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    How The Benghazi Committee Led Me To Hillary

    Hi Dagbloggers:  If some of this looks familiar it's because I built this blog around a comment I made  a few days ago.  My blogs won't be all Hillary all the time, I promise!

    Last week, on the morning of the latest in a long line of House Select Committee hearings on Benghazi, I was finishing up a blog post in which I hoped during the next few months Progressives/Liberals would all just get along.  At that point, on that morning, I thought I was still neutral about the two front-runners.  (Joe Biden has announced he's not running and Martin O'Malley, the only other viable candidate, is so far behind he's almost invisible. It's early yet, but unless someone else shows up, it  going to be either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.)

    I finished up just before the hearing began, hit the "publish" button, and settled back to watch what I already knew would be a win-win for Hillary.  How could it not be?  After all this time, the Republican Benghazi committee members are the only ones on the face of the earth who refuse to believe there's no there there.

    Credit:  Carolyn Kaster/AP
    I'm here to tell you, that wasn't just a win, that was a whomping! They can't say they weren't warned.  The Democrats on the  committee begged them not to do it. Members of their own party begged them not to do it.  But do it they did, and as the hour grew late, after 11 hours of gotcha questions followed by Hillary's infuriatingly calm responses (and the interception of some formidable Democrats, Elijah Cummings chief among them), Committee chair Trey Gowdy, soggy as an old dishrag, stopped the madness cold, even after promising certain panel members they would get another chance at interrogating the witness.  Stopped it dead.  Th-th-th-that's all, folks.

    Hillary the interogatee showed no signs of exhaustion and instead hung around long enough to give hugs and air kisses before flitting away, off to spend the evening partying with friends. 

    I realize now I've been leaning toward Hillary for a while, but it wasn't until last week, when I saw her strength and grace under fire, that I decided I could happily support her.  No one in public life has been more scrutinized than Hillary. Barack Obama may come a close second, bless his heart, but his public life can be counted in years and not in decades.  Hillary has been under the microscope since she was a young woman.  That relentless scrutiny is bound to turn up discrepancies--even a pack of lies.  She has spent her entire public life having to defend her every move, her every decision--from hair styles and pantsuits to why she did, in fact, stand by her man.

    She's been a First Lady, a Senator, a Secretary of State.  She did all that while being under constant fire from haters on the Right and on the Left.  Is she  deceitful?  Is she reserved?  Is she less than transparent?  I'll bet she's been all three.  Intense, unrelenting public scrutiny will do that to a person.  But her kindness, her friendships, her work for women's and children's causes is almost never acknowledged.  She is an adoring grandmother now, and her charity work iswell known

    She held herself back for years, thinking, wrongly, that she needed to show strength and not softness.  Now she knows better and it's driving her enemies crazy.  They so want to keep believing she's a ruthless she-devil war-monger in the pockets of the rich.

    Is she too cozy with Wall Street? She was, after all, the Senator from New York. It's no secret she takes campaign funds and Clinton Foundation donations from Wall Street donors.  There aren't many who don't.  (It's a tribute to Bernie Sanders that he can manage a campaign without super-PAC funds.  I wish him luck.) 

    Her vote on the Iraq War is ancient history.  It was wrong-headed, as she admits today.  I would be more concerned if she were still insisting she did the right thing.

    Is she a war-monger?  She was tough as Secretary of State, keen on aiding oppressed human beings, not keen on retreat, but she showed no signs of Condi Riceing us into a reckless sustained war. 

    Am I leaning toward her because she's a woman?  That's part of it.  I was born when FDR was president and I've lived through 12 more presidents--all of them male.  I would love to see a woman in the White House but I'm not choosing Hillary simply because of her gender.  I choose her because I think she'll do the best job of anyone running.  (I've been a long-time Bernie Sanders admirer and I love his passion for the causes I believe in.  I think domestically--as senator or maybe governor--he's outstanding.  I don't see him in an international role as president. His temperament, an asset when he's leading a cause, is worrisome when applied to "leader of the free world".)

    There will be mountains of evidence against Hillary as the months go by.  Some of it will be disturbingly on the mark.  She has made her share of blunders--some of them calculating.  There were times when she was not even "likable enough".  But I see her as a woman under siege.  I marvel at her courage as she deals with it while still building a remarkable life. 

    She's a pragmatist. She has a history of wanting desperately to win at anything she tries and she's not above pandering to do that.  I want her to be as liberal as I am, of course.  I want her to be as liberal as Bernie Sanders.  I believe she'll be more liberal than Barack Obama (there are others who believe she may even be more liberal than Bernie Sanders), but her presidency will not be FDR's Second Coming.  (Neither would Bernie Sanders', no matter how much he might wish it.) 

    We need a president who can stand up to the Tea Party Republicans, who understands foreign policy, and knows intimately the workings of Washington.  I don't believe for a minute that she'll be a corporate pawn.  She also won't be Obama's--or her husband's--keeper of the flame.  There's a reason she's so feared by the other side.  It's because she's her own person and no matter what they do to her she doesn't break. 

    It'll take real balls to lead us through the next decade.  Hillary may be just the woman to get it done.

