Chelsea Clinton On The Iraq War: A Worthy Inheritor Of The Clinton Mantle

Chelsea Clinton has been groomed for a long time to take over the Clinton Empire. Her education, which has essentially consisted of a long, slow, drive through the salubrious gardens of the Ivy League and Oxbridge, thus providing adequate insulation against the hard edges of social and political reality, form an important component of this preparation. (Her marriage to a hedge-funder, and early entry to the top-dollar speaking circuit, hasn’t hurt.) Her qualifications as Heir Apparent were never better on display than in the following exchange:

“Has your mother shown any remorse for the fact that her vote cost Iraqis a million of their lives?” a student asked Chelsea Clinton on Monday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ms. Clinton replied: “She cast a vote based on the best available evidence. Perhaps you had clairvoyance then, and that’s extraordinary.”

Some American folksinger once wrote that “you don’t need to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.” Well, I have news for Chelsea Clinton: you didn’t need to be a clairvoyant to see which way an American invasion of a Muslim country in the Middle East, one which had nothing to do with 9/11, would go. You merely had to have the reading skills of a senior undergraduate student, all the better to read a National Intelligence Estimate with, you know the briefings that are given to US Senators to enable them to make, uh, educated and informed decisions with.

As Doug Henwood notes in My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets The Presidency:

Hillary cast her vote for the Iraq War without having read the full National intelligence Estimate, which was far more skeptical about Iraq’s weaponry than the bowdlerized version that was made public. This was very strange behavior for someone as disciplined as Hillary, famous for working late and taking a stack of briefing books home. Senator Bob Graham, one of the few who actually did take the trouble to read the NIE, voted against the war in part because of what it contained. We can never know why she chose not to read the document, but it’s hard not to conclude that she wanted to vote for war more than she wanted to know the truth.

Why would Hillary have wanted to vote for the war, which always looked like being, and eventually became, a moral, political, and economic catastrophe, a crime that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans? Well, at the least, it would have been a politically popular vote, an easy capitulation to expediency, a way to join, and chime in with the warmongering chorus that animated  American politics then. It was a cheap and easy way to proclaim your patriotism, to affirm your desire to exact retributive revenge, to ‘go with the flow.’ It was the kind of thing that a political opportunist would delight in.

It was, in short, a classic, signature, Clinton move. Chelsea Clinton has learned well, and she’s letting us know she’s got the chops. We’re not done with this dynasty yet.

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