Hillary Clinton

The New York Times Accurately Portrays Hillary Clinton as an Unrepentant Warmonger

Who will call her on it?


House Select Committee on Benghazi

Hillary Clinton took credit for the U.S. intervention in Libya, but she will never take the blame. As a detailed, damning new account in The New York Times shows, the former secretary of state was indeed instrumental in pushing President Obama to pick sides in Libya's civil war by bombing longtime dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces and arming his opponents. But as the Times also shows, her warmongering is nothing to be proud of, although she bragged about it in 2011 and continues to portray its results as a paradigmatic example of "smart power." 

Robert M. Gates, the secretary of defense at the time, describes Obama's decision to intervene as a "51-49" proposition, adding, "I've always thought that Hillary's support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach." Given the huge practical and moral risks of getting involved in a civil war 5,000 miles away, you'd think the standard of proof would be a little bit stronger than a preponderance of the evidence, especially since Qaddafi clearly posed no threat to the United States. "He was not a threat to us anywhere," Gates says. "He was a threat to his own people, and that was about it." That really should have been the end of the analysis, unless you think the Defense Department's role extends beyond defense.

Clinton clearly does. "She's very careful and reflective," claims Anne-Marie Slaughter, Clinton's director of policy planning at the State Department. "But when the choice is between action and inaction, and you've got risks in either direction, which you often do, she'd rather be caught trying." This bias in favor of action, regardless of whether the "risks" have anything to do with U.S. national security, is anything but careful. It is the very definition of recklessness. At any given moment, there are myriad situations around the world in which the U.S. government might intervene militarily to prevent injustice, oppression, or the slaughter of civilians (the official justification for fighting Qaddafi). If that is the U.S. government's job, as Clinton seems to assume, and if there is no distinction between making bad things happen and letting them happen, which she also seems to believe, a preference for intervention is a recipe for never-ending mischief.

Here is how the Times sums up the consequences of Clinton's desire to be "caught trying" in Libya:

The consequences would be more far-reaching than anyone imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven…

Libya, with a population smaller than that of Tennessee, poses an outsize security threat to the region and beyond, calling into question whether the intervention prevented a humanitarian catastrophe or merely helped create one of a different kind. 

The looting of Colonel Qaddafi's vast weapons arsenals during the intervention has fed the Syrian civil war, empowered terrorist and criminal groups from Nigeria to Sinai, and destabilized Mali, where Islamist militants stormed a Radisson hotel in November and killed 20 people.

A growing trade in humans has sent a quarter-million refugees north across the Mediterranean, with hundreds drowning en route. A civil war in Libya has left the country with two rival governments, cities in ruins and more than 4,000 dead. 

Amid that fighting, the Islamic State has built its most important outpost on the Libyan shore, a redoubt to fall back upon as it is bombed in Syria and Iraq. With the Pentagon saying the Islamic State's fast-growing force now numbers between 5,000 and 6,500 fighters, some of Mr. Obama's top national security aides are pressing for a second American military intervention in Libya.

These were the risks of acting, none of which Clinton foresaw. "We came, we saw, he died!" she gloated after Qaddafi was captured and killed. "Two days before," the Times notes, "Mrs. Clinton had taken a triumphal tour of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and for weeks top aides had been circulating a 'ticktock' that described her starring role in the events that had led to this moment. It was a brag sheet for a cabinet member eyeing a presidential race, and the Clinton team's eagerness to claim credit for her prompted eye-rolling at the White House and the Pentagon. Some joked that to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself."

Testifying before Congress last October, after the disastrous fallout from the intervention had become impossible to ignore, Clinton was more generous. "At the end of the day, this was the president's decision," she said. But she continued to insist that toppling Qaddafi exemplified "smart power at its best," while reserving judgment on the long-term consequences.

In short, Clinton, who did not publicly regret her vote for the Iraq war until 2014, will not admit that intervening in Libya was a mistake, making it impossible for her to learn from it. The Times puts it a little more gently:

This is the story of how a woman whose Senate vote for the Iraq war may have doomed her first presidential campaign nonetheless doubled down and pushed for military action in another Middle Eastern country. As she once again seeks the White House, campaigning in part on her experience as the nation's chief diplomat, an examination of the intervention she championed shows her at what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state. It is a working portrait rich with evidence of what kind of president she might be, and especially of her expansive approach to the signal foreign-policy conundrum of today: whether, when and how the United States should wield its military power in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Clinton's reckless interventionism should hurt her with voters but probably won't. Of the three Republicans most likely to face her in November, Donald Trump seems most inclined to use the issue against her, but who knows what his views will be this fall? Ted Cruz has criticized the intervention in Libya but sounds decidedly less cautious about Syria, while Marco Rubio is at least as "expansive" as Clinton when it comes to finding excuses for war.

