Did Hillary Really Say, «If I'm the president, we will attack Iran»?
Eric ZUESSE | 24.08.2016 | OPINION

Did Hillary Really Say, «If I'm the president, we will attack Iran»?

As many of my readers know, I frequently condemn America’s Establishment ‘news’ media, for distortions and outright lying, especially about politicians, federal officials, and international relations – the matters that America’s aristocracy are united in their determination to control, and whose ‘news’ coverage they therefore control for that purpose (to deceive the voters to vote for their candidates).

However, I’ve not yet condemned America’s non-Establishment ‘news’ media, which (as will be indicated here) are sometimes as bad or even worse. Now is a time to do so, because the allegation that Hillary Clinton said she would «attack Iran» if elected, has become widespread, both online and in print; and via both mainstream and ‘alternative’ news.

* * *

ABC’s Jake Tapper reported, on 22 April 2008, that Hillary had said that day on ABC’s Good Morning America, «I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran… In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them».

CNN headlined «Obama: Clinton’s ‘obliterate’ Iran statement too much like Bush», and quoted that very excerpt from her statement, providing some of the important surrounding context behind it.

More recently, the ‘alternative news’ ‘journalist’ Stephen Lendman headlined «Hillary Clinton: ‘If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran… We would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them’», and he implied that this statement by Clinton was made while «she addressed AIPAC’s annual convention». Nothing like that was in her speech there (nor at any other AIPAC convention). So, Lendman’s report was made-up, even if its source, Tapper’s account, might also have been made-up (which, as I’ll explain, I doubt to have been the case).  

Furthermore, Tapper’s news-report provided essential context for that statement of hers (context which was also reflected in CNN’s report that was based on his), and this essential context changes in a very important way the meaning of the excerpt just cited: «Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on ‘Good Morning America’ Tuesday. ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. ‘I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran,’ Clinton said. ‘In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.’» That news-report by Tapper included a streamer saying, «Watch the full interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton on ‘GMA’ Tuesday», but it’s actually dead (there’s no link there), and ABC provides no transcript at all, nor even a video with that segment; so, Tapper’s account is the only remaining source regarding the interview. However, from the veracity-checks I routinely do, I have found that Tapper, unlike Lendman (and unlike Establishment ‘reporters’ in general), can be trusted, because I’ve found the assertions that he makes to be true, at least so far as they go, even if at a deeper level some of his statements are misleading (in favor of the standard misconceptions, of course – but that’s not involved here).

In any case, because ABC fails to provide online-access to the original of that GMA segment, Tapper’s account of it is the original, for present purposes. And, what it shows is that when Hillary was asked «what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons», her answer was «I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran».

The question then becomes: Would any other US Presidential candidate NOT «attack Iran» under that circumstance?

The next question, beyond that one, would be: Should we «attack Iran», under that circumstance?

Let’s first discuss the second question: The US has no treaty-obligation to defend Israel. General James Stavridis was on Hillary’s short list to become appointed her VP running-mate, and he headlined in the neoconservative magazine Foreign Policy, on 15 September 2015»,It’s Time for a Formal US Alliance With Israel», and he made clear there that, «We do have with Israel a series of several dozen memorandums of understanding about defense matters from intelligence to terrorism – but not the gold standard of a treaty». He closed, «what better symbol of the lasting special relationship between our nations than a treaty? It’s a dangerous region, and Israel is our strongest ally in it. Now is the time to explore the outlines of such a deal».

In other words: a prominent Hillary-surrogate was urging such a treaty before he became a Hillary-surrogate. She knew about it, yet she seriously considered such an extremist neoconservative to become the US VP.

What, then, about the advisability of Stavridis’s recommendation – a US treaty-obligation to defend Israel?

