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Archive for September, 2009

It cannot hurt to join Stacy at the Secretary Clinton blog in addressing the hue and cry coming from the entertainment industry clamoring for none other than the Secretary of State of the United States to intervene on the part of Roman Polanski.

New York Magazine reports:

…on the topic of famous people coming out in full support of Polanski, it’s worth noting that almost 70 film luminaries — including David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Woody Allen (!) — have signed a petition demanding the immediate release of Polanski. [Guardian via Gawker]

As Stacy has pointed out, the Secretary is deeply involved at the moment with issues ranging from wars, to nuclear threats in the Middle East and Asia, to a crisis in Honduras all while flying back and forth between the ongoing UNGA in NYC and an array of high level meetings in DC scheduled over the next few weeks. And these celebrities would like her to … what? Drop everything and “rescue” Roman Polanski.

In light of the previous post here, Secretary Clinton’s Opening Remarks at Combatting Violence Against Girls Event, as well as the press release today from the State DepartmentSecretary Clinton to Chair UN Security Council Session on Women, Peace and Security in Armed Conflict I have to wonder what these performers are thinking. Hillary Clinton made it very clear last week, and over many years in the public spotlight whether as First Lady of Arkansas, of the United States, or as twice-elected Senator from New York, as well as in her current post, exactly where she stands on the issue of child sexual abuse – the crime of which Polanski stands accused. Nonetheless we get this nonsense from Debra Winger.

Debra Winger, who was a jury member at the Zurich Film Festival, where Polanski was to be honored, criticized Swiss officials for the “philistine collusion” that resulted in Polanski’s arrest there on Sunday. “This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited, and whenever this happens, the whole art world suffers. We hope today this latest (arrest) order will be dropped. It is based on a three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities. We stand by him and await his release and his next masterpiece.” [Awards Daily]

“Philistine collusion!” This is an oblique attempt by Ms. Winger at calling this arrest anti-Semitic against Polanski. As you know, the ancient Philistines are the modern Palestinians, and this is a cheap shot at alluding to the current Middle East situation and somehow confounding that with Polanski’s background (his parents died in the Holocaust) and situation. His background has nothing to do with why he was arrested.

“The whole art world suffers!” And who, may I ask, suffers when sex offenders are permitted to roam free? That IS his offense!  That the art world prefers the masterpieces of men who commit these crimes to payment for the crimes attests to the value system they hold to.   That these artists expect one Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State to speak up for such an offender defies logic.  They expect her to excuse herself from her chair at the Security Council where, among many topics concerning women and war she is certain to address rape of women and young girls as an instrument of war, in order to plea for the release of one who has committed just such a crime against a minor. Worse, they expect her to abandon, for the moment, her position on this issue.

One of the many things we love about our Homegirl is her consistency. She has always spoken up in favor of rape victims and prosecution of offenders. Why on earth would she make a 180º turn for such an offender? Oh, the logic!

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This is a must read/must see!


I want to call special attention to this speech. It brought me to tears. Those who missed what Hillary was doing in Africa should read this speech.
If you have never known what is at the heart of Hillary’s drive, this is it, and here she explains why. So for those who occupy themselves with gossip, with preoccupations about her wardrobe and her looks (both of which I find lovely), with her level of happiness in her new job (very happy), and the level of respect she gets from the White House (seems high to me), here is a speech that crystallizes the essence of Hillary Clinton. This is what she is about.
Event hosted by the Government of the Netherlands
New York City, NY
September 25, 2009

