Bill Clinton's Global Redemption Initiative

Friday, October 1, 2010 1:08 AM

Something called the Clinton Global Initiative was brought to my attention by an AP dispatch dated September 21st, entitled "Bill Clinton: Economy, disasters imperil millions". At first, I suspected it was a leg-pull, but then I realized, no, this is for real. The impeached 42nd POTUS was kicking off the sixth annual pow-wow of his self-styled Global Initiative. To quote the AP writer, Beth Fouhy, "The conference brings together leaders from government, business and philanthropy, who make financial commitments aimed at tackling poverty and disease around the world." Where have I been? Sounds like a folksy rival to Davos. The Economist has called CGI's annual meetings " important part of the global elite's calendar." 

A few more choice quotes from the AP dispatch...

Item: "Clinton said the gulf region [Gulf of Mexico, that is] had been hit by 'everything but a plague of locusts' and said climate change had made events like hurricanes and flooding more frequent and deadly. 'There is every reason to believe the incidents of economically devastating natural disasters will accelerate around the world with the changing of the climate,' Clinton said, urging governments and world leaders to be better prepared for such events." 

May I ask, how does Clinton know that? How does anyone know that? Are we suppose to believe it, because Al Gore says it is so? After all, this is not history, which can be examined and interpreted. This is the future. Is Bill Clinton now proclaiming himself to be a prophet and sage? Please note, as well, that the current Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually mild, at least so far.  

Item: "Clinton also pressed attendees on the need to educate and empower women and girls in developing counties, saying the global economy would improve with women's full participation. 'There are still a lot of places in this world where women are part human and part property and where men define their meaning in life,' Clinton said." 

Putting aside the open question of do-goodism running amok, where does Bill Clinton get off with such rhetoric, in view of his deplorable track record with "women and girls" while he was Governor of Arkansas and during his sojourn at the White House? 

I vaguely recall that POTUS 42 was hit with a complaint for sexual harassment while in the White House due to his actions at a prior public sector job in the Governor's mansion at little Rock, Arkansas. He and his legal team went to the U.S. Supreme Court to get the lawsuit quashed, dismissed or delayed until after he left the Presidency. They lost that motion by 9 to 0. Undeterred, Bill Clinton went on to perjure himself in a deposition during the discovery process. 

When that felony was exposed, as a byproduct of the bizarre Monica Lewinsky affair, it led to Clinton's impeachment in the House of Representatives. He wiggled out of a conviction in the Congress, and escaped jail time in a Federal petitionary for perjury, but was compelled to relinquish his license to practice law, and left the Oval Office in debt to his high-priced defense team. What a mess. Fast forward to 2010, and the former President has reemerged on the skyline, lecturing us about empowering "women and girls". All right. Stranger things have happened. 

Item. "Bill Clinton largely steered clear of politics during the conference, but said at one point he wished more world leaders made their decisions based on facts. 'Do you know how many political decisions are made in this world by people who don't know what in the living daylights they are talking about?'"

No, I don't. Do you? 

Is the Comeback Kid suggesting that his decisions as President were based strictly on facts, not politics, and that he always knows what he is talking about? Anybody with a stiff drink under his or her belt at this gathering must have gagged. The presumption is stupefying. The implication is that we should check with Bill (or with his designated successor to the Oval Office, H.R. Clinton) so that we will know for sure what to think and how to make the right decisions for the good of mankind... 

Which brings me in a roundabout way to my friend, tennis legend Gardnar Mulloy. He's now in his middle nineties, and has been ranked number #1 in the U.S. for every decade of his life. He's completely apolitical; he draws his own conclusions based upon observable facts. As a decorated veteran of World War II, he concluded that modern warfare is madness. We often played tennis during the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, and afterwards during the initial phase of the occupation. In crossovers, we traded thoughts about the war and the Bush administration. These crossovers usually went beyond the regulation time limit. 

Gardnar felt that what Bush Jr. was doing in the Middle East was simply insane, just incomprehensible. He was at a loss to understand why it was happening and why the American people could let it happen. He may had passed on his disgust and puzzlement to his good friend, the famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, in California. The man who prosecuted Charles Manson, and who never lost a murder case in his career, subsequently wrote an important but under-appreciated book entitled The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

The title sounds over the top, but the concept is important. Can the President be held criminally responsible for his actions? Is he, in fact, accountable? Or does he possess a kind of blanket immunity in his capacity as the imperial President of the lone surviving superpower? Note that Bill Clinton had to answer a civil suit while still in office for alleged, unwanted sexual advances.

Vincent Bugliosi takes the position that the rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was entirely bogus, and that the orchestrated campaign of lies and disinformation emanating from the White House was presided over by G.W. Bush. All that is perfectly true, of course. Hence, according to Bugliosi, Bush Jr. should be held accountable for the unnecessary deaths of more than four thousand American servicemen and for the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian fatalities. Bugliosi explains why in legal detail.

