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Calling Out the Clintons
Published on Thursday, November 10, 2005 by
Calling Out the Clintons
by David Michael Green

This week marks the 11th Presidential Conference to be held at Hofstra University, this one examining the presidency of Bill Clinton. The former president will be in attendance today, offering what is billed as a major policy address, and his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, is expected also.

Members of the Hofstra Community are pleased to welcome the former president and first lady, but are also especially grateful for the opportunity the conference presents to express to them our deep disappointment at their silence concerning the tragic and disastrous war in Iraq. As the two leading figures of the Democratic Party, we believe they have a moral responsibility to tell the truth - a truth which Americans already comprehend - about this abomination which continues to gravely wound both America and Iraq more each day.

Silence is complicity, and we call on these two most widely influential Americans to save lives, as well as the reputation and welfare of our country and Iraq, by speaking out on this travesty.

To this end, we have drafted the letter reprinted below, which will be presented to the former president, handed out to audiences at the conference, and read aloud - along with the names of fallen soldiers - for the public and the press.

Our hope is that it will move two of America's most visible leaders to actually lead on the critical question of our day.

November 10, 2005

The Honorable Bill Clinton
Former President of the United States


The Honorable Hillary Clinton
United States Senator for the State of New York
Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York

Dear President and Senator Clinton:

Welcome to Hofstra University. We are pleased by your presence here.

We write to you today because of the conjunction of two indisputable facts.

The first is this: The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Iraq by the United States is one of the greatest crimes in recent history, and one of the most destructive policies imaginable for both America's reputation and its security.

The other is simply that you two are by far and away the most broadly recognized leaders of America's nominal opposition party.

We, the undersigned, believe the Democratic Party has a moral obligation to stand firm in opposition to the reckless and destructive policies of the Bush administration in Iraq. And, since you are the face of that party, we believe you have the obligation to articulate that opposition on behalf of Democrats and patriotic Americans of all political persuasions.

We therefore call upon you to meet your moral obligations to a country which has so warmly embraced and so greatly entrusted you, to make a clear and unequivocal statement of opposition to the madness of George Bush's adventure in Iraq, and to do so now, before even greater damage can be done to that country and to ours.

Americans are dying by the thousands in Iraq. Iraqi civilians are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands. America, once a beacon of human rights ideals in a hard and cold world, descends today into a moral bankruptcy which matches its fiscal condition, both caused in large part by this war based on deceit.

Polls show that most Americans now understand the utter foolishness of this foreign policy tragedy, and yet most politicians remain silent while the carnage continues and magnifies in scope. It is time for our political leadership to become just that.

America stands today teetering upon a precipice perhaps as grave as any since 1865. We believe you understand this better than anyone, having been haunted for over a decade by the dark forces of the radical right, who seek to destroy this country while hiding behind a mask of piety and patriotism.

We implore you now to call forth from yourselves the courage, patriotism and leadership America so sorely needs at this grave moment, and to lead us away from the abyss, before it is too late.

The Iraq war is a tragedy and a disaster. It must end now, and - with the exception of one man in the Oval Office - no other Americans have a greater capacity to hasten that outcome than do you.

Will history record that you answered America's call in its time of need?

In the name of those whose personal tragedies will add new layers to the existing mountain of suffering and destruction should you fail to act, we hope that it will.


Concerned Members of the Hofstra Community.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.


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