Last night Chris Matthews did a Hardball segment titled, “How Hillary Became a Hawk,” with Mark Landler, whose reporting for the New York Times on Clinton’s foreign policy has been so electrifying in recent weeks. Landler just published a book called Alter Egos, about the struggle over foreign policy between (secretary of state) Hillary Clinton and (president) Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton “was most willing to see interventions ending with a good outcome. That’s what made her very different from President Obama who I think generally viewed interventions as ending with a bad outcome,” Landler said.
Landler: She still defaults to the belief that American intervention can be a good thing. Obama simply had a different view of these interventions… The Iraq war was for him a formative foreign policy experience. Probably the most important one he had, and the one he brought into office with him. Where she had seen some things work out well. The Balkan intervention–
Matthews: Her key decision politically which hurt her in the 2008 race was supporting the authorization for going to war in Iraq. How did she turn on that… How did she get to that decision. How has she reviewed it since?
Landler: First of all, She’s acknowledged that was a mistake
Matthews: What’s that mean, though, what’s mistake mean?
Landler: OK, she’s acknoweldged that was a mistake because she said she wasn’t given access to the full intelligence dossier, right?
Matthews: That’s not a mistake.
Landler: And the point is she didn’t read the full NIE that actually talked about whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or not.
Matthews: Well did he have nuclear weapons? I’ve got no evidence that ever have suggested we knew or thought he did. But they sold it.
Landler: That’s right. She sort of hung it on her being deceived by the administration when the argument is she probably didn’t do adequate due diligence to figure out the truth.
Matthews: Why did she want to vote yes?
Landler: I think it was a combination of what I said earlier, which is her own instincts, plus you have to also acknowledge, New York senator, post-9/11, worried about her own–
Matthews: Concerned about Israel, too.
Landler: Precisely. Worried about her own possible political future.
Gosh I wonder how much of that “Precisely” is in Landler’s book. He’s an establishment cat; they sniff at this stuff and walk away usually.
Congratulations to Chris Matthews for thinking this continuously over the years and letting it slip now and then, as he did here, in august company, and got an echo. So Matthews got protection on the thinking from a New York Times reporter. This is evidence that Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer’s thesis of ten years ago– that the Iraq war would not have happened without the Israel lobby pushing — is becoming conventional wisdom, now that the lobby split over the Iran war vote and the Iraq war is ancient history. It was this charge that led Jeffrey Goldberg and Alan Dershowitz to smear Walt and Mearsheimer as anti-Semites. Who will go after Landler and Matthews? And where were Matthews and Landler when the lobby was telling us that black is white? And again: I wonder how much of that “Precisely” is in Landler’s book. Any of it?
Remember that Landler has reported that in trying to hobble her successor John Kerry’s negotiations with Iran in 2012 and 2013, Hillary Clinton was “swayed by… Netanyahu.”
Remember that Netanyahu — whom Hillary Clinton has promised she will invite to the White House within days of her arrival there — told the Congress in 2002 that if we just took out Saddam Hussein the Middle East would be transformed. The master propagandist that Hillary Clinton listened to:
If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region…
Remember that Jerrold Nadler explained the Israel lobby’s political pressure when he voted for the Iran deal. He got the same pressure over his vote against the Iraq war:
I took a lot of criticism for my vote, and both my American patriotism and my commitment to Israel were questioned
(BTW, MSNBC blacked out the spine of Landler’s book when it showed the book’s image on air, I bet so as to deny an advertising opportunity to Random House/Bertelsmann. Weird.)
More in the Clinton file. This is disgraceful. Brianna Gurciullo of Politico reports on a Bill Clinton appearance in New Jersey, where someone in the audience engaged him about Hillary Clinton’s position on Palestine. Bill Clinton blames the imprisoned people of Gaza for being sneaky and violent, and says he “killed himself” to get a Palestinian state. Well maybe he shouldn’t have been Israel’s lawyer on that deal.
But the Sanders effect is also visible: you can see that Clinton is on the defensive over Palestinian children getting killed.
“They were human beings in Gaza,” the audience member said.
“Yes, they were,” Clinton said. “And Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas, and they are smart.”
The line prompted applause, and he continued: “They said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They’re good at it. They’re smart. They’ve been doing this a long time.”
“I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state. I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza,” Clinton said.
He then praised Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, for setting up meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“There’s nobody who’s blameless in the Middle East, but we cannot really ever make a fundamental difference in the Middle East unless the Israelis think we care whether they live or die. If they do, we have a chance to keep pushing for peace,” Clinton said. “And that’s her position. Not to agree with the Israeli government on everything, not to pretend that innocents don’t die, not to pretend that more Palestinian children don’t die than Israeli children. But that we can’t get anything done unless they believe, when the chips are down, if somebody comes for them we will not let them be wiped out and become part of the dustbin of history.”
Did you see where he says that Israel could be “wiped out.” By Palestinians firing rockets? Is he crazy? This is pure propaganda. It is Holocaust fever.
Also, I’d note that Clinton got applause for this in New Jersey. So the Democratic Party is divided on this issue, as Pew informed us. It’s worth breaking the party over the issue; and a lot of Democrats share my belief on that score, and many of them will be in Philadelphia this summer.