husband. After all, military intervention in another country is a big deal, not to be undertaken lightly. And it's easy to imagine Hillary Clinton being in favor of it, and her husband reluctantly concluding that it just wasn't something he could do.

It's a lot harder to imagine that while Hillary Clinton was advocating military intervention, she not only failed to convince her husband to send troops, but also failed to convince him, for instance, not to advocate the withdrawal of most of the UN peacekeepers, or that he really ought to order the Pentagon to jam Radio Milles Collines. If she was doing her best behind the scenes, and failed to accomplish even this -- if, despite her best efforts, she couldn't persuade her husband not to advocate withdrawing UN peacekeepers just to provide cover for the Belgians -- then we really need to ask how effective an advocate she really is, especially since no one except her husband, in full campaign mode, seems to remember her efforts at all.

Of course, I think it's a lot more likely that she either didn't advocate action on Rwanda at all, or did so only in passing. If so, this would have to be the definitive example of her attempt to claim responsibility for everything good that happened during her husband's presidency, while disavowing all responsibility for his mistakes. This was, in my opinion, the most shameful moment of the Clinton administration. It ought, by rights, to have a place in Hillary Clinton's "thirty five years of experience working for change." Or perhaps she might claim that she wasn't that interested in foreign policy at the time, or that for whatever reason she just didn't pick up on the genocide in Rwanda until it was too late to act. That would at least be honest.

But if, in fact, Clinton missed the chance to urge her husband to help stop the Rwandan genocide, then she should not pretend that she was, in fact, right there on the side of the angels all along. That's just grotesque.

Interestingly, Samantha Power, the Obama advisor who lost her job for calling Hillary a "monster" was one of the foremost in documenting the horrible callousness the administration showed during the genocide. From an article on the:
The Barack Obama campaign is about to pay a very high price for the inopportune words of one of its most distinguished foreign policy advisors. The dazzlingly brilliant journalist, Pulitzer-prize winning author, and Harvard professor, Samantha Power, has been forced to resign from the campaign after she recklessly told a reporter that Hillary Clinton is a "monster."
Power was rightfully awarded the Pulitzer for her finely written and downright horrifying book "A Problem From Hell" which, in macabre detail, describes the calculated indifference of the Clinton administration when 800,000 Rwandans were being systematically butchered. The red phone rang and rang and rang again. I don't know where Hillary was then. But her husband and his entire experienced foreign policy team - from the brass in the Pentagon to the congenitally feckless Secretary of State Warren Christopher - just let it ring.

And as more than one researcher has amply documented the case, the bloody paralysis of the Clinton administration in the face of the Rwandan genocide owed not at all to a lack of information, but rather to a lack of will. A reviewer of Power's book for The New York Times, perhaps summed it up best, saying that the picture of Clinton that emerges from this reading is that of an "amoral narcissist."
We gave Power the Pulitzer for exposing the, well, monstrous indifference of the Clinton administration as it stared unblinkingly and immobile into the face of massive horror. But we give her a kick in the backside and throw her out the door when she has the temerity to publicly restate all that in one impolite word. Monstrous, indeed.

The Rwandan crises was by far the most shameful episode of the Clinton presidency. For the Clintons to bring it up then lie about, I think everyone can guess what I think about that. Experience, bah.


Matt said...

Now I'm definitely not getting her back anytime soon.

in another note, new Harris Poll shows the uncuriosity and ignorance of americans yet again:

only 23% of americans or so read blogs. combined with the 20% that watch the news, we have a winner! America.

Matt said...

you might also like this

sockrateaser said...

That's really funny.