Take Back America? Hillary Blames Iraqis for Our Occupation

By Andre Banks Jun 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton at Take Back America last week Well, after her speech this morning, one thing is clear: Hillary Clinton is trying to win this election. Even if she rides to the White House on the white horse of racism. The Senator led with all the right talking points: more stem cell research, pre-K for kids, universal healthcare. Unfortunately, her delivery, as always, reeked more of an "everything must go" discount salesperson than an inspired and credible leader. This morning it seems she’s taken instruction in the art of lying effectively, dispassionately and with miraculous self-righteousness. Like Barack, it was uninspiring political theater. But one critical difference between the two junior Senators is that Barack, despite other failures, refuses to stoke American racism in a desperate quest to create scapegoats and pull votes. Sen. Clinton, alternatively, is well prepared to join that oldest of American political traditions: relying on racism, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, to get white people’s support at the expense of Black and other people of color’s lives and livelihoods. So Hillary gets to that "bring the troops home now(ish)" moment that all the candidates have nuanced into pure confusion. And when she gets to why our troops should be pulled out of Iraq, she introduces a really innovative idea. It went something like this: The American military, in the Clinton imagination, has "done its job" in Iraq. Valiantly, they liberated the people from Saddam and gave the Iraqi government a "chance" to take control. But now, because the Iraqi’s have failed to stand up to fix their own country (you know, the one with the city-sized U.S. embassy sitting smack in the middle), it’s time to bring the troops home. **Commence Shouting** Blaming the Iraqi’s for the mess in their country is beyond ignorant. Our country, the U.S.A, has invested half a trillion dollars to turn that nation into an unmitigated disaster – completely undermining real local leadership, rendering the nation nearly unlivable for Iraqis and impossibly dangerous for the foot soldiers forced to patrol the occupation. But why? Why would an intelligent and informed Senator and Presidential candidate tell this story to a room full of (mostly) white progressives? Because she knows her version of "bring the troops home" will play in an America committed to its deeply racist imagination. Her story of a successful military operation rendered a failure by the intransigence of Iraqi’s who don’t love democracy like we do, relieves the American conscious from the guilt becoming a war of terror. And in its place she leaves a racist stereotype our nation is accustomed to: a lawless Brown person who deserves to be abandoned to their uncontrollable vice. She got jeered. But in the end, the applause ruled the room – no doubt because her campaign filled the room with staff to prevent the shouting-down she got at this conference last year. Clinton laughed as the shouting subsided – it’s all robust debate, right? Wrong. It’s racist and it’s calculated. And an example of the kind of politics that Took Over America in the first place.