Militarization of the Mothers: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, from Mother’s Day for Peace
Coleen Rowley Posted: 05/14/2012 12:55 pm
(Author’s note: Perhaps it’s a good thing I was obviously too late in submitting this to run on Mother’s Day so as not to cast a pall over the sentimental celebration. But it’s not too late to think of next year! Given the notion that’s been ushered in of “endless war” and its daily taking of so many children’s lives, perhaps we need to proclaim every day to be Mother’s Day?! Yes, every day should be Mother’s Day….and Children’s Day, too! WAR….WeAre Responsible!!)
Recall that Mother’s Day was originated by Julia Ward Howe not to fill restaurants or boost the stock of Hallmark cards, but as an anti-militarism effort to further the cause of peace. In her 1870 Proclamation, Howe, after witnessing the suffering and horrors of the Civil War, laid the foundation for the theory that women as the more “tender” sex and better teachers of charity, mercy and patience, would naturally, if they gained power, put an end to the senselessness of wars.
Reading of Howe’s “Mother’s Day for Peace Proclamation” filmed by bravenewfoundation
142 years later, we see that the five most powerful women thus far in U.S. history (at a time when the United States has climbed to “military superpower” status in the world) are Madeleine Albright, Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power — all of whom are mothers (except Condi Rice), proving Howe’s theory completely wrong with their pronounced attitudes, actions and instigation of wars during the last two decades. The war-hawkishness (and some would add ruthless cruelty) of the first three female Secretaries of State and the two on Obama’s short list to become next Secretary of State (but who are already powerful, as advisors on Obama’s National Security Council, his UN Ambassador and chair of his new “humanitarian war” program) would probably make the founder of “Mothers Day for Peace” turn over in her grave.
In fact, defining aspects of these five most powerful women’s career stances and orientation towards military power jump out of their Wikipedia bios to vie with Henry Kissinger’s cold calculated Machiavellianism. (If you already know their backgrounds, you can skip the following brief highlights.)
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Although Albright would probably prefer to be remembered for her grandiose plan and statements about bringing democracy to other countries, her real legacy will probably lie in her unguarded response as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations made on 60 Minutes in 1996:
Albright defended UN sanctions against Iraq in which Lesley Stahl asked her, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright replied, “we think the price is worth it.” Albright later criticized Stahl’s segment as “amount[ing] to Iraqi propaganda”; complained it was a loaded question; wrote “I had fallen into a trap and said something I did not mean”; and regretted coming “across as cold-blooded and cruel”.
But the 60 Minutes interview won an Emmy. Albright later took office in 1997 as the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government, where she supported the US-NATO bombing campaign in the Balkans. According to Albright’s memoirs, she once argued with Colin Powell for the use of military force by asking, “What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?”Condoleezza Rice
A much better summary of Condi’s life and career can be gained — thanks to the first-hand accounts of people who knew her and through her many well-known, solid biographers in this fascinating (87 minute) documentary: American Faust: From Condi to Neo Condi by Sebastian Doggart.
What will people remember most about Condi Rice? If it’s not the visual of the impeccably coiffed and tailored business suit sinisterly threatening a “mushroom cloud” which she used to help George Bush “catapult the propaganda” for war on Iraq, it may be the key role she played in ordering torture even before John Yoo attempted to fully “legalize” it. There is probably some psychological significance in the fact that Condi Rice, the woman who gave up marriage and children to climb the ladder, reportedly used the words: “It’s your baby, go do it” to convey approval to CIA Director George Tenet in July 2002 from the Bush White House Principals (the group that formulated and authorized torture tactics) to go ahead and conduct water-boarding on certain captured suspects. Condi’s “baby” thus became torture.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Among her consistently pro-war stances, Senator Hillary Clinton voted to give George Bush the power to launch war on Iraq when she knew that country posed no threat to the U.S. and had no tie to 9-11 or WMD.
As Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton jumped into the formidable task of using the “Arab Spring” to back some US-friendly dictators while supporting protesters against other regimes the U.S. did not like. She joined Samantha Power and Susan Rice and pulled off an amazing power play. The “three harpies” (as one commentator named them) overcame internal opposition to US military intervention in Libya from three higher positioned men: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, security advisor Thomas Donilon, and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, and ended up playing key roles in support of the US-NATO massive bombing of Libya in 2011. Hillary Clinton used U.S. allies as “convening power” to strengthen the Libyan rebels as they eventually overturned the Gaddafi regime.