Israel now refuses to comply with its side of US President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords – an agreement signed between Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on 17 September 1978, and for which the moderate Sadat was assassinated, and the extremist-conservative Begin was able to live out his natural life – it was hardly a give-away to the Palestinians, quite the opposite. The UN and the PLO rejected it because the agreement rejected «the Palestinian right of return» – just as many governments reject the «right of return» by aborigines to their ancestral homeland (yet stay in the UN and pontificate there about ‘the right of return’). Nonetheless, the US government allows Israel to flaunt even that fundamental peace-agreement, the Camp David Accords (without which there can never be peace in the Middle East), and now to ignore it altogether, and yet people such as Stavridis call Israel «our strongest ally» in the Middle East. That assertion by Stavridis isn’t to say much (America has no real ally there), but it’s probably not even comparatively true, because:

The state of Israel committed an act of war against the US, which the federal government investigated and found to have been an act of war but has continued to hide from the public the supporting documents for the investigation’s findings, which findings were:

1. That on June 8, 1967, after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against the USS Liberty, the world’s most sophisticated intelligence ship, inflicting 34 dead and 172 wounded American servicemen (a casualty rate of seventy percent, in a crew of 294);

2. That the Israeli air attack lasted approximately 25 minutes, during which time unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on the Liberty’s bridge, and fired 30mm cannons and rockets into our ship, causing 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes which were jamming all five American emergency radio channels;

3. That the torpedo boat attack involved not only the firing of torpedoes, but the machine-gunning of the Liberty’s firefighters and stretcher-bearers as they struggled to save their ship and crew; the Israeli torpedo boats later returned to machine-gun at close range three of the Liberty’s life rafts that had been lowered into the water by survivors to rescue the most seriously wounded;

4. That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew; evidence of such intent is supported by statements from Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Undersecretary of State George Ball, former CIA director Richard Helms, former NSA directors Lieutenant General William Odom, USA (Ret.), Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN (Ret.), and Marshal Carter; former NSA deputy directors Oliver Kirby and Major General John Morrison, USAF (Ret.); and former Ambassador Dwight Porter, US Ambassador to Lebanon in 1967;

5. That in attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States;

6. That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the US Navy from coming to the defense of the Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack; evidence of the recall of rescue aircraft is supported by statements of Captain Joe Tully, Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, the Sixth Fleet carrier division commander, at the time of the attack; never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack;

7. That although the Liberty was saved from almost certain destruction through the heroic efforts of the ship’s Captain, William L. McGonagle (MOH), and his brave crew, surviving crewmembers were later threatened with ‘‘court-martial, imprisonment or worse’’ if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government;

8. That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people;

9. That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress; to this day, no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack;

10. That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history.

Finally, 38 years after that attack by Israel, much of the evidence for those official findings was made public, in 2005 (and hushed-up) by the press. That was a follow-up report, by the USS Liberty Veterans Association, since the government continues to hide the evidence behind the official report. (Shades of 9/11 here, except with the Israelis instead of the Saudis?)

Subsequent revelations have only confirmed those official findings.

Consequently, why was it that when Hillary was asked «what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons», her answer was «I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran»? And why have both mainstream and even some ‘alternative news’ media in the United States misrepresented history, lied to their audiences – and hidden the truth?

And now we come back to that first question: «The question then becomes: Would any other US Presidential candidate NOT ‘attack Iran’ under that circumstance?»

One wonders, then, what the response of the American public would be to an honest presentation of the facts, of history, which have been hidden from the American public; and to an honest Presidential candidate, who would then run saying: «I would not attack Iran even if Iran were to attack Israel; we have no treaty-obligation to Israel, and Israel is a hostile nation – an attack upon Israel isn’t America’s business, and our endless cycle of our own invasions is disgusting and is harmful to the American people, not to mention to our millions of victims, in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere. World War II and the Cold War both are over».

Can US foreign policy only continue to be ‘justified’ by continued lying – official and non-official? Or, will US foreign policy (and especially the US ‘news’ media, upon which US foreign policy relies) instead change, in some very fundamental ways?

Tags: Iran  Clinton 

RELATED ARTICLES