The shameful exposition by the American presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton of her genocidal intentions towards Iranians was tragic proof of the dehumanizing impact of warmongering on an elite Western mind. It is said that humanity is the first casualty of war, and this has been made starkly clear, not only by the murderous boasting of the presidential candidate’s preparedness to “totally obliterate” an entire nation, to prove her appeal as the American president, but worse still, by the meek and acquiescent response — or no response at all — of the mainstream Western journalists, politicians, and intelligentsia.
Their silence is a cue heavy with meaning and menace, prompting the audience to accept Clinton’s remarks, and others like hers, as if there were nothing wrong with them.
Where are those champions of human rights and Western liberal values who were so “outraged” by the announcement of fatwa on Salmon Rushdie? Does that loud and sanguine defense of “freedom of expression” translate into this blood-soaked acquiesce to the liberty of threatening to consign an entire nations to “total obliteration”?
And compare this complacent silence to the flooding of the airwaves and newsrags with propaganda over the Iranian president’s misquoted “wiping Israel off the map” remark, which has gone on incessantly for two and a half years despite frequent attempts at clarification and correction. Such was the “outrage.”
The Orwellian double talk and double standards are such staples of everyday political culture that they now go down without a pinch of salt and are comfortably digested. Thus the threat of genocide is merely interpreted as a “gaff” (Timothy Garton-Ash, Guardian 24th April) or regarded as “probably imprudent” (Lord Malloch-Brown, Guardian 24th April) — an unmistakable indication of the deadening of sensitivity and tolerance of violence towards nations who are deemed as “dispensable” . . . such as Iraqis, Palestinians, and Iranians.
The “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” of the United Nations, defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. . . .”
Hillary Clinton is threatening the destruction of a “whole national group” and by her violent threat is causing them “serious mental harm.” In her ABC News interview, she has unequivocally threatened the Iranians: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran.” “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” This was in reply to the question on how she would respond if Iran attacked Israel by nuclear weapons.
Not only, according to the intensive IAEA inspections, there is no evidence of Iran working towards weaponization, thus there is no rationale for ABC’s question, but even if, hypothetically, such a program existed, the threat of “total obliteration” issued to an entire nation remains insane and criminal. This threat of total annihilation, which would presumably imply the use of nuclear weapons with catastrophic consequences, is directed against a helpless population. The threat, moreover, does not work as a fearsome deterrent that some claim it is. Just as it is intended to grab the presidency through fear-mongering, feeding the monster paranoia necessary to continue American wars, similarly the impact of the threat on Iranians would be to make them do what they can to defend themselves against a deranged president and a population who go along with her.
According to the UN definition of genocide, Hillary Clinton is threatening genocide of an entire nation of 70 million. Is this violent woman fit to hold the presidency of a country with the most powerful war machine in history? Have we become so dehumanized by our incessant killing that we have lost any capacity for outrage?
With over a million Iraqis and thousands of coalition soldiers killed and maimed, the prospect of Hillary Clinton’s presidency, who voted in favor of that illegal and immoral war, and has publicly declared her voracious appetite for genocide, is a truly terrifying specter.
A lone voice of conscience, in a reader’s letter in the Guardian newspaper (24th April) asks: “What would she do if Israel attacked Iran (which is more likely)?” This is the question Clinton should have been asked and the question she should now be asked by the world community. So should statesmen, politicians, and journalists internationally be questioned on their views on the US presidential hopeful’s genocidal intents.
Mehrnaz Shahabi is an Iranian-British peace activist, translator, and independent journalist.