As the Democratic convention approaches and Hillary Clinton tries to win over, or finesse, the progressive anti-war component of her base, many writers are expressing misgivings about her foreign policy. Not that they are Trump supporters; but they worry about being left out in the cold in a Clinton administration studded with neoconservatives. Here are three new takes on the former secretary of state, two of which make the point that Clinton’s apology for voting for the Iraq war — it was a “mistake” — doesn’t really cut it.
At the National Interest, David Bromwich writes in “The roots of Hillary’s infatuation with war,” that Clinton extols a principle of “smart power” that turns out to idealize war. Clinton wasn’t very active against the Vietnam war, and the pattern holds:
She sympathized there with the burden of responsibility borne by President Johnson for “a war he’d inherited,” which turned out to be “a tragic mistake.” Johnson is her focus: the man of power who rode a tiger he could not dismount. On a second reading, “mistake” may seem too light a word to characterize a war that destroyed an agrarian culture forever and killed between one and three million Vietnamese. “Mistake” is also the word that Hillary Clinton has favored in answering questions about her vote for the Iraq War.