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‘NYT’ exposes Clinton as most hawkish candidate when it’s too late for readers to choose

After Hillary Clinton has the nomination nearly sewn up, the New York Times decides to run a Sunday magazine piece titled “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk,” by Mark Landler revealing conclusively that she has a greater “appetite for military engagement” than anyone else in the race, on either side. Here’s the nut graf:

Clinton’s foreign-policy instincts are bred in the bone — grounded in cold realism about human nature and what one aide calls “a textbook view of American exceptionalism.” It set her apart from her rival-turned-boss, Barack Obama, who avoided military entanglements and tried to reconcile Americans to a world in which the United States was no longer the undisputed hegemon. And it will likely set her apart from the Republican candidate she meets in the general election. For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.

The article details Clinton’s long commitment to the use of force, including incidents never revealed before; explains why Donald Trump is likely to be far less eager to go to war than she would be; and says that Clinton had to hide her hawkishness during the primaries so far:

To thwart the progressive insurgency of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton carefully calibrated her message during the Democratic primaries

The piece is an ode to Clinton’s “pugnacity” and her “muscular brand of American foreign policy,” with a celebratory chorus line of Robert Gates, Jake Sullivan and various functionaries. And lest you had any doubt about the newspaper’s point of view, there’s this foolish bonbon at the end:

It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force

It’s not an open question actually. As Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List told J Street last week, the mood of the people is isolationist, they don’t want to be engaged in foreign wars.

So why are we learning this now? Donald Johnson nails the journalistic and moral dereliction at the heart of this publication:

The readers picks on the 600-plus comments on the article are very good. Clinton defenders sound like militarists or idiots. One says she only wants to prevent genocide. Yeah, heart of gold.

It is utterly cynical of the NYT to publish this after her nomination is nearly certain. The readers noticed that.

Israel is not mentioned in the article, but it occurs to me that maybe she panders to Benjamin Netanyahu because she really does believe what she says about terrorists raining down rockets. I can easily imagine her bombing Gaza without the slightest qualm. She might really be as stupid and narcissistic as the people who defend Israel’s actions in Gaza. And while I have read that Bill Clinton disliked Netanyahu, yes there might be bad blood that way, but they might still see themselves as the staunch defenders of civilization.

It’s interesting to read the folks who say we have a moral obligation to vote Democratic. I find lesser-evilism voting persuasive, much as I hate it, but the people making the argument go much further. There are nearly always personal insults towards the people too pure to live in the real world. But to respond: How realistic is it to tell Clinton she has your vote no matter what she does, so long as Republicans are worse?

I was told we have to start at the bottom. Does that mean most Democratic activists at present are currently pro war or pro Netanyahu and this is why we get people like Clinton? I have no idea. People who care about issues already start at the bottom and I would guess rank and file Democrats don’t want another war and yet we get Clinton.


Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson are NY writers and regular contributors to this site

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19 Responses

  1. Antidote on April 22, 2016, 12:24 pm

    True enough. Even worse: The FBI just announced it is in no hurry to finish its investigation of Clinton, which may well go on beyond the DNC date.

    WTF does that mean?

    Would it not be of the utmost urgency to know once and for all whether a presidential frontrunner is actually a legitimate candidate, rather than a possible felon about to go to jail?

    Is she just a tool to run Sanders into the ground up to and/or beyond the DNC, then indict her, and give the Dems full liberty to run whoever they want as candidate in November?

    Or, let’s say HRC is indicted AFTER she is elected POTUS in November. Will her VP then be president? What if Bernie is her running mate? Will it be the speaker of the house? Or will Congress decide on the next POTUS? Will Netanyahu give another big speech to Congress before they vote on Obama’s successor? Or will the FBI indict as soon as President HRC does sth they or whoever does not like?

    This is insane.

    I don’t understand why there is not enormous pressure on the FBI to publish the results of their investigation asap

    • Citizen on April 23, 2016, 8:17 am

      “I don’t understand why there is not enormous pressure on the FBI to publish the results of their investigation asap ”

      If there is, the main media sure is not talking about it.

      • Antidote on April 23, 2016, 3:53 pm


        fine, re msm, nothing new here. But why on earth is there no recognition of the problem among Clinton supporters throughout the primary process, or some kind of mass protest against this absurdity? Not even the Sanders campaign has made an issue of it, despite the ability to rouse a mass movement.

        I guess she can pardon herself, if indicted, once she is elected. Or Obama could pardon her during his lame duck period. No less absurd.

