Let's see - Samantha Power, the self-proclaimed "genocide chick" resigned as unpaid foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" during her UK book tour. Oops!
One wonders why the Obama side didn't simply allow Ms. Powers to insist that truth was her defense - as the Chicago Tribune noted recently, Ms. Clinton has claimed, as part of her fo-po experience, to have presciently advised Bill Clinton to send US troops to Rwanda to avert the genocide there. Let's also note that Ms. Clinton was endorsing Bill's own version of reality when she made that claim.
However! Ms. Power wrote the authoritative article on the US role in Rwanda back in 2001; the notion that the US contemplated sending troops simply does not have any support. Which means Hillary and Bill are almost surely lying about the genocide of 800,000 people simply to posture for political gain.
Hilzoy put Hillary's claim under a microscope and concludes with this:
It's a lot harder to imagine that while Hillary Clinton was advocating military intervention, she not only failed to convince her husband to send troops, but also failed to convince him, for instance, not to advocate the withdrawal of most of the UN peacekeepers, or that he really ought to order the Pentagon to jam Radio Milles Collines. If she was doing her best behind the scenes, and failed to accomplish even this -- if, despite her best efforts, she couldn't persuade her husband not to advocate withdrawing UN peacekeepers just to provide cover for the Belgians -- then we really need to ask how effective an advocate she really is, especially since no one except her husband, in full campaign mode, seems to remember her efforts at all.
Of course, I think it's a lot more likely that she either didn't advocate action on Rwanda at all, or did so only in passing. If so, this would have to be the definitive example of her attempt to claim responsibility for everything good that happened during her husband's presidency, while disavowing all responsibility for his mistakes....
But if, in fact, Clinton missed the chance to urge her husband to help stop the Rwandan genocide, then she should not pretend that she was, in fact, right there on the side of the angels all along. That's just grotesque.
One might even say "monstrous".
As to the notion that the Clintons might lie about Rwanda for purposes of political posturing, please - back in 1998, while in Rwanda Bill Clinton famously claimed to have been only vaguely aware of the unfolding horror:
"All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."
That was debunked by Ms. Power in 2001 (or see the Times coverage of same) and by William Ferroggiaro, National Security Archive Fellow, in 2004 (1, 2). Of course, if Bill Clinton read the NY Times he would have known almost immediately that something dreadful was happening (I know I did).
C'mon - in April 1994 the foreign policy side of the Clinton Administration was focused on Bosnia. From April 6:
After six weeks of rapid progress that raised hopes for an overall Bosnian settlement, American attempts to resolve the Balkan conflict are floundering, beset by a worsening military situation and a diplomatic impasse over what territorial concessions are needed for peace.
United States officials said that a Bosnian Serb offensive against the Muslim-held enclave of Gorazde, in eastern Bosnia, and attacks on Muslim civilians in Serbian-held territory in northwestern Bosnia have renew serious questions about whether the Serbs are interested in a settlement.
By military standards, the air strikes carried out today against the Serbs in Bosnia were extremely modest. But the two American F-16C's that attacked Serbian positions outside the besieged town of Gorazde crossed a major political boundary.
The attacks marked the first time that air power has been used against Serbian positions in Bosnia, as well as the first time in the 45-year history of the NATO alliance that it has ever carried out a bombing raid. It also represents an important milestone for the Clinton Administration.
With this strike, NATO has not only demonstrated its determination to protect United Nations personnel under fire and taken action to protect the 65,000 people trapped in Gorazde, but it has also refocused the debate over the use of air power in Bosnia that has divided Administration officials.
"This is a clear expression of the will of NATO and the will of the United Nations," President Clinton said at the White House, referring to the air strikes. "We have said we would act if we were requested to do so. We have now done so and we will do so again if we are requested."
Hillary might want to try and defend her husband's inaction on Rwanda, but lying about it?
ON A LIGHTER NOTE: With Eerie Prescience I had predicted something like the current Clinton caper. But I missed Rwanda.
FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Team Obama puts out a memo debunking Hillary's fo-po experience which includes this:
Last year, former President Clinton asserted that his wife pressed him to intervene with U.S. troops to stop the Rwandan genocide. When asked about this assertion, Hillary Clinton said it was true. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that this ever happened. Even those individuals who were advocating a much more robust U.S. effort to stop the genocide did not argue for the use of U.S. troops. No one recalls hearing that Hillary Clinton had any interest in this course of action. Based on a fair and thorough review of National Security Council deliberations during those tragic months, there is no evidence to suggest that U.S. military intervention was ever discussed. Prudence Bushnell, the Assistant Secretary of State with responsibility for Africa, has recalled that there was no consideration of U.S. military intervention.
At no time prior to her campaign for the presidency did Senator Clinton ever make the claim that she supported intervening militarily to stop the Rwandan genocide. It is noteworthy that she failed to mention this anecdote – urging President Clinton to intervene militarily in Rwanda – in her memoirs. President Clinton makes no mention of such a conversation with his wife in his memoirs. And Madeline Albright, who was Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, makes no mention of any such event in her memoirs.
Hillary Clinton did visit Rwanda in March 1998 and, during that visit, her husband apologized for America’s failure to do more to prevent the genocide.