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  1. Donald Trump seems most inclined to use the issue against her, but who knows what his views will be this fall?

    Trump’s run hard as the antiwar, anti-intervention candidate in the Republican primary. Barring an actual attack on the USA I’d expect him to hold the line or be even more critical of the bipartisan foreign policy.

    1. What are you drinking? I want some of that.

      1. Trump has made noises from both sides of the issue.

        Willing to bomb ISIS, also willing to let Russia handle it.

        Was against 2nd Iraq war.

        I would put him in the anti-intervention camp, but there is also the issue of trade wars with China and Mexico.

        That’s kind of interventionist, too.

  2. “These damn fascists and their warmongering! They’re killing children!”

    (Looks closer, see “D” next to name and sees she’s a woman)

    “I mean, thank god we’re liberating these people who need our help! Something something Boooosh!”

    -The Electorate

    1. That’s a pretty good impression of our very own PBP.

  3. No one will call her on it,except people here.The R’s are trying to show who has the biggest ,baddest,’terror’ policy.On the other hand,Bernie just wants to destroy the U.S. economy. We’er fucked,we know it.I see H&R alcohol consumption going through the roof. I’ll do my part.

  4. “But when the choice is between action and inaction, and you’ve got risks in either direction, which you often do, she’d rather be caught trying.”

    I always thought you guys were being melodramatic with the “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore this must be done” meme floating around here. Guess I was wrong.

    1. Don’t you ever doubt a meme again.

      1. Even the ones about Warty?

    2. Why would you doubt the good folks here on H&R?

  5. It’s nice to see Reason actually pointing out Hillary’s awfulness for a change. As horrific as Trump may be, it’s hard to imagine that he could be worse than her.

    Voting for Trump is like playing Russian Roulette with 3 bullets in the revolver. With Hillary, there are 5 bullets and a blank that will probably kill you anyway.

    1. it’s hard to imagine that he could be worse than her.

      His cabinet could consist of Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani, so that could easily be worse than whatever steaming pile of incompetent corruption Hillary cobbles together.

      There is no better choice.

      1. Look Crusty,it’s like choosing between being burned at the stake ,or drawn and quartered.

        1. I understand the argument, and I could potentially be in favor of it if Trump was claiming he would try to bring outsiders into his cabinet, but it seems like he is going to rely upon power hungry, opportunist Republicans who have lost favor within the party, so I doubt there would be any improvement.

          1. He’ll probably put the Bern in charge of Education or something. All presidents want to pretend their Cabinets are bipartisan.

  6. OT,Bill Gates is on CNN talking about the ‘energy miracle’ he knows is just around the corner.It involves solar,wind,storage and I kid you not,making gasoline from the sun! He is for nukes at least. Why do these people not understand energy dense fuels,that cars ,trucks,ships and planes won’t run on rainbows and that that nothing is ‘free’.

  7. Speaking of the NYT; Wymenz and Minoriteez to Suffer Most!

    “Male Sellers on Ebay Have an Edge Over Women”

    I did NOT make that up.

    1. it seems that you can’t read the sunday papers anymore without having to wade through the same narratives in everything.

      1. Even the comments there are calling BS.

        1. It’s amazing when even NYT commentaters call out the bullshit “science” that liberal sociologists spew out.

      2. It helps if you avoid the NYT.

      3. “Melanie Fodera, 21, a senior at Albion College in Michigan and a seller for about seven years, said when selling a Detroit Lions jersey for “$100 or best offer,” she was offered $50.

        “I countered $75, and their message to me was, ‘You don’t know what this is worth because you’re a girl,’ ” said Ms. Fodera, who usually sells women’s clothes and has an eBay page decorated with roses.”

        This little snowflake needs protection from the big bad EBay buyers. I think she needs some chants and a movement to illustrate just what a serious matter this is.

        I’m curious as to the gender of the buyers who paid lower prices for this snowflake’s products than they would pay if she were a man.

        Are any of those low price payers women ?

        1. women are always meanest to other women

    2. Does anybody actually look at profiles before bidding. About the only thing I do is take a quick glance at recent feedback to make sure their account didn’t get hijacked.

