Newsweek’s Sale of Hillary the Hawk Exposes Interesting Hypocrisy

Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows, with help from Howard Fineman and John Barry, wrote what appeared to be a 2008 presidential advertisement presenting Sen. Hillary Clinton to readers as a pro-military hawk. In doing so, Meadows unintentionally exposed an interesting hypocrisy in the senator’s stance that she, like others in Congress, was misled by President Bush prior to her October 11, 2002 vote to authorize the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.

First, Meadows went to great lengths to present Sen. Clinton as not being a dove:

“It is no accident that hawks inside and outside the military are reconsidering Hillary Clinton. She may have entered the Senate in 2001 with three strikes against her—she was a woman, a Democrat and a Clinton. But Senator Clinton immediately began a methodical campaign to undo her image as a dovish liberal with no interest in military affairs. Post 9/11, she was quick to recognize that Democrats—and especially one all but openly running for president—were vulnerable on defense issues.”

Meadows then referenced a November 29, 2005 position statement of the senator’s posted at her website concerning Iraq: “Her Senate office has received so many e-mails from frustrated Democrats that she responded last week with a 1,600-word letter, in which she took responsibility for her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, but still blamed President George W. Bush for prewar intelligence failures and the current mess on the ground.” Though Meadows pointed out that Sen. Clinton is walking a fine line between her war support in 2002 and her condemnation of how things are going now, she, like most of the media, didn’t seem concerned with the fact that the senator “has avoided [giving] specifics about how and when to leave.”

Yet, the most compelling hypocrisy was exposed by the following:

“Clinton has used her platform on Armed Services to educate herself on defense issues. She receives briefings from military officials and calls big thinkers from her husband's Rolodex, including Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, for advice. Some of those who've met with her have come away surprised by her command of the material.”

So, prior to her vote on October 11, 2002, Sen. Clinton, as a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, not only had complete access to CIA information, but also had access to “military officials” and “big thinkers from her husband's Rolodex, including Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke.” Moreover, she is a highly intelligent individual who demonstrated a surprising "command of the [defense related] material" presented to her. And yet her vote on the war was somehow manipulated by the Bush administration?

For some reason, Meadows, Fineman, and Barry missed this glaring hypocrisy.

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Noel Sheppard's picture