carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

IRAN: Hillary's threat to "obliterate" in war reverberates


Better be careful what you say in the heat of a political campaign. It could have global repercussions.

480pxhillary_rodham_clinton_2Presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's vow to "obliterate" Iran, presumably with nuclear weapons, if it attacked Israel on her watch was duly noted in the U.S.

[UPDATE: To see a video and full transcript of the comment, click here.]

Jaded American insiders shrugged off the remark as typical campaign season bluster, filed away with myriad other exaggerations and gaffes.

But it prompted shock overseas as well as headlines from Bulgaria to New Zealand.

The statement triggered alarm bells in the Persian Gulf, which would likely suffer the consequences of any war between Iran and the U.S. In a harshly worded editorial, the Saudi-based daily Arab News trashed Clinton's comment today as insane:

This is the foreign politics of the madhouse. It demonstrates the same doltish ignorance that has distinguished Bush’s foreign relations. It offers only violence where there should be negotiations and war where there could be peace. At a stroke, Clinton demonstrated to everyone in this region that if she were the next occupant of the White House, Iraq-like death and destruction would be the order of the day.

The paper generally stays  true to the line of the Saudi government, which is a key U.S. ally. But criticism of the remark also came from even friendlier quarters.

In the United Kingdom, which has been a steadfast U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as on the issue of Iran, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a ranking British diplomat, criticized Clinton's remark as gratuitous:

While it is reasonable to warn Iran of the consequence of it continuing to develop nuclear weapons and what those real consequences bring to its security, it is not probably prudent ... in today's world to threaten to obliterate any other country and in many cases civilians resident in such a country.

Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photos: Image from a 1954 U.S. nuclear test in the Pacific Ocean. (Wikimedia Commons) Hillary Rodham Clinton (Official picture).

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, the war in Iraq and the frictions between the West and Islam. You can subscribe by registering at the website here, logging in here and clicking on the World: Mideast newsletter box here.

Comments () | Archives (97)

Well, you don't have to be a fan of Hillary (and I am not) to see that what she said is much more nuanced than what is being reported. She first referred to a nuclear attack on Israel by Iran, not just any attack. Secondly, she said the US "could" obliterate Iran, not that it necessarily would. [As a practical matter, everyone knows that no Democratic administration is likely to do anything militarily, other than to cut the Defense budget, regardless of the provocation.]

Hillary's totally irresponsible and even outrageous comments about waging nuclear war against Iran, (or any other country for that matter), clearly demonstrates to the world that she is totally unqualified to be president of the United States. Her campaign claims that she has the experience to lead, but her public statements on US declarative foreign policy clearly demonstrate how unqualified she is to be the Democratic candidate, much less the next President.

It is time for foreign leaders around the world to let US political leaders and voters know how they feel about a Clinton presidency. She has personally insulted many countries and their leaders around the world and now she threatens nuclear war in the Middle East just to further her own political ambitions.

You may not be able to vote in the election, but you can certainly make your interests known through public statements condemning her declarative nuclear policy and by contributing to her opponent's campaigns.

America is all about lie and stupidity. Iran has never said to destroy by military means but israeli will disappear if there are fair and free election. Second death to USA means death to USA meddling in middle east etc. USA was the one overthrowing Mosadeq gov, encouraging saddam to attack etc. I hope average americans will take a notice and take care of USA.

If Iran successfully invades Israel, Iranian and Arab troops will kill every single Jew living in the country. It would be a massacre of an entire population. Faced with a genocidal threat, it is appropriate to counter with a threat of a nuclear attack.

Some of you are truly sick. You delight in the talk of destroying other countries. You need to get a life. Maybe if you got a job and a date you'd have better things to think about then razing third world nations.

i do not think Hillary is a good person for the USA as she is a mad person,she does not how to talk ,she has benefit for israel not for America

Hillary’s comment is another proof that the USA is an enemy of the Iranian people and the Muslims of the world and wishes to kill and "obliterate" all of them. USA has made it very clear repeatedly that it will destroy the world to defend Israel, but is Israel really worth it?
Isn’t it better to give some land in the sunny California to the Jews and make a small state for them in the USA and end all this? Should the world be obliterated for the sake of 3 million Jews (mostly Russian expats) in Israel?

War-monger mentality. And she and Mccain criticize Obama for wanted to have dialog with difficult leaders. That is why he is the front runner. Hillary Clinton is SO COLD WAR. So OLD SCHOOL WASHINGTON.

If this were Barack, or even McCain, but especially Barack, Hillary would have her chest puffed out and voicing her outrage over their unpreparedness for the presidency, foriegn relations, etc., in that tone of voice and pitch that only she reaches. She is a true blond parading in our country as if she had reached the pennacle of expertise in all matters. A disgusting amateur, who is so far is being permitted to publically pull off the biggest political fraud and heist in history.

That's exactly why iran should obtain any weapon that it can icluding atomic one.with savages like Bush and clinton that's the only deterrance.

This woman is scary. She sounds just like George Bush!!! This country has huge problems if this nut job is elected.

Ready from day 1 obviously...
Looks like 4 more years to me.

First Israel does not need US to defend herself. Has the most powerful army in middle east.They can obliterate Iran and they have claimed it already. So her comment was a blunder and unnecessary. What is scary is paranoia and assumption that Iran is planning to attack Israel. Who has decided that and then comes pre-emptive attack contrived by neo-con as they did for Iraq.

Hey Gustafson (and alikes):
You must have been watching John Wayne movie again. Besides, It will take you more than a year to figure out how to find Mecca on the map

Hillary is a fool. And a racist. And a liar. I'm ashamed she's been allowed to go this far tearing down the Democratic party, when far better candidates graciously bowed out. Shameless, naked power hunger. If she steals this nomination, god damn america will be a very good motto.

Muslims speak of peace while plotting to murder. Muslims worldwide are the enemy of the United States. Hillary's response was in support of those Americans who wish to survive this Muslim crusade to conquer the world. The same people who would attack Israel would hijack planes and attack the US. A nuclear response? Of course! A circle of eight-20 megaton nukes around the tallest minaret in Mecca during Ramadan should get their attention the same way they got ours on 9-11.

Let's see, they say, "Death to America" and Sen. Clinton says, "Obliterate..." Excuse me but if it is a choice between "Death to America" and "Obliterate," well someone has the courage to realize that the time for talk and half-measures has run out for certain scoundrels. My thoughts, "Nuke the B*st*rds!" They'd do no less to us if they had the chance. This way, there wouldn't be a need for GITMO and we'd have a lifetime supply of glass for manufacturing material. As Gen Schwarzkopf aptly said, "What do we do about Osama bin Laden?" And they
asked me, "Can we forgive him?" And I said, "Forgiveness
is up to God. I just hope we hurry up the meeting."

Is the American government so stupid that they cannot see that slowly but surely they are turning out to be the country to be in global isolation. The world is sick of American threats and bullish behaviour. When are they going to realise they are not the world police, that they are not a better race than the middle east and that they are simply a nation that is run by uneducated, uncultured war mungers. America has killed more people and civilians than any other country in the world but yet they seem to think their killings are for peaceful purposes. They couldnt be more further than the truth. Their killings are the dirtiest in the world as they kill for oil, resources and global domination. It was America that funded sadam hussein for years on end to wage a war on Iran in the 80's. It was America that created the Taliban in the 70's to fight the soviets. If America cares for the world why do they not interfere in militia wars that happen every day in Africa and South America, why do they not help remove mugabe from zimbabwe. I will tell you why - it is because there is nothing in it for them.
But we are starting to see a change - countries like china and india are fast developing. Their economies are strong and booming and the world is doing business with them whilst America's popularity is dropping day by day and we can all see what is happening with their economy. America it is time to stop bullying and respect other countries as we are all equals. It is up to the international community to decide when to take action and not solely yours. Please lets all just live in peace.

It is perfectly OK with me to obliterate Iran IF they obliterate our "ally".

The problem with the question and the answer is that it is reframing the reality.

The reality is that Israel, not Iran, is committing genocide in Palestine.

Our media and our politicians who cloud the reality of the Middle East with playing with hypothetical are accomplices in that genocide.

She knows how stupid her audiances are. Even though we are in deep trouble already in a war that we started based on lies, still the "audience" buys this kind of BS with no question asked.

Very disappointing indeed.

« | 1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »



About the Contributors