Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

Insights navigation:

[ Insights ]

RSS feed

Don Williams comments

Hillary Provides Cover for Bush War Crimes
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   05/05/2008)

Should George W. Bush send missiles screaming across ancient Persian skies in coming weeks or months, he might well cite remarks by Hillary Clinton when justifying his latest crimes.

Listen. You can almost hear the serial explosions, and you can almost hear Bush offering this justification for the carnage: “Some of my severest critics have suggested we should totally obliterate Iran with massive retaliation if that country attacks Israel. Thanks to the brave American pilots and sailors who conducted last night's pre-emptive strike on Iran, that won't be necessary.”

Had Hillary set out to turn the Middle East to ash and send this planet's prospects spinning in reverse, she could hardly have done better than to speak glibly of obliterating Iran—a country that aided our war on Afghanistan, and one that's made overture after overture for better relations despite our constant meddling in its affairs going back many decades.

Why would Hillary threaten to “totally obliterate” 71 million people who have little or no control over the theocracy running their country? How can she countenance the murder of 20 million innocent children? Has she the common human capacity to imagine their big eyes and beating hearts? Their feet and hands and wondering minds? Would she send radiation burning through the hearts and bones of their beloved mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters? Is she indeed capable of sacrificing them on the altar of her personal ambition?

I'd like to think she misspoke, that she exaggerated in the heat of political debate last week when she told ABC's Good Morning America that she would “totally obliterate” Iran if that country attacked Israel. Unfortunately, she reiterated the threats over the weekend, telling reporters that “massive retaliation” would be the price Iran would pay.

Theodore Roosevelt once said speak softly and carry a big stick. The problem with speaking LOUDLY and carrying a big stick is that it inflames animal passions and exaggerates danger, providing cover for war mongers on all sides, and seldom has this country been manipulated by a more brutish merchant of war than Bush.

Is Hillary so clueless about his psychology and history that she'd grant him cover to bomb Iran?

Bush's presidency could be summed up in a phrase: “My finger in your eye.” So often the only motivation one can come up with for Bush's perverse actions is a cruel and ill-informed arrogance. I've often chronicled Dubya's systematic and pathological cruelty, starting as a boy who enjoyed stuffing firecrackers in frogs' mouths and setting them off. There's his record-setting performance as executioner-in-chief while governor of Texas, his attempt to grant waivers to allow the Navy to blast sonar that brings death and disorientation to migratory whales and so on.

Even after it became clear that Iraq was a horrible mistake, costing a thousand percent more in blood, treasure and time than Bush's experts predicted, he continued his death-dealing ways. Even as a lame duck, the temptation to escalate must loom. Last week Bush moved another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. That makes two. Between them they contain nearly unimaginable fire power. There they sit vibrating with hair-trigger tension in the world's most explosive powder keg. Contingency plans for bombing Iran long since have been drawn up. Bush long since fired CENTCOM commander, Adm. William Fallon, who opposed hostilities with Iran. Should Bush say Go, large portions of Iran could be “totally obliterated.” If that happens, Hillary will bear some responsibility.

Instead of helping Obama and Fallon and other war critics create the zeitgeist in which such a move would be unthinkable, Hillary is providing cover for such a move.

This is not news. She long ago voted to give Bush unlimited powers to make war on Iraq and to deal with Iran in any way he sees fit. She's yet to apologize for these votes. To be fair, Obama's statements on Iran have been mixed. He too suggested in the last debate that he'd leave all options on the table regarding Iran.

It didn't have to come to this. Hillary and Obama might've lifted the tone of that debate and international relations by pointing out that our own National Intelligence Estimate—the combined insight of 16 U.S. spy agencies concluded months ago that Iran's nuclear weapons program—such as it is—had been put in mothballs five years ago.

Still, Obama's remarks have been measured compared to Hillary's. His long-standing opposition to war and his history of supporting sane steps toward nuclear disarmament speak well. Hillary, on the other hand, has put millions of lives at risk by making whatever horrors Bush decides to unleash seem reasonable.

Has she forgotten the sad history of the quagmire in Iraq? How Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz and others lied us into a war that's resulted in graft, torture, kangaroo courts, Orwellian disinformation, millions of refugees, millions of casualties, and the prospect of misery without end?

Sadly, the answer appears to be yes. Given John McCain's “bomb-bomb Iran” refrain, that leaves Obama as the only voice even approaching sanity in the ongoing struggle for the hearts and minds of America and our world.