The U.S. military acted at the direction of G.W. Bush, Jr., absent a declaration of war by Congress, as would normally be required by the U.S. Constitution. Bugliosi calls the results murder. You might call it malfeasance and stupidity. You might call it a conspiracy undertaken by the Neocons, using G.W. Bush as a useful idiot. The fact remains, no one in the Cheney-Bush co-Presidency has been held accountable for anything. Boy Wonder Obama has refused to investigate Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush for anything they did in connection with the Iraq War or for anything whatsoever related to the so-called "war on terror". The entire subject is out of bounds. It might disrupt the perpetual-war-for-perpetual-peace agenda, not to mention the “clash of civilizations”. 

In this way--give it some serious thought--is Barack Obama conveniently immunizing himself from possible war crimes which he is authorizing right now? I am thinking about the burgeoning drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which attacks have killed scores of innocent civilians and are certain to create blowback for Pakistan and America. Our "peace prize" President has increased these targeted killings far beyond anything authorized by those two roustabouts, Bush and Cheney.

What does this have to do with Bill Clinton? Plenty. He is in the same boat with Bush, Cheney and Obama. At his recently-concluded Global Initiative  conference, which lasted three days and was attended by 1,300 concerned humanitarians, including a host of plutocrats and Hollywood celebrities, there was much talk about "ensuring global health" and "alleviating poverty". All of this concern is directed at mankind situated outside the United States, in the developing or so-called third world. As noted on the CGI website, the organization acts as "a facilitator"--it helps match worthy projects with private funding from those individuals and corporations fortunate enough to possess spare cash. No doubt, some actual good deeds are being performed by this glitzy, grandstanding, private-sector initiative. We are talking about funding to date of over $60 billion. One is left to assume that Bill Clinton is a humanitarian as well as a great facilitator. But is one allowed to explore what Clinton did in this regard when he was President?

Let's stick to Iraq, to keep it simple and stark. If G.W. Bush can be held responsible for the untimely deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis in an unjustified and illegal war starting in 2003, then by the same token Bill Clinton, in executing his foreign policy from 1993 through 2000, can be assigned direct responsibility for the malnutrition, death and immiserization of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, especially women and children, due to the economic embargo of Iraq during those eight years. This is not theory; this is a well-documented fact. Bear in mind that a full-scale economic embargo is an act of war. It is one of the reasons why Japan felt justified in attacking Pearl Harbor. 

The American-instigated embargo of Iraq, undertaken by George Walker Bush in the aftermath of the first Iraq War, was carried forward for eight long years under Bill and Hillary Clinton, taking the advice of their unbalanced, all-star Zionist foreign policy team of Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk. It was, to be sure, a bipartisan Washington enterprise--relentless, mindless, vengeful and without mercy--all based predictably on politics, not facts. And Bill Clinton, as President, was the man who presided over the entire rotten affair.

In this regard, I refer you to another under-appreciated book, this time by an English writer, Geoff Simons. The title is The Scourging of Iraq, published in 1996. There would be four more years to go in Bill Clinton's presidency. A few lines from the preface will give you an idea of what people inside the White House, working for Bill and Hillary Clinton, were doing to Iraq in America's name...

The U.S.-contrived economic siege of Iraq has now lasted well over seven years, as I write, with, according to all estimates, millions of casualties--perhaps 2,000,000 dead through starvation and disease, more than half of them children, and many millions more emaciated, traumatized, sick, dying...

The United States is the conscious architect of this years-long genocide. Knowingly, with a cruel and cynical resolve, U.S. officials work hard to withhold relief from a starving and diseased people. And the grotesque facts are not even disputed by Washington. Madeleine Albright, now Secretary of State, was prepared to assert in public that the killing of 500,00 Iraqi children was justified.

The scourging of Iraq continued to the end of the Clinton Administration. Then Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush took up where Bill Clinton left off, and put Iraq out of its misery. In a way, that made sense. Under Bill and Hillary, it was a slow death without a conclusion.  President Clinton stated in his last days in office, "...sanctions will be there until the end of time, or as long as he [Saddam] lasts." One must assume that Bill Clinton knew what he was talking about, as always. 

A major target of the sanctions was the water supply of Iraq as well as the entire civilian infrastructure of the country. This is recorded in terrible detail in Simons' book. The topic was taken up by Professor Thomas Nagy, a professor at George Washington University. His September 2001 article, "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: how the U.S. intentionally destroyed Iraq's water supply" is most revealing. Nagy concludes, "For more than ten years, the United States has deliberately pursued a policy of destroying the water treatment system of Iraq, knowing full well the cost in Iraqi lives. The United Nation has estimated that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions, and that 5,000 Iraqi children continue to die every month for this reason." If true, this campaign constituted a war crime. 

Meanwhile, back at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Comeback Kid has been in his glory. Commitments in excess of $6 billion were made. It was reliably reported that 40 heads of state, attending the UN General Assembly meeting, took time out for a personal get-together with the former President. Among other highlights, Barack and Michelle Obama dropped by to joke and offer advice. Demi Moore and Ashton announced a campaign called "Real Men Don't buy Girls" in an effort, somehow, to stop child sex slavery.

And the CEO of Procter & Gamble, Bob McDonald, "announced plans to distribute two billion packets of a water-purification product that Clinton said could save one life every hour." That's good to know, isn't it? One wonders how many hours will it take to erase the past.

--Copyright 2010 Patrick Foy--