Saturday, August 04, 2007
As usual, Benjamin's remarks are a peculiar combination of political expediency, attempting to legitimize Hillary Clinton as an antiwar candidate, and silly, suggesting that the only problem with Hillary's stance on the war is that she hasn't apologized for her 2002 vote authorizing it. In fact, Hillary is publicly advocating a permanent US military presence in Iraq.
A New York Times/CBS News poll in July 2006 found that among Democrats who said the invasion of Iraq had been a mistake, 56 percent said they had a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton’s performance. A year later, that figure had risen to 69 percent. Her standing during that period among all Democrats has also shown improvement. On the campaign trail, antiwar protests at her appearances are less frequent and less loud.
“Thanks to her votes on defunding the war and supporting a timetable for withdrawal, she has defused the war issue as a problem for her, and her 2002 vote for the war, to quite an extent,” said Medea Benjamin, a leader of the antiwar group Code Pink, whose members once regularly booed and heckled Mrs. Clinton whenever she spoke about the war.
“There’s still a passionate minority of us who believe the fact she won’t apologize for her war vote is a big deal,” Ms. Benjamin said.
Furthermore, no one cares whether Hillary apologies. Framing the issue of the war in relation to whether Hillary acknowledges her mistake is just another instance of the typical American narcissism that characterizes the way the war and occupation are addressed in this country. It's not about Iraqis, and what has happened to them, no, it's about Hillary. No wonder there is no effective, functioning antiwar movement in this country.
Benjamin is developing a well-deserved reputation for pandering to the political establishment and what she perceives as the mainstream. Long time readers of this blog will remember this remarkable statement by her: We're marching because the war in Iraq is undermining the capacity of the US military. The military has been unable to reach its recruiting goals for months now, because young people don't want to be sent off to fight in a war they don't believe in.
Listening to Medea, one is befuddled as to why the war in Iraq is a problem at all.