I want to start by saying something that I believe with all my heart, and, obviously, those of you who are here believe it also, that the issues related to girls and women are not an annex to the important business of the world and the United Nations, they’re not an add-on, they’re not an afterthought; they are truly at the core of what we are attempting to do under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is the guiding message of this organization and what each of us in our own countries is called to do on behalf of equal opportunity and social justice.
So for me, this is a tremendous opportunity to speak about an issue that has basically been relegated to the backwaters of the international agenda until relatively recently: violence against girls and women, and particularly today, violence against girls.
I wish that we could transport ourselves into a setting where we could be in the midst of girls and women who have been suffering from violence, but we don’t have to because it’s all around us. It is in the home, it is in the workplace, it is on the streets of many of the countries represented here, including my friends Maxine and Celso. And it is in the places that make the headlines from time to time, and then in the very bottom paragraphs, there’s a reference to the violence that is a tactic of war and intimidation and oppression to prevent girls from going to school by throwing acid in their faces, by raping girls as a way of intimidating them and keeping them subjugated and demonstrating power.
So this, for me, is one of the most important events that I’ve done at the UN. I worked this week with President Obama on our agenda, on everything from nonproliferation and the threats posed by Iran to the P-5+1, to the ongoing challenge of the Middle East, and so much else. But oftentimes, my press – I’ll only speak for the American press – will pose a question that goes something like this: “Why are you spending so much time on these issues that are less important or not as significant as the ones that are really at the heart of foreign policy?”
And I usually patiently explain, for about the millionth time, that this is the heart of foreign policy. Because after all, what are we doing? We’re trying to improve the lives of the people that we represent and the people who share this planet with us. And we do it through diplomacy, and we do it through development, and occasionally we have to do it through defense. But violence against any one of our fellow beings is intolerable. And when it is part of the cultural fabric of too many societies, when it is an assumption of the way things are supposed to be, then it is absolutely a cause for our action collectively.
As some of you know, I traveled to Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last month. I went to a refugee camp that is home to 18,000 people in a very small plot of land; in fact, land that is covered by lava from a volcanic eruption. And it was a stark reminder of a conflict that has left 5.4 million people dead since 1998. And walking through that refugee camp was, as I’ve often felt walking through camps in other places, both the best and the worst of humanity: the worst because of what drove these people to this extreme measure of fleeing their homes, leaving their fields, running from danger; and the best because of the international response.
But the people leading me through the camp – they had a man who was the president, a woman who was the vice president – were talking about what life was like day to day, because the camp provides no security. You are there, but if you venture out, as too many of the girls told me, for water or firewood, or literally just to breathe because you’re living arm-to-arm with thousands of other people, you put your life at risk. Something like 1,100 rapes are reported each month in the Eastern Congo; that’s an average of 36 women and girls raped every day.
I heard a lot of terrible stories. A 15-year-old girl who looked younger than her years, who was fetching water from the river, when two soldiers – she wasn’t sure who they were, were they irregulars, were they militias, were they the Congolese army. They were just soldiers who told her if she refused to give in to them they would kill her. They beat her, ripped her clothes off, and raped her.
I met one of the nine-year-old girls who was nabbed by two soldiers, who put a bag over her head, and raped her repeatedly in the bushes; and a woman who was eight months pregnant when she was attacked, and after being so brutalized and losing her baby, she was no longer accepted in her own home.
And then I met a woman who was about my age, who had four children and a husband. They were farmers from one of the small holding farms that so many of the world’s poor try to survive by. And she called them bandits. They took her husband out, shot him. Two of her children ran out to try to help their father, shot them, came into the house, shot the other two children all in front of her, and then repeatedly gang-raped her, left her for dead. And she told me she wished that she had died.
Well, these are the most extreme examples, but there are so many that we could point to. And since I believe that the progress of girls and women holds the key to sustainable prosperity and stability in the 21st century, this is a matter of great concern to me and to my country. When women are accorded their rights and accorded equal opportunities in education and healthcare and employment and political participation, they invest in their families, they lift them up, they contribute to their communities and their nations. When they are marginalized, when they are mistreated, when they are ignored, when they are demeaned, then progress is not possible, no matter how rich and well-educated the elite may appear.
