A Clinton is being scrutinized for possibly breaking the law today. Are we sure today isn’t back to the future day? Hillary’s email/Benghazi scandal is in the news yet again. I only have a few contrarian comments about this as it is frankly something I don’t really care about. Not because I don’t think she’s a criminal–I thought that long before the email scandal or Benghazi. Of course she’s a criminal that’s part of the job description. As you may know Hillary Clinton used a private email and server while she was secretary of state and had strictly confidential emails stored on this unsecured server. Many are hopeful that she can be prosecuted since they seemed to have failed to make any of the Benghazi charges stick.
A couple things may be said here. First, I am astounded (but not surprised) that what has infuriated republicans is not the fact that Hillary Clinton single-handedly started a war and created a failed state, but that she didn’t send in enough guns and two diplomats and two CIA contractors stationed at embassy compounds died. Second, don’t fall for the usually fear-mongering spread by people like Lindsay Graham and Mike Huckabee that “now we are all in danger!” Don’t confuse the state’s secrets with your safety. Personally I would be fine with all senators and state heads email being on a public access server for all to view. Hillary Clinton eventually admitted (in a hearing to Rand Paul) that she failed to respond to request for enhanced security but was not charged on any counts.
Many are confused and disillusioned that suddenly those in a place of power in the State apparatus don’t seem to be subject to the same scrutiny as average citizens. This is not a new phenomenon however. It is as old as the State. H.L. Mencken said in his day:
“This gang (‘the exploiters constituting the government’) is well-nigh immune to punishment. Its worst extortions, even when they are baldly for private profit, carry no certain penalties under our laws. Since the first days of the Republic, less than a few dozen of its members have been impeached, and only a few obscure understrappers have ever been put into prison. The number of men sitting at Atlanta and Leavenworth for revolting against the extortions of the government is always ten times as great as the number of government officials condemned for oppressing the taxpayers to their own gain.” (Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp. 147–48)
Nixon was pardoned by Ford. General Petraeus, who leaked classified information (you know, like Snowden and Manning), faced no jail time whatsoever and was given 2 years probation and $100K fine. Hillary of course is now responsible for the death of four Americans, hundreds of more Libyans, who knows how many droned weddings and hospitals, and violated state department policy and classified information laws but will not be charged.
What of crimes against the state? Only three parallel examples are needed. Consider Bradley Manning, an army intelligence analyst who (whatever you think of his personal lifestyle and choices) after witnessing the horror of places like Abu Ghraib (link not for the faint of heart) was responsible for the Wikileaks disclosure of more than three quarters of a million classified documents and state cables. Manning provided the most significant window into the workings of the military-industrial complex since the pentagon papers. It revealed no shortage or routine torture, secret detention sites, indefinite holding of known innocents, missile strikes on known civilians, and even corporate collusions with the state department in places like Haiti. Manning was charged and convicted under the espionage act which was signed into law by the progressive Woodrow Wilson during World War I, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison but currently faces indefinite solitary confinement. Similarly Edward Snowden when made aware the U.S.’s mass surveillance released scores of documents chronicle the NSA’s mass surveillance program. Snowden however was wise enough to leave town but still may be subject to extradition and mostly prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Even more fascinating than the these was the prosecution of NSA Senior Executive Thomas Drake (which eventually failed) and the three year sentence given to CIA officer John Kiriakou (see his interview with Scott Horton after he was released from prison). But Hillary lettin’ a few top secret classified documents slide, eh, no biggie. I certainly will not hold up Ross Ulbricht as a libertarian hero but his case is interesting. For those of you who don’t know Ross Ulbricht ran an encrypted electronic darknet website which people used to facilitate drug trades (though not necessarily for this purpose). For this victim-less crime, which was prosecuted not by someone hurt by his actions or website but by the state on society’s behalf, he was given two compounded life sentences without parole.
You see the one thing the State fears above all else “is any fundamental threat to its own power and its own existence.” This inherent function of the State to perpetuate its own existence, power, and claim to authority above all else is seen in the discrepancy of its justice system:
“We may test the hypothesis that the State is largely interested in protecting itself rather than its subjects by asking: which category of crimes does the State pursue and punish most intensely—those against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of private person or property, but dangers to its own contentment, for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, subversion and subversive conspiracy, assassination of rulers and such economic crimes against the State as counterfeiting its money or evasion of its income tax. Or compare the degree of zeal devoted to pursuing the man who assaults a policeman, with the attention that the State pays to the assault of an ordinary citizen. Yet, curiously, the State’s openly assigned priority to its own defense against the public strikes few people as inconsistent with its presumed raison d’etre.” (Anatomy of State, 45-46)
So yes Hillary is a war criminal just like her husband, but don’t hold your breath for her being prosecuted, you’ll pass out. The State does not exist to protect you, it exists for itself and the continuation of legitimacy and empire.
Rand Paul should stop even bringing up the emails, leave it alone on Benghazi, and focus on the fact that Hillary Clinton has never met a war she didn’t like. That the Democrats have voted for every one of Obama’s and Bush’s failed wars and interventions. That this was Hillary’s war in Libya and everyone on that GOP stage supported Obama and Hillary, they just wanted more guns and bombs dropped. They were the ones who went left of Paul and joined the Democrats. They created the failed state that is Libya, the now Al-Qaeda wonderland with ISIS members swimming in our embassy pool as just one more in a long list of failed interventions. Now they are ones who call with Obama that we need to take down Assad, the secular Baathist dictator in Syria. The one country actually fighting ISIS. That we need to support Al-Qaeda’s Syria faction, Jabhat al-Nusra, whose sworn loyal to Zawahri. It’s the GOP front runners who want to takeout the last remaining non-jihadist secular Baathist government in the middle east. It’s Cruz, Rubio, Bush, and Huckabee who agree with Obama and Hillary. They are ones who want big budgets, more spending, bigger departments, and bigger military bureaucracies.