    (Can also be seen at The Broad Side and Crooks & Liars)


    I doubt that Clinton and Obama's wars were really about "aiding oppressed human beings", but even if they were, that wouldn't justify it.

    I haven't seen any signs of blatant abuse during her stint as Secretary of State. Unless you believe there was something sinister going on in Benghazi or at her email server.  That's not to say there weren't mistakes made. Of course they made mistakes.  Our history, during war and peacetime, is full of mistakes.

    President Clinton and Obama did not start any wars.

    Clinton ended a civil war in Bosnia. with UN and NATO backing.

    The US joined NATO with UN approval to end civil war and to bring democracy to Arabs in Libya.  A fools errand as it turned out.

    The endless conflicts across Iraq and Syria are largely the result of a war a President of the US did start.

    George W. Bush, the self proclaimed and re-elected 'War President', 'preemptively' started the Iraq war, a war he lied the nation into.  Bringing death, occupation and chaos to a nation and region that was at peace before we invaded.

    Clinton and Obama didn't begin the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya, but they chose(along with Blair and Cameron) to make them American/Nato wars. And with the possible exception of the two week air war in Bosnia, these wars were illegal and immoral. Clinton did start a short war: Operation Desert Fox in Iraq.

    Please explain what you think was immoral & illegal about our involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    And your mini-war for Operation Desert Fox was a punitive action from an existing no-flight/UN operation - somehow the situation was a bit different than "starting a war", but if you want to be picayune, go for it.

    In Kosovo, we made the ethnic cleansing worse, killed civilians, opened the door to revenge killings of a thousand Serbs, and violated international law. I'd call it a disaster.

     The 1995 bombing in Bosnia did something to end the war, but it came after Milosevic cut off military aid to the Bosnian Serbs, and after the Muslims and Croats joined forces, which made possible the kicking of Serb ass. So if anybody says that we could have fixed things at any time by dropping some bombs, I don't think I'd agree.http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/yugo-hist4.htm

    As I remember it--my memory is dimming, as it was awhile ago--Desert Fox was about punishing Iraq for failing to comply with the inspections regime(and maybe to distract people from the Lewinsky business). So it may have violated Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which says you can only use force if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations. Some might say that the armed attack against Kuwait provided legal justification for using force to enforce United Nations resolution(it doesn't say when you have to end the response to the attack; there may be room for interpretation).

    So if we hadn't intervened, the ethnic cleansing wouldn't have been so bad? Do you know the estimates of how many civilians killed by NATO bombings?

    And not sure where Article 52 claims such a  thing - so Article 52 would make illegal say to use force to prevent a Killing Fields in Cambodia or the genocide in Rwanda? skeptical.

    And forget the Lewinsky business - more stupid conspiracy bullshit.

    Yes, let's please forget about Monica.  That was Bill, not Hillary.

    Nuts, I wrote Article 52 when I meant Article 51.

     I think it's unlikely that the ethnic cleansing would have been as bad without the bombing. According to Human Rights Watch, 2000 were killed in the year before the bombing, and several thousand were killed by the Serbs during the ten weeks of the bombing. HRW says Nato killed 500 civilians.

    And after the number of Serb-caused mass graves in Bosnia and Vojvodina, how passive should we have been? I'm critical of the Libyan situation because it was mostly inflated rhetoric, but with Kosovo we had proven mass war criminals to deal with. You offer nothing of an alternative except to claim we made it wotse, so I suppose should have done nothing. Maybe give Milosevic a cookie?

      The alternative was to do nothing, and that would have been better than what we did. Chomsky said that we should follow the Hippocratic maxim "first do no harm". That seems  reasonable to me, although I didn't agree with everything Chomsky wrote about Kosovo.

    In the Bosnia War NATO aided UN mandated UNPROFOR forces sent to provide safe areas for civilians.  UNPROFOR was unable to either protect themselves, or stop the wholesale Serbian genocide of Bosnian civilians who had been guaranteed UN protection, as occurred at Srebrenica.

    At that time the number of refugees was the greatest movement of people fleeing war in Europe since WW2. The action was anything but immoral. It was moral, and successful in ending the conflict.

    And this is who?  Sounds like the same old, same old.

    "Clintons and Jeb! have the same financial backers"...? So 20 years of GOP attacks are just rope-a-dope?

    I again have no disagreement whatsoever with your post.

    There is evil in the world and we must find our greatest warrior.

    That's okay.

    I like Bernie.

    But Hillary aint hay.

    Hillary is a great statesman (stateswoman?)


    And Senator or Secretary or whatever....is a warrior and she has proved it before Congressional Committees as well as many other venues.

    Well put Ramona as always.

    Thanks, Dick.  As much as we would like to believe otherwise, we're still a country that leans to the center.  I love what Bernie is proposing.  I love what Elizabeth Warren proposes.  I love that Hillary is taking note and giving herself permission to lean farther in that direction, but if she leans too far, she'll lose.  She knows that, too.  It's a problem for her and we'll just have to see how she handles it over the coming months.


    Very well stated! I appreciate your writing!

    She is gooooooooood aint she?

    Thank you Danny!

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