Monday, February 04, 2008

Senators Obama and Clinton and Cluster Bombs

In the fall of 2006 Obama voted in the U.S. Senate for a ban on the use of cluster bombs in areas populated by civilians.

Clinton voted -- with the Republicans -- against the ban:
Cluster bombs and landmines are particularly terrifying weapons that wreak havoc on communities trying to recover from war. They are fatal impediments to reconstruction and rehabilitation of agricultural land; they destroy valuable livestock; they disable otherwise productive members of society; they maim or kill children trying to salvage them for scrap metal.

Over 150 nations have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. It pains me that our great nation has not. But in the autumn of 2006, there was a chance to take a step in the right direction: Senate Amendment No. 4882, an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas.

Senator Obama of Illinois voted IN FAVOR of the ban.

Senator Clinton of New York voted AGAINST the ban.

Analysts say Clinton did not want to risk appearing "soft on terror," as it would have harmed her electibility.

I'm not a single-issue voter. But as Obama and Clinton share many policy positions, this vote was revelatory for me. After all, Amendment No. 4882 was an easy one to vote against: Who'd want to risk accusation of "tying the hands of the Pentagon" during a never-ending, global War on Terror? As is so often the case, there was no political cost to doing the wrong thing. And there was no political reward for doing the right thing.

But Senator Obama did the right thing.
Huffington Post. And Senator Clinton didn't. Supporters or potential supporters of Senator Clinton, please consider this: Senator Clinton's triangulation on the Iraq War authorization, her vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment designating the Iranian army a "terrorist organization", and her cluster-bomb ban vote all strongly suggest that Senator Clinton fears very much that she will be seen as weak on defence or national security. Do we really want someone in office who feels the need to demonstrate that she is not weak on defence? Am I alone in fearing the prospects of having someone in office who feels the need to prove how tough she is on the Global War on Terror?


toddy said...

I am a fool. I didn't switch my party affiliation from "independent" to "democrat" and cannot cast my primary vote here.

In fact, I know at least four other people who are Obama supporters who realized that sich at the last minute as well.

We are jerks.

Octopus Grigori said...

I'm very sorry to hear that.

toddy said...

Sorry. Sometimes my cynical glib digitally removed self gets the better of me.

toddy said...

oops, I meant to say that for the other post. Will do. . .