  2. ritzl on April 22, 2016, 1:03 pm

    War and peace is the #1 issue of our time. Trump is NOT the greater of two evils. Trump is the lesser evil.

    Obama set immediately to screwing the people who voted for him and his “Hope is a change you can believe in” amalgamated sloganeering. Trump will likely turn away from his thuggishly racist supporters as well, and be far far far less likely than Clinton to use war and death as a first resort. Politicians disappoint. That’s Trump’s disappointment mode, imho. Bad for his supporters. Relatively good for the rest of us.

    Still can’t vote for either of them though. I’m voting Green and hoping a third party takes enough votes from Hillary that she loses and we have a chance, however small, for some smidge of sanity to return to our foreign/war policy.

    Shorter version: Trump is the lesser of the two evils, not Hillary.

    • WH on April 22, 2016, 5:37 pm

      But Trump isn’t an island, he comes with a party of climate change deniers, racists and Christian fundamentalists.

      • ritzl on April 22, 2016, 8:07 pm

        True WH. But neither is Clinton an island. She’s surrounded by warmongers, free traders, and rapacious bankers. My personal take is that countless dead people and unfettered perpetual violent destruction of whole swaths of the planet for no apparent reason are more acute problems. Rightly or wrongly.

        I also believe that solving the perpetual war issue liberates tremendous funds and equally tremendous personal energies that can be used to address the other issues. It also largely eliminates the “hated other” concept from the problem-solving obstacle set.

        We’re a very very weary country. Perpetual war is the source of that weariness. That weariness precludes us from doing the right thing in so many other areas. People are deathly afraid of taking one more financial hit so they reject everything – including their neighbors who are different than them. Hillary won’t end, or even begin to end, perpetual war. Trump might.

        Imho of course.

    • MHughes976 on April 23, 2016, 4:21 pm

      I’m glad we’re hearing more of you again, Antidote. I tend to think that the investigation of Clinton’s alleged crimes is totally sham, just going through the motions. Police investigations can’t really intervene amid all the passions of a political campaign, at least if there are no dead bodies.

      • Antidote on April 23, 2016, 5:53 pm

        “I’m glad we’re hearing more of you again, Antidote.”

        Love you, too, Martin, seriously, without sarcasm, always. Not that I always agree with you but I respect and appreciate your contributions. They frequently go much deeper than what I can counter in a brief, straightforward reply, and that’s the only reason why you don’t always get a reply from me. Remember that.

        Regarding your reply to the ongoing FBI investigation as a sham, I am not sure what you mean. . Consider the past role of the FBI as a kingmaker.

        Anyway, I have some 30 people coming for dinner in half an hour, and just burned the gravy.

  3. David Doppler on April 22, 2016, 1:12 pm

    “It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force.”

    As if, you’re either weary of war or don’t want to be a weakling: either beat this guy up or your a weakling yourself.

    Excuse me, but this is the Times claiming the role of elite opinion molder, again, and framing false choices, designed to paint those who choose “wrongly” as weaklings. This has worked with Obama, who is neither fighter nor executive, and was constantly put in a position of doing what the warmongers wanted, to avoid being shown to be weak. He ultimately squirmed out of attacking Syria, but only after having been manipulated into drawing a red line, and then appeared weak to everyone when he failed to take action, which finally came by deferring to Congress. He’s weak in not being able to force his state and defense establishment to follow his lead. He complained about the playbook and his advisors, but, as leader, he should write the playbook, not complain about how it was used against him. He should’ve fired the warmongers, not leave them in a position to manipulate him.

    Hillary is the true tool of the Neocons/Likudniks, who pitilessly pine and plan for the war of civilizations, and who can only be taken out by brute frontal assault.

    The polling evidence of dissatisfaction is with the US being manipulated into counter-productive foreign entanglements that leave us weaker than before, at enormous expense. And with manipulators like the Times goading the country forward with false choices, of being humiliated as weak unless you do as you’re told.

    • ritzl on April 22, 2016, 4:01 pm

      Re: “false choices”

      Exactly right.

      I don’t know how you all do it – tirelessly try to make sense out of nonsense and/or point out why it is nonsense. I can’t do it anymore, if I ever could. It’s all a blur to me at this point.

      My only question is whether it takes more energy to create plausible-sounding nonsense or to tear it apart. Hopefully the former.

      • JWalters on April 22, 2016, 5:30 pm

        Take a break. Even warriors for justice need R & R.

