[A-List] Good ol' Bill, the liberal hero
shimogamo at attglobal.net
Fri Aug 17 20:51:40 MDT 2007
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger looks forward to
the arrival of Bill Clinton in London where an "audience" with him will
cost up to GBP 799 a head. In examining Clinton's liberal credentials
and comparing them to George W Bush's record, Pilger illuminates what
Hillary Clinton might offer America and the world as the first female
by John Pilger
johnpilger.com (August 08 2007)
On 14 August, you are invited to "an audience" with Bill Clinton in
London. You have a choice. You can attend the "breakfast and speech" or
the "brunch buffet and speech". These will take place in the white
elephantine Millennium Dome, where a place in the "Kings' Row" will cost
you GBP 799. Last year, Clinton made more than GBP 5 million granting
"audiences". Not only the usual corporate types attend. A few years ago,
I watched a conga line of writers, journalists, publishers and others of
liberal reputation shuffling towards his grotesquely paid presence at
the Guardian Hay Festival.
The Clinton scam is symptomatic of the death of liberalism - not its
narcissistic, war-loving wing ("humanitarian intervention"), which is
ascendant, but the liberalism that speaks against crimes committed in
its name, while extending rungs of the economic ladder to those below.
It was Clinton's promotion of the former and crushing of the latter that
so inspired new Labour's "project". Clinton, not Bush, was Cool
Britannia's true Mafia godfather. Keen observers of Tony Blair will
recall that during one of his many farewell speeches, the sociopath did
a weird impersonation of Clinton's head wiggle.
Clinton is able to make a shedload a money because he is contrasted with
the despised Bush as the flawed good guy who did his best for the world
and brought economic boom to the US - the fabled American dream no less.
Both notions are finely spun lies. What Clinton and Blair have most in
common is that they are the most violent leaders of their countries in
the modern era; that includes Bush. Consider Clinton's true record.
In 1993, he pursued George H W Bush's invasion of Somalia. He invaded
Haiti in 1994. He bombed Bosnia in 1995 and Serbia in 1999. In 1998, he
bombed Afghanistan; and, at the height of his Monica Lewinsky troubles,
he momentarily diverted the headline writers to a major "terrorist
target" in Sudan that he ordered destroyed with an onslaught of
missiles. It turned out to be sub-Saharan Africa's largest
pharmaceutical plant, the only source of chloroquine, the treatment for
malaria, and other drugs that were lifelines to hundreds of thousands.
As a result, wrote Jonathan Belke, then of the Near East Foundation,
"tens of thousands of people - many of them children - have suffered and
died from malaria, tuberculosis and other treatable diseases".
Long before Shock and Awe, Clinton was destroying and killing in Iraq.
Under the lawless pretence of a "no-fly zone", he oversaw the longest
allied aerial bombardment since the Second World War. This was hardly
reported. At the same time, he imposed and tightened a Washington-led
economic siege estimated to have killed a million civilians. "We think
the price is worth it", said his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright,
in an exquisite moment of honesty.
Clinton's economic "legacy" - like Blair's - is the most unequal society
Americans have known. In his last presidential year, 1999, I walked
along the ocean front at Santa Monica in California and was struck by
the number of middle-class homeless, "bag gents" who had lost executive
jobs and families thanks largely to Clinton's North American Free Trade
treaty. As for working Americans, the boasted high employment figures
concealed a reversion to real wage levels of the 1970s. It was Clinton,
not Bush, who wiped out the last of Roosevelt's New Deal. Back in Santa
Monica the other day, I noted the bag gents had multiplied.
These days, you see Good Ol' Bill, or the Comeback Kid, as he is
variously known, wiggling his head on the TV news, campaigning for his
wife, Hillary, among Americans who, terminally naive, still believe the
Democratic Party is theirs and that "it's time to vote a woman into the
White House". Together, the Clintons are known as "Billary" and rightly
so. Like Good Ol' Bill, his wife has no plans to address the divisions
of a society that allows 130,000 Americans to claim the wealth of
millions of their fellow citizens. Like GOB, she wants to continue
Iraq's torment for perhaps a decade. And she has not "ruled out"
Those settling down in the Kings' Row at the Millennium Dome on 14
August for breakfast or brunch with GOB, having transferred another swag
to the Clinton bank account, are unlikely to reflect on the blood spilt
and the epic suffering caused, or on the moral corruption of the liberal
ideology that courted and acclaimed Clinton, along with the criminal Blair.
But we should.
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