Hillary Clinton’s Hawkish Record

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has already assumed front-runner status for the Democratic Party nomination for president despite a foreign policy agenda that closely parallels that of the Bush administration.

Since most of the public criticism of the former first lady has been based on false and exaggerated charges from the right wing, often with a fair dose of sexism, many Democrats have become defensive and reluctant to criticize her. Some liberals end up believing conservative charges that she is on the left wing of the Democratic Party when in reality her foreign policy positions are far closer to Ronald Reagan than George McGovern.

For example, she opposes the international treaty to ban land mines. She voted against the Feinstein-Leahy amendment last September restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries that use them against civilian-populated areas. She opposes restrictions on U.S. arms transfers and police training to governments that engage in gross and systematic human rights abuses, such as Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Israel, Pakistan, Cameroon and Chad, to name only a few. She insists upon continuing unconditional funding for the Iraq war and has called for dramatic increases in Bush’s already bloated military budget. She has challenged the credibility of Amnesty International and other human rights groups that criticize policies of the United States and its allies.

Mrs. Clinton has been one of the Senate’s most outspoken critics of the United Nations, even serving as the featured speaker at rallies outside U.N. headquarters in July 2004 and last summer to denounce the world body. She voted to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq despite its being a clear violation of the U.N. Charter and in July 2004 falsely accused the United Nations of not taking a stand against terrorism when it has opposed U.S. policy. She was one of the most prominent critics of the International Court of Justice for its landmark 2004 advisory ruling that the Fourth Geneva Conventions on the Laws of War is legally binding on all signatory nations. She condemned the United Nations’ judicial arm for challenging the legality of Israel’s separation barrier in the occupied West Bank and sponsored a Senate resolution “urging no further action by the United Nations to delay or prevent the construction of the security fence.”

Mrs. Clinton has shown little regard for the danger from proliferation of nuclear weapons, not only opposing the enforcement of U.N. Security Council resolutions challenging Pakistan, Israel and India’s nuclear weapons programs but supporting the delivery of nuclear-capable missiles and jet fighters to these countries. This past fall she voted to suspend important restrictions on U.S. nuclear cooperation with countries that violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

At the same time, she insists that the prospect of Iran’s developing nuclear weapons “must be unacceptable to the entire world,” since challenging the nuclear monopoly of the United States and its allies in the region would somehow “shake the foundation of global security to its very core.” Last year, she accused the Bush administration of not taking the threat of a nuclear Iran seriously enough, criticized the administration for allowing European nations to take the lead in pursuing a diplomatic solution and insisted that the United States should make it clear that military options were still being actively considered.

Meanwhile, she insists that the United States should maintain the right to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries.

Mrs. Clinton was an outspoken supporter of Israel’s massive military assault on the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip last summer, which took the lives of over 1,000 civilians. She justified it by claiming it would “send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians [and] to the Iranians” because they opposed the United States and Israel’s commitment to “life and freedom.”

There are questions regarding her integrity. Long after credible, well-documented published reports by American and Israeli newspapers and research institutes had refuted it, Sen. Clinton continued to cite a right-wing group’s 1999 report claiming the Palestinian Authority was publishing anti-Semitic textbooks. Like President Bush, she is more prone to believe ideologically driven propaganda than independent investigative reporting or scholarly research.

Similarly, ignoring substantial evidence that Iraq had already rid itself of its chemical and biological weapons and no longer had a nuclear program, Mrs. Clinton justified her calls for a U.S. invasion of Iraq on the grounds that “if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Even after it was discovered that Iraq no longer had “weapons of mass destruction,” Mrs. Clinton acknowledged last year that she would have voted to authorize the invasion anyway.

Should Hillary Clinton become the Democratic presidential nominee, we can expect to find little differences between her and her Republican rival. Except for long shots Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Sen. Mike Gravel, none of the Democratic candidates have taken consistent positions supporting peace, human rights and international law. But with the possible exception of Sen. Joe Biden, Mrs. Clinton is the most hawkish Democrat in the presidential race.