If you crave presidential lawlessness, war crimes and international mayhem, you should adore Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton. During Tuesday’s CNN Democratic debate, Mrs. Clinton touted the 2011 war to overthrow Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi that she orchestrated as “smart power at its best.”
That glibness was even worse than President George W. Bush’s post-Iraq invasion delusion of “Mission Accomplished.” Consider the following:
• The war, initiated by President Obama without congressional authorization, violated Article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution—a high crime and misdemeanor that justifies impeachment and removal from office. James Madison, father of the Constitution, elaborated to Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution supposes what history demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch most prone to war and most interested in it, therefore the Constitution has with studied care vested that power in the Legislature.” In the U.S. Senate in 2007, then-Sen. Clinton maintained: “If the [Bush] administration believes that any use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.” But as a presidential candidate in 2008, she thundered that in the White House she would obliterate Iran unilaterally if it attacked Israel: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel). In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”
• The war constituted the crime of aggression under the precedents of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the U.N. Charter and the International Criminal Court, i.e., the use of force by one State against another — including bombardment — not justified by self-defense. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed that the civil upheaval in Libya that triggered the war was not a “vital interest of the United States.”
• The war encouraged nuclear proliferation by vivisecting Libya soon after it renounced weapons of mass destruction. It sent the message that any nation without WMD risked attack by the United States. Iran has agreed only to defer, not to abandon, its nuclear ambitions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated with President Obama.
• The war eventuated in the transfer of Muammar Gaddafi’s vast inventory of conventional weapons into the hands of terrorists and enemies of Israel.
• The war created a power vacuum that gave birth to ISIL in Libya, and it now dominates the port city of Sirte.
• The war spawned scores of sectarian, ethnic, or tribal militias guilty of chronic human rights crimes against civilians. A year ago, Amnesty International reported: “”In today’s Libya the rule of the gun has taken hold. Armed groups and militias are running amok, launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas and committing widespread abuses, including war crimes, with complete impunity,”
• The war created havoc on a scale requiring the evacuation of all U.S. Embassy personnel.
• The war fueled a refugee crisis in Europe by disabling Libya from preventing human traffickers from using its shores to embark on ultra-hazardous travel across the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching Italy.
• The war created a “might-makes-right” precedent that invited Russian aggression against Ukraine and Chinese adventurism in the South China Sea.
• The war culminated in the establishment of rival lawless governments in Tripoli and Tobruk, multiple armed militia groups guilty of civilian abductions, torture and extrajudicial killings, 550,00 internally displaced persons, and 150,00 Libyan refugees. Mrs. Clinton, by precipitating the war, is morally complicit in these horrors and miseries.
Her lame defense is that “the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy.” But there have never been moderates in Libya because from time immemorial there all political power has grown out of the barrel of a gun. The 2012 elections she referenced were meaningless because the war she provoked placed a political premium on violence and ruthlessness.
Remember that Mrs. Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright close soulmates, and that Mrs. Albright notoriously defended the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as “worth it” to impose economic sanctions against President Saddam Hussein.
In sum, Hillary Rodham Clinton is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and international peace and security. Her eagerness for war, i.e., legalized murder, to create an image of adolescent toughness makes her a worse fit for the presidency than would Lady Macbeth.