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December 8, 2005

Bird-Dogging Hillary Clinton


The antiwar movement steps up

by Joshua Frank

One has to be pleased that the antiwar movement is taking shape. Finally the target isn't just George. W. Bush and gang. Last night at a chic Manhattan fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, antiwar activists staked out the senator and vowed to do so until she changes her position on the war.

Sen. Clinton released a letter last week that clarified her (non) position on Iraq. She said she wouldn't accept any timetable for withdrawal and won't even embrace a "redeployment" of U.S. troops along the lines of Rep. Murtha.

"I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the president and his administration to take responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war," Clinton wrote in her lengthy letter that amounted to nothing short of denial for her own culpability in the mess.

Last Friday, Clinton spoke at an event in Kentucky where she reiterated her position.

"The time has come for the administration to stop serving up platitudes and present a plan for finishing this war with success and honor," she said. "I reject a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit, and I reject an open timetable that has no ending attached to it."

Translation: Clinton is all for an extended American stay in Iraq. She "takes responsibility" for her vote on the war, but won't admit that it was wrong. And of course, Clinton is still for "winning" this war. Whatever that means.

Antiwar activists across the country have not been overly pleased with Clinton's continued warmongering these past few weeks. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, who supported John Kerry's pro-war campaign last year, has changed her tune on the Democrats and says she will be hot on Clinton's trail across the country. "We're calling it 'Bird-Dog Hillary,'" Benjamin raves.

It's about time.

Cindy Sheehan also said she'll be tracking down Hillary, maintaining that she and other activists may even take Camp Casey to the streets of NYC. Activists here in New York assured me last month that they plan on organizing a lot of events and sit-ins in front of Clinton's offices in the months ahead. I think this is proof the antiwar movement is finally getting somewhere.

Over on the other side of the country, in San Francisco, antiwar activists plan to hold a huge rally on Dec. 20, where Clinton will be attending a bar association benefit with an interview session with Jane Pauley.

Focusing all of the antiwar movement's energy on the Republicans is shortsighted, and perhaps worst of all, completely naïve. The Democrats not only authorized this war, they still by and large defend the ongoing occupation.

Taking on the leaders of both parties is paramount if we are ever to end this bloody conflict.

How nice it would have been for the antiwar movement had they held Kerry's feet to the fire during last year's presidential election. But one has to be glad that prominent leaders like Medea Benjamin and publications like The Nation, which is also stating that it won't be supporting any pro-war candidate in the future are finally coming around. The liberal myopia that infected so many may at last be wearing off.

Lesser-evil politics often gets in the way of successful social movements; so let's hope antiwarriors keep up their pressure on Hillary Clinton. It can only lead to good things.

 

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  • Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, just published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted through Josh's blog at www.brickburner.org. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

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