Joshua Frank: Hillary Clinton

By Joshua Frank
Special to

At a global warming forum held in Los Angeles on November 17, Hillary Clinton touted her green credentials to a packed auditorium of concerned voters. While the senator was careful not to step on the toes of her corporate campaign contributors, Hillary did proclaim that she has a “bold, comprehensive” plan to move the United States toward energy independence.

Like with so many other issues, Hillary’s have-it-both-ways approach to tackling climate change is a feckless, hollow strategy. If the New York Senator is to capture her party’s nomination next year, you can rest assure the Big Green outfits in DC, like the Sierra Club, will tag along despite Hillary’s non-position on global warming. Simply put, one cannot be pro-war and maintain a sound environmental ethic. And Hillary Clinton is a hawk with connections.

More than any other presidential aspirant, Hillary is in the pocket of the defense industry, which has donated more cash to the Democratic contenders than the Republicans this year. At $500 or more a pop, employees of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics have handed over $52,600 to Clinton’s campaign as of mid-October. That is almost half of all the money the industry has given the Democrats total this election cycle. And surely there is more to come.

Not surprisingly Hillary has promised that she will not deflate the bulging defense budget, nor have any of the other leading Democratic candidates. Currently the military budget sits at over $532 billion per year, which is almost 4% of our total GDP. Ultimately, if Hillary is victorious in November, she will continue to fund the most polluting institution in the world: the Department of Defense (DoD).

One cannot address the issue of climate change by continuing the United State’s wars in the Middle East. In the fiscal year of 2004, according to the US Defense Energy Support Center Fact Book, the US military consumed 144 million barrels of oil. Currently every US solider in Iraq and Afghanistan indirectly uses 16 gallons of oil per day to drive around humvees and tanks, fly helicopters, and carry out aerial bombing campaigns. American GIs are now the most energy-consuming soldiers ever. And only three countries guzzle more oil per capita than the DoD. China, surprisingly, is not one of them.

No doubt, with the price of crude racing toward $100 a barrel, the war in Iraq is making oil executives quite happy.

Hillary, if she were serious about reducing CO2 emissions, would have to drastically overhaul the DoD and end the war in Iraq at once. Something she absolutely refuses to do. In fact, Hillary has taken a hard-line with Iran, all but promising a military confrontation if intervention fails to produce a result friendly to Israel and other US interests in the region. The wars in the Middle East will most certainly continue if Hillary has her way.

No doubt Senator Clinton believes the Earth is warming and humans have something to do with it. But we are more apt to hear Hillary talk the talk than call for any radical change in our energy policy, especially if it effects the bottom lines of the defense contractors that have so graciously fattened her campaign coffers.

-Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.

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