  4. eljay on April 22, 2016, 2:16 pm

    … Clinton’s foreign-policy instincts are bred in the bone …

    Dubya’s were bred in the gut. Bone-based breeding appears to result in a much more powerful desire to fellate donkeys and cause highly-selective, large-scale devastation.

    • kalithea on April 24, 2016, 1:59 pm

      Clinton loves power. Stooping to a few donkeys to get so much in return — what do you call that?

      The American political system.

  5. joemowrey on April 22, 2016, 2:57 pm

    Those who need the Times to point out to them what a warmongering sociopath Clinton is are beyond hope anyway. Unfortunately, that includes a majority of so-called progressives. Her bloodthirsty machinations around the globe are no secret, and it requires a concerted effort to remain unaware of her record. But again, that concerted effort is being made by vast numbers of people in this country.

  6. JWalters on April 22, 2016, 5:17 pm

    Speaking of violence, Hillary has doubled down on turning Bernie’s D- rating from the NRA into an A+, using the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 children and six adults. Her grief and indignation are palpable.

    But she has virtually NOTHING to say about the over 500 children massacred in Gaza by her good friend Bibi Netanyahu. No grief and indignation for them. Nor for their over 1000 mothers and fathers also massacred. Nor for their over 10,000 neighbors mangled and maimed in the same attack.

    When given the chance to comment in the NY debate, she parroted Netanyahu’s standard “blame the victim” story. This is an obvious fairytale to anyone who knows the facts.

    The establishment media gives her a free ride on this because they are also controlled by the same financial forces that bankroll her campaign. Several media pundits, such as tough Mike Barnacle, praised Sanders’ “real courage” for speaking the truth about the Gaza massacre, but then resumed their silence. Even “public” broadcasting’s Gwen Ifill, for whom Black Lives Matter, and Lawrence O’Donnell, noble fighter for justice and KINDness to children, go silent on the massacre of 500+ children in Gaza.

    Yesterday Hillary said, “The gun lobby is the most powerful lobby in Washington”. Knowledgeable observers would say the Israel lobby is obviously more powerful than the gun lobby. More obvious coverup.

    The sociopaths who bankroll Hillary’s campaign have announced their next goal is to silence America’s freedom of speech in the BDS campaign, a goal Hillary has pledged to support. Another helping of corruption anyone?

  7. Bandolero on April 23, 2016, 12:42 am

    “So why are we learning this now?”

    Call me naive, but as far as I understand how free media works I’ld pose the question more like this:

    Assuming the information in this article was available earlier, who may have paid for that it was put on hold until after the NYC primary?

  8. Nevada Ned on April 23, 2016, 12:42 am

    The question in the picture is “Does Clinton agree with Sanders that Israel must end its ‘disproportionate response’ to achieve peace?”

    A logically prior question is: “Do Israeli leaders like Netanyahu really want peace?”

    and the answer is: “Men like Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, and Menachem Begin don’t really want peace, because they gain too much from war”.

  9. kalithea on April 24, 2016, 1:44 pm

    What this election is proving like many previous elections is what I’ve repeated many times: that Americans are a dumb lot and perhaps the dumbest mass on the planet and because of this they’re trapped in a two-party monopoly and moved by the Zionist media to focus on the candidates the corporate media selects; the candidates of the media’s choosing from the start.

    Now I wouldn’t give a crap about this; but the fact that the most narcissistic, dumbest imperial interloper wants to be the ruler of the world and influences the direction of the rest of the world; then you better believe it; it stinks that the entire world is held hostage by the election decisions of the dumbest mass of people.

    This, like the double Bush fiasco is a disaster in the making whomever of the Zionist media’s choice wins: Hillary or Trump.

    Rev. Wright’s choice of words to rebuke America come to mind. As a matter of fact they couldn’t be more precise!

    And here’s the surprising thing: The black community will be responsible for Hillary being the nominee. So I guess blacks want to remain chained to the Clinton mass incarceration legacy.

    Now I’m not blaming the black community solely for the unfolding disaster; but regrettably they’re part of the mass I was referring to. When you throw your enlightened under the bus you deserve what’s coming. Too bad the rest of the world can’t be spared from the disastrous decisions of the American lot; there is no justice when one dumb nation rules the world.

    • echinococcus on April 24, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Americans are a dumb lot and perhaps the dumbest mass on the planet and because of this they’re trapped in a two-party monopoly

      Where we are at our dumbest is when we allow some mountebank to gather the disgruntled voters, especially when they are so many that we can call it a once-in-a-century opportunity of smashing the “two-party” monopoly, back to the “Democrat” dictatorship fold.

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