The problem of violence against women and girls is particularly acute in conflict zones, but that’s not the only place we find it. The UN has done some excellent work in the last years in war-torn areas. And while boys are pressed into service as child soldiers and trained to kill, and often drugged to do so, girls are raped and often forced into becoming sex slaves. And this has happened to thousands and thousands of children. We also know that despite the best efforts of those of us in this room, all too often these acts of brutality and de-humanity do not just affect the individuals, they affect the fabric that weaves us together as human beings.
Next week, I will chair a Security Council session here in New York on the epidemic of sexual violence against women and girls in conflict zones. And the United States will introduce a resolution to strengthen our efforts to curb these atrocities and hold all those who commit them accountable. We will call for a special representative of the Secretary General to lead, coordinate, and advocate for efforts to end sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict.
But violence against women and girls happens everywhere. You have not only domestic violence, but female feticide, dowry-related murder, trafficking in women and girls. It’s quite alarming that even among well-educated people in some countries, the rate of selective abortion against girls is alarming. There are millions – some estimate as many as 100 million – missing girls. And they are missing because they’re either aborted or they are still subjected to infanticide or they are denied nutrition and healthcare and allowed to die in alarming numbers before the age of five.
In Thailand in the 1990s, I met girls who’d been sold into prostitution by their fathers, when they were as young as eight. And by the time they were 12, many of them were dying of AIDS. I drove around the area in northern Thailand, and one of the people with me said, “You can tell which homes have sold their girls, because they’re the ones with the satellites” and that there’s a lot of peer pressure; it would go satellite, satellite, then you’d have no satellites, and then satellite, satellite.
So we know these statistics. A third of all women will face gender-based violence at some point in their lifetime. In some parts of the world, the number is as high as 70 percent. The United Nations estimates that at least 5,000 so-called honor killings take place each year. Nearly 50 percent of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls aged 15 or younger. And more than 130 million girls and young women have been subject to genital mutilation.
All over the world, you find a higher value on male children, girls being coerced into early marriages, denied access to schools, adequate nutrition and healthcare, and enslaved in forced labor. And so there are many stories. We have two young women with us today, and we have many more who they represent.
The problem is that very often there is no legal action taken against those who perpetuate this violence, even when they are members of a nation-state’s armed forces. We are pressing the government of the DRC very hard to bring to justice five officers of the military who have been implicated in either these actions themselves or in a permissive environment for them.
And there are many young women who are standing up and who need our support. The story of Mukhtar Mai, a young woman who I’ve come to know, who was gang-raped in 2002 on the orders of her tribal council in rural Pakistan because of something her brother had done. She was forced to walk home naked in front her village, and she was expected to kill herself. I mean, that’s what you do. You get humiliated, you get shamed, you get attacked. It’s your fault, you go kill yourself. And the crime, the best we could determine, was her brother was seen walking with a girl from an upper caste village.
So what happened to her? She refused to kill herself, and she refused to hide, and she refused to give in to the cultural milieu in which this attack had taken place. And her case became something of an international cause. And people began asking: What can we do for her? They donated money. She built the first school in her village. She herself enrolled in that school. And now, because of the money that has come in since she was courageous enough to speak out, the school has an ambulance service, a school bus, a woman’s shelter, a legal clinic, and a telephone hotline.
Now, she’s a remarkable young woman, but she’s not alone. And what we need to do is support those who are standing up. I have a friend here, Molly Melching, whom I first met and worked with more than 10 years ago in Senegal, where she very deliberatively began to build community rejection of female genital mutilation by going from village to village and making it a health issue, making it an issue that the tribal elders and the imams began to recognize was not in keeping with their views of themselves or of Islam. And this is possible. It takes time, and we can’t, can’t give up.
So let me just end with a call to action from the leaders of many religious faiths who came together last year to advocate for an end to violence against women, and here’s what they said: Each of our faith traditions speaks to the fundamental value of all human life. Violence against women denies them their God-given dignity. We cannot afford to remain silent when so many of our women and girls suffer the brutality of violence with impunity.
So this meeting could not be more timely or important. Now, we’ve got to follow up. And hopefully, in UNGAs to come, we will fill larger and larger rooms. We will have people making commitments. I know the Dutch Government is very intent upon trying to make sure that action follows. And we can work with our friends not only from Brazil, but I see many of my other colleagues here today. And I hope that we will be the voices for those women who will never appear before the Security Council, they will never leave Goma, they will never leave rural Pakistan, they will never leave their village in Latin America or anywhere else, to come and plead their case before us. So it falls to us to make sure their voices are heard.
Thank you very much.