After Gaddafi was brutally tortured, killed and his body put on display, Hillary laughed in triumph, “We came, we saw, he died.”
Excerpted straight from Wikipedia:
In her first year serving as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on Clinton’s National Security Council), at the time of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Susan Rice reportedly said, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”…Rice supported the multinational force that invaded Zaire from Rwanda in 1996 and overthrew dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, saying privately that “Anything’s better than Mobutu.” Others criticized the U.S. complicity in the violation of the Congo’s borders as destabilizing and dangerous… On December 1, 2008, Rice was nominated by President-elect Obama to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a position which he also upgraded to cabinet level.Rice is the second youngest and first African American woman US Representative to the UN. .. In light of the 2011 Libyan civil war, Ambassador Rice gave a statement following a White House meeting with President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the United States increased pressure on the Libyan leader to give up power. Rice made clear that the United States and the international community saw only one choice for Gaddafi and his aides: step down from power or face significant consequences. .. On 17 March 2011 Rice voted for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which sanctioned a Libyan no-fly zone… Rice and Clinton played major roles in getting the Security Council to approve this resolution; Clinton said that same day that establishing a no-fly zone over Libya would require the bombing of air defenses…On March 29, 2011, Rice said that the Obama administration had not ruled out arming the rebels fighting to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America program, Rice said there was no indication that Gaddafi was prepared to leave power without continued pressure from the International community. Referring to reports that members of Gaddafi’s inner circle were reaching out to the West, she said: “We will be more persuaded by actions rather than prospects or feelers. … The message for Gaddafi and those closest to him is that history is not on their side. Time is not on their side. The pressure is mounting.” In January 2012 after the Russian and Chinese veto of a UNSC resolution, Rice strongly condemned both countries for vetoing a resolution calling on (Syria’s ruler) Bashar al-Assad to step down. “They put a stake in the heart of efforts to resolve this conflict peacefully,” Rice said on CNN. “The tragedy is for the people of Syria. We the United States are standing with the people of Syria. Russia and China are obviously with Assad.” She added that “Russia and China will, I think, come to regret this action”. “They have … by their veto dramatically increased the risk of greater violence, and you’ve seen manifestations of that.” In her words, “the United States is disgusted that a couple of members of this Council continue to prevent us from fulfilling our sole purpose.”
(Photo Image from The 46)
Samantha Power is aptly named. As Special Assistant to President Obama running the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the President’s National Security Council, she is the architect of the concept of “humanitarian war” and of the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” which she recently parlayed into being named the new chair of Obama’s “Atrocity Prevention Board”. Power got her start as a journalist in the Yugoslav Wars, lamenting that US-NATO bombing did not begin sooner. She became a fan of General Wesley Clark and worked on his subsequent presidential bid. Afterward she became a “foreign policy fellow” for US Senator Obama and continued to work for his presidential campaign for a time as his senior foreign policy advisor. Power is a fan of US military intervention and General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency manual. See Chase Madar’s prescient (2009) description of “Samantha Power and the Weaponization of Human Rights“:
Power’s faith in the therapeutic possibilities of military force was formed by her experience as a correspondent in the Balkans, whose wars throughout the ’90s she seems to view as the alpha and omega of ethnic conflict, indeed of all genocide. For her, NATO’s bombing of Belgrade in 1999 was a stunning success that “likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives” in Kosovo. Yet this assertion seems to crumble a little more each year: estimates of the number of Kosovars slain by the province’s Serb minority have shrunk from 100,000 to at most 5,000. And it is far from clear whether NATO’s air strikes prevented more killing or intensified the bloodshed. Even so, it is the NATO attack on Belgrade–including civilian targets, which Amnesty International has recently, belatedly, deemed a war crime–that informs Power’s belief that the U.S. military possesses nearly unlimited capability to save civilians by means of aerial bombardment, and all we need is the courage to launch the sorties.