    3. War on Womyn who sell on eBay!

      Alert central committee for new law !!!

  8. Here’s a WaPo view on Clinton’s crushing of Sanders in SC… mainly due to the fact that 60% of the voters were black, and, well…. Black people don’t like Bernie

    Of course the writer, being one of these “”race, gender, immigration and inequality.””-centric-types, turns this very-predictable result into some kind of epic moment of transcendent significance which signals the massive importance of something something national dialogue something something historic consequences something something political transformation something something demography is not destiny something something….

    If i were teaching writing classes i’d whip this piece out as an example of “how stupid people try and appear smart” Every sentence has problems within problems, and that’s before you get to her bone-stupid point, which basically seems to be #BlackVotesMatter. But she can’t say that directly, because she needs to also explain via some ideological contortions why Hillary was the better candidate for those black votes.

    Oh, and #IAandNHsowhite

    1. They are apologizing to their white friends who wanted Bernie for black voters, essentially.

  9. If there were any justice in this world Clinton would be stateless, living in some refugee camp far from home.

    1. No, she’d be in jail.

      1. I wonder what Qaddafi would think was fair?

      2. No, she’d have fled the United States to avoid being prosecuted for leaking national security secrets to our enemies. After a brief stay in China, she would be granted political asylum in Russia where she would propagandize for Putin’s regime.

        1. So, she’d be a libertarian hero, and if you called her a traitor they would bristle.


          //thinks snowden is both hero and traitor.

    2. With all three of the Bush Stooges

  10. Terrible misread of the NYT reporting. JS, have another read and see if you can’t try objective reporting yourself. Poor.

  11. So Hillary is quick to send young people in harm’s way over some vague meddling in opium-producing regions. Since Reason is now entirely dedicated to DemoGOP coverage, as if there were no third party, all I can ask is: how does this make her gang different from God’s Own Prohibitionists?

  12. The scary part is that most Republicans seem to think Hillary (like Obama) is some kind of radical peacenazi isolationist who wants to withdraw from the world, dismantle the military, and hug ISIS members on the White House lawn. Imagining her and Rubio competing to out-hawk one another in a general election is vomit-worthy… Trump might actually hit her on her record of support for regime change and its disastrous consequences, at least, though I’m not sure who on either Team Blue or Team Red would really care.

    1. Is that true?

      I think most GOP voters now are ambivalent. ISIS makes you want to bomb, then you see their enemies and say let’s just stay out. Literally, the middle east makes people passive-aggressive.

      1. I wish they were ambivalent, but I don’t seem much of that. It seems everyone sounds more like, “We need to bomb them into oblivion or else what happened in Paris will probably start happening here!!!”

        Sure, there’s not a lot of support for boots on the ground, but no one in the mainstream right or left seems to doubt the basic wisdom of further involvement.

        I think the poster above’s point also stands: that it’s always the perception from the right that Obama (and Hillary, by extension) have been SOFT on military intervention, when that is not at all the case.

        One of my biggest complaints about Obama’s foreign policy, which no one outside of libertarian circles seems to share with me, is that his administration continued or expanded just about all the worst foreign policy ideas of Bush: more overseas involvement, more choosing of sides in local squabbles where every side is utterly terrible, more drone attacks and “accidental” bombings of civilian targets, etc. But no one complains about it! The ones who hated Bush’s wars are (not surprisingly) worshipful of Obama, while those who hate Obama always paint him as not doing enough rather than too much.

        1. actually most republicans don’t think that at all the difference is the team she’s on and that she would do back door wars with the CIA and nobody will say shit about it. and Obama is just a dunce who doesn’t know what to do so he is half in and half out which is worse than not in or all in.

  13. But those are feminist wars for womyn – much different than the male Bush wars.

  14. The presses purpose is to create chaos. The corporate media’s both written and visual, job is to repeat what the rich and powerful and law enforcement tell them to say. It’ all design to deceive the public with corporate lies. Police officers just doing there job are now coined with every story as a “hero”. The most abused word in the corporate bias media. Giant infomercials unreadable and unwatchable.

  15. This is a war on women who are warmongers

  16. Totally OT: i love the photo used as the intro to this article. It looks like a disheveled Hillary is thinking ‘i just spent all night fucking Huma and you’re giving me all this shit?’

  17. When the Hebrews are funding your campaign, you dance to their tune.
    Ha-va, na-geela, ha-va…

  18. If the Times is correct, doesn’t that increase Secretary Clinton’s appeal to right wing Republicans?

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