Cross-posted at A Rose For Hillary and Still4Hill

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Hill, Bill, and Spotlights

NYNY

NY, NY

The goal of The Department of Homegirl Security is to become obsolete and to be relegated to the archives of women’s history for girls of the future to view as a cautionary tale. Traffic on this blog is generated when there are new posts, and there are new posts, not according to some publication schedule, but as dictated by events and reports (stories) circulating in the media (the interwebs included). Ultimately it would be nice not to need new posts and to see the traffic dwindle to hits from high school and university students looking for the odds women battled during these,  our times. But while the fictions continue being woven, the combat continues. Todays post is a skirmish in the long war for truth in reporting about our Homegirl.

It’s a minor itch really, not a raging rash, but we feel it is incumbent upon us to counter a very brief but misleading post in no less an online publication than Madam Secretary, a blog that bills itself as, and I quote:

Madam Secretary is an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America’s top diplomat.

Well, maybe its that “gossip” factor that caused me to do a double-take at this header today when it came up on the feed: Bill stealing some of Hillary’s spotlight this week.

As I have said before in posts here, we respect and appreciate Preeti Aroon’s efforts and understand the generosity of her offer to continue the Madam Secretary blog while obviously under other obligations. But the header itself sets up a few false positives.

* That Hillary SEEKS the spotlight: She does not. As we have seen over these eight months, and for the prior eight years in the Senate, Hillary is about the work, the results, and NOT about the glory or the spotlight.

*That Bill DECIDED to hold the Clinton GLobal Initiative annual meeting while Hillary was in New York for the U. N. General Assembly: Nope. Bill does run the CGI during the same week as UNGA because the people who work with CGI are in town that week. But this is the FIFTH annual meeting. He has been doing it for the reason above for five years. He did not suddenly decide to run it this week because Hillary would be in town for UNGA.

* That Hillary came to UNGA and New York to make a splash: Never! She came here to work and has been working tirelessly all week. To see the breadth of her work this week, I refer you to A Rose for Hillary, Still4Hill, and Secretary Clinton blog, all dedicated to reporting, supporting, and celebrating her work.  It’s been exhausting even blogging about it.  It is a daunting schedule that she glides through like Sasha Cohen on her skates.

*That there is competition in the Clinton marriage:  This is the worst implication of that header because,  first and foremost, it’s their marriage and not our business.  But, in addition, you would have to be living on Jupiter not to have seen Bill on the talk show circuit since last week speaking with pride about her and her grasp of the huge job she has been executing.  If you have not seen the twinkle in his eyes when he says the words “Secretary of State” you have missed a betrayal of  love worthy of the poets.

Cutting Preeti some slack (which I seem to be doing more often than not), I will chalk this little post of hers up to a busy schedule for someone who does have to meet deadlines, and to a hand-off to her colleague, Josh Keating.  It’s the header, really, not the post itself that offends.  Sometimes hastes makes more than waste.  It can make for ugly rumors and fairy tales worthy of the brothers Grimm.

We have said it before here.  It bears repeating.  Hillary neither cares about nor requires a spotlight.  She carries her own light with her and shines on her own.  Save the spots for the ones in the dark corners.  Hillary is always out front and glowing.

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090918_ClintonBrookingsThis comes under the rubric of “How much plainer can she make it?” Seriously! First we note that Con Coughlin apparently missed out on Hillary’s  brilliant address at the Brookings Institute on Friday (see previous post) where she took a few moments to go off-topic and speak about the new missile defense plan. Now we have D K Jamaal of Examiner.com with his version of The Silent Hillary Lie: Why has Hