In the aftermath of December 2, 2015, San Bernardino massacre, Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton paid careful attention to her PC-observant supporter base: “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now.” However, she did begin to speak more frequently about the perils of terrorism, especially after the March 22, 2016, Brussels carnage. Clinton presented herself as the sensible alternative to Donald Trump and his fellow Republican presidential candidates, who she disparaged for using inflammatory terms such as “radical Islamic terrorism”, rather than her less jarring descriptor, “radical jihadist terrorism”.
After the horrific Orlando atrocity, in the early hours of Sunday, June 12, Hillary Clinton has again depicted herself as the presidential candidate with the no-nonsense, effectual wherewithal to combat both domestic and international terrorism.
Politicians are frequently casual with the truth. Maybe it goes with the territory of wanting to appear sincere about an issue in the glare of the media spotlight, only to be caught out when the situation changes and public opinion shifts to a different position. Hillary Clinton is not the only candidate for high office who could be embarrassed by a visual record of policy reversals, as in this awkward collection, and yet is there not something disturbing about the high-handed manner in which she relentlessly insists that day is night?
In the same vein, a new paperback edition of Clinton’s memoir, Hard Choices, omits passages containing views that are no longer expedient. In the hardback Hard Choices (2014), Hillary Clinton supported President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and wrote favourably about his 2011 military intervention in Libya. However, to neutralise Bernie Sanders’ left-populist (or “democratic socialist”) challenge during the Democratic Party primaries, Clinton jettisoned these and a range of other, suddenly unhelpful opinions championed in the hardback version of her memoirs. The expurgation visited upon the new edition of Hard Choices is, according to publisher Simon & Schuster, “to accommodate a shorter length” – or, more accurately perhaps, the disposing of inconvenient truths in the memory hole.
Is there a pattern here? Take the case of the relatives of three of those killed in the second 9/11, the 2012 Benghazi bloodbath, C.I.A. contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and Foreign Services officer Sean Smith. Most of them are emphatic that in their various encounters with Hillary Clinton, the then-Secretary of State blamed an online video made by an Egyptian Copt living in the U.S.A. for the murder of the men. For instance, Tyrone Woods’ father, who took notes at his meeting, said this: “I gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand. And she said we are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son.” Hillary Clinton continues to deny this.
It does seem unlikely that Sean Smith’s mother has it wrong about what came out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth at the September 14, 2012 casket ceremony at Joint Base Andrews: “She’s absolutely lying. She told me something entirely different at the casket ceremony. She said it was because of the video.” Nevertheless, you would have to think that, on balance at least, Clinton has survived the accusations that (a) she lied to the relatives since she already knew that the Al Qaeda-affiliated group, Ansar al-Sharia, murdered the four Americans rather than a random crowd of outraged video watchers (b) she lied about lying to the relatives. She can thank the connivance of the mainstream media and the PC-observance of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic television debates, but also her husband’s infamous creed, as revealed by family friend Vernon Jordan in 1998: “There is no evidence, so you can deny, deny, deny.”
There is, of course, another conceivable betrayal on the part of Hillary Clinton towards the families of the Benghazi victims: the lack of security precautions taken by the U.S. Department of State in the lead up to September 11, 2012, attack. Here, again, some of the relevant evidence – which would be emails – appears to have vanished into the memory hole, along with all those other emails. And Benghazi only becomes more problematical with greater scrutiny. Once the Benghazi assault had commenced, “military assets that potentially could have saved lives of American citizens” were ready to go into action if only the “State Department had signed off”.
In fact, the consequences of America’s 2011 intervention in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya have proved so contentious – including civil war and the emergence of Salafi-jihadist militias – that President Obama has taken to blaming British Prime Minister David Cameron for the current difficulties. Hillary Clinton, in contrast, simply omits the pro-Libyan intervention passage below from her paperback edition of Hard Choices:
Our values and conscience demanded that the United States condemn the violence against civilians we were seeing in Bahrain, full stop. After all, that was the very principle at play in Libya. But if we persisted, the carefully constructed international coalition to stop Qaddafi could collapse at the eleventh hour, and we might fail to prevent a much larger abuse — a full-fledged massacre.
Clinton, in other words, no longer wishes to be associated with the so-called Arab Spring as it pertains to Libya, and so that too is disposed in the memory hole.
This retrospective downgrading of Hillary Clinton’s enthusiasm for the Arab Spring was already evident in the earlier, hardcover edition of Hard Choices. She comes across as the “realist” in Washington’s dealings with President Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party government (2011-12) and Barack Obama the “idealist”. If only all evidence to the contrary, including this Reuters report from June 30, 2011, could find their way into the memory hole. As much as Clinton would like us to believe otherwise, the White House’s “cautious optimism” about the Muslim Brotherhood was shared by her Department of State. Still, it comes as no surprise she should want to distance herself from President Obama on the subject, given that only fools and Islamist apologists failed to see through the mendaciousness of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Hillary Clinton’s major achievement as Secretary of State was to escape before the damage done during President Obama’s first years in office began to make itself felt in the second term. This has allowed Candidate Clinton to position herself as some kind of national security hawk. There are some, such as General Petraeus, who buy this, but others – including Florida Atlantic University’s Robert G. Rabil – who do not give it any credence. Clinton’s mistake, according to Rabil, is to believe, along with David Petraeus, that the Long War or War of Freedom is a “war against a fanatical ideology based on a twisted interpretation of Islam” rather than “a war against a triumphant religious ideology that cloaks itself in the sanctity of the sacred and the history of ‘authentic’ Islam”. In his own way, Bangladeshi-born Australian psychiatrist, Tanveer Ahmed, makes a similar case in the current edition of Quadrant.
On the international front, contends Rabil, PC thinking has had almost the same effect during the tenure of not only President Obama but also President Bush. Thus, the Taliban-Al Qaeda partnership is experiencing a revival, with no little assistance from Pakistan’s army and intelligence: “The same army that feigned shock on knowing Osama bin Laden’s hideout was a villa not too far from both the Military Academy at Kakul and the Army Burn Hall College”. The failure to hold Muslim allies to account for their (double) dealings with Salafist movements of every denomination has been catastrophic – Turkey being a case in point.
We might say the same about domestic terrorism. Until there is a president of the United States who breaks the shackles of PC rectitude, all the criminal and mental health background checks in the world will not prevent civilians being murdered by the likes of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino husband-and-wife jihadists. Four years of President Hillary Clinton guarantees that “radical Islamic jihadism” remains on an upward trajectory – both internationally and domestically.
Daryl McCann has a blog at http://darylmccann.blogspot.com.au/