Monday, December 01, 2008

Greens Oppose Nomination of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State

Capital District Greens

For immediate release, December 1, 2008
For More Info: Mark Dunlea 518 283-6512, Howie Hawkins 315 425-1019

The Capital District Greens criticized President-elect Obama today for nominating Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to be his Secretary of State, saying it contradicted the anti-war rhetoric he initially based his campaign on.

The Greens said Obama has put together a hawkish, right of center foreign policy team that is opposed to the positions of most Americans.

The Greens also called upon Governor Paterson to appoint a Senate replacement for Clinton that was more in touch with New York voters on issues such as peace, combating climate change and supporting single payer universal health care than Clinton was.

"When Senator Obama launched his campaign, much of his appeal to voters in the primaries was his initial opposition to the invasion of Iraq during his time as a state senator. During the presidential primaries, Obama positioned himself as a peace candidate, despite his consistent votes for funding the Iraq War during his time in the U.S. Senate. Senator Clinton has refused to admit that her support for the invasion of Iraq was a mistake," said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for US Senate from NY in 2006.

The Greens pointed out during her 2006 campaign for US Senate, Hillary Clinton boasted that it was her husband, not Bush, that had first implemented the doctrine of pre-emptive invasion with his attacks on Somalia and the Balkans.

"The Democrats told the American people that the best way to reject Bush and his various wars was by given the Dems control of the White House and Congress. Now that they won, once again the Democrats are giving the American people something quite different. Putting the Clinton White House back together was not the change the Senator Obama talked about during his campaign," noted Mark Dunlea of the Capital District Greens.

"The man who vowed to deliver us from 28 years of Bushes and Clintons has been stocking up on Clintonites," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently wrote. "How, one may ask, can he put Hillary -- who voted to authorize the Iraq war without even reading the intelligence assessment -- in charge of patching up a foreign policy and a world riven by that war?"

The Obama transition team recently announced that President Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates will retain his position. There are many troubling questions about Gates' role in Iran-Contra, as well as his shaping of intelligence about Russia. Vice-President Joe Biden, who backed the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, was selected for his hawkish views John Brennan, who played a major role in extraordinary rendition, torture at Guantnamo and warrantless wiretapping, was picked to lead the review of intelligence agencies. Obama sent former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for stating in a 60 Minutes interview that the death of up to 500,000 Iraqi children by U.S. sanctions was worth the price, to represent him at the recent G20 meeting. Not one of the US Senators and House members who voted against the war in Iraq are being considered by Obama’s foreign policy team.

With so many former Clinton staff moving into the Obama Presidency, the Greens said it was important to look at President Clinton's foreign policy record. It was President Clinton who first initiated the policy of overthrowing Saddam Hussein by force with the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998, which led to covert operations and increased bombing of Iraq intended to destabilize Iraq at enormous cost to innocent civilians Under the pretext of enforcing the No-Fly Zones in Iraq, he initiated the longest sustained U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam. Yugoslavia was bombed and dismantled. Clinton has strongly defended her husband's decision to attack Yugoslavia, saying in 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?"

As reporter Jeremy Scahill recently pointed out, under Bill Clinton, Sudan and Afghanistan were attacked, Haiti was destabilized and "free trade" deals like the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) dramatically accelerated the corporate-dominated globalization that hurt U.S. workers and devastated developing countries. Clinton escalated the militarization of the so-called War on Drugs in Central and Latin America and supported privatization of U.S. military operations, giving lucrative contracts to Halliburton and other war contractors. Meanwhile, U.S. weapons sales to countries like Turkey and Indonesia aided genocidal campaigns against the Kurds and the East Timorese.

Hillary Clinton was an ardent defender of her husband's economic and military war against Iraq. As a U.S. senator, she enthusiastically embraced the Bush administration's propaganda campaign in the lead-up to the invasion. "Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability and his nuclear program," Clinton said when rising in October 2002 to support the invasion. "He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members. I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the president's efforts to wage America's war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction."

Senator Clinton voted for the anti-civil liberties Patriot Act. She has consistently opposed any efforts to end the illegal occupation of Palestine, including the recent brutal blockade of Gaza. In 2006, she gave unconditional support to the bombings and attacks on civilians in Lebanon by Israel.

The Green Party of the US recently noted that along with Clinton, the appointment of Cong. Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff means that Obama is likely to maintain the same uncritical support for Israel as the Clinton and Bush administrations, whose policies resulted in increasing human rights violations against Palestinians and greater instability in the region. Mr. Emanuel was one of the original drafters of NAFTA and now favors similar antidemocratic 'free trade' pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which would cost more US jobs and suppress environmental and labor protections.

The Greens also called for a full public disclosure of the Clinton family finances and fundraising. Clinton herself has raised enormous sums of money from a slew of corporate interests to fund her Senate and Presidential campaigns. Clinton's husband, Bill, poses numerous conflicts of interests for her as Secretary of State. He has been widely accused of raising funds by use his stature as former President to put together shady deals. The most notorious involves receiving a $31 million donation to his Presidential library shortly after he helped broker a deal between Canadian financier Frank Giusta and the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Giusta ended up with a contract for access to Kazakhstanâ's Uranium, and Nazarbayev got appointed the head of an international election-monitoring organization that had ruled his election fraudulent.

Hawkins added that "The US cannot afford to continue spending over a trillion dollars a year maintaining a global military empire of over 700 military bases in over 100 countries. We face a choice: empire or economic recovery. Obama's stated commitments to increased military spending, deficit reduction, and trillions for financial corporation bailouts will mean a radical reduction in the living standards of Amerca's working families through increased regressive payroll taxes coupled to cuts in Medicare and Social Security, as Obama's budget manager, Peter Orszag, advocates. Economic recovery requires deep cuts in military spending of at least 50 percent and investing the peace dividend in economic recovery by building a green economy of renewable energy, mass transit, green buildings, sustainable manufacturing, and organic agriculture. Unfortunately, the neoliberals on Obama's economic team complement the neoconservatives on his national security team and indicate that his green energy rhetoric has been as disingenuous as his peace rhetoric."

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