Hillary Clinton To Libyan War Critics: Whose Side Are You On?

This excerpt from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s press availability earlier this week with the Jamaican Foreign Minister and the St. Kitts and Nevis Deputy Prime Minister is, in all honestly, simply astounding:

QUESTION: It’s a good subject for the floor. (Laughter.) We’ve entered a situation in Libya that looks increasingly quagmire-like. And it’s starting to create a political headache for the Administration with Republican leaders arguing that the actions were inappropriate in the sense that they circumvented congressional approval for them. What is the – your vision for the endgame, a medium-term plan for U.S. involvement in Libya? And what do you make of House Speaker Boehner’s remarks?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, I am going to be testifying tomorrow at great length, probably longer than anyone cares to listen about all of these issues – Brad’s question, your question I’m sure will be fodder for the testimony. But I have to take issue with your underlying premise. I think that there is very clear progress being made in the organization and the operational ability of the opposition, the Transitional National Council, the military efforts on the ground. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that Qadhafi and the people around him have their backs against the wall. The kind of support that we saw forthcoming for the Libyan opposition at the recent Libyan Contact Group meeting in Abu Dhabi was very heartening. Money is flowing, other support is available.

So I know we live in a hyper-information-centric world right now, and March seems like it’s a decade ago, but by my calendar, it’s only months. And in those months, we have seen an international coalition come together unprecedented between not only NATO, but Arab nations, the Arab League, and the United Nations. This is something that I don’t think anyone could have predicted, but it is a very strong signal as to what the world expects to have happen, and I say with all respect that the Congress is certainly free to raise any questions or objections, and I’m sure I will hear that tomorrow when I testify.

But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qadhafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama Administration, the answer to that question is very easy.

In other words, disagree with me and you support Qaddaffi. It sounds strikingly similar to the things that were said by Republicans to critics of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy and other aspects of the War on Terror, which once prompted this impassioned response from then-Senator Clinton:

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic, and we should stand up and say, ‘WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO DEBATE AND DISAGREE WITH ANY ADMINISTRATION!’ “

Suggesting that people who question the Administration’s policy in Libya are on Qaddaffi’s side is the same as saying that the people who questioned the Iraq War were on Saddam Hussein’s side. It’s wrong, it’s a cheap shot, and it’s the kind of thing that an Administration that is slowly beginning to realize that the quick war they promised us has slipped through their fingers. Madame Secretary, you should be ashamed of yourself


FILED UNDER: Congress, Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Idiot says:

    This made me smile….. It comes around so fast.

  2. Franklin says:

    A perfect demonstration of hypocrisy.

  3. John Peabody says:

    Ms. Clinton is smart; it’s not as if she doesn’t know this clip exists. No, she’s perfectly comfortable with the hyprocrisy. Isn’t that the scary point?

  4. CB says:

    power is a great thing, if you can get it

  5. Mad Hatter: Everybody! SWITCH PLACES!!

  6. Joe Beese says:

    No, she’s perfectly comfortable with the hyprocrisy.

    “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel next week to Hungary and Lithuania as part of a tour focused on promoting human rights and democracy, the State Department said Friday.”

  7. David K. says:

    As an Obama supporter this statement by Clinton absolutely pisses me off and is completely unacceptable. Although I think there is merit to the debate about whether or current involvement in Libya does or does not require congressional approval, disagreement on that issue does not, can not be blanket qualified as support for Qaddafi and his regime. Shame on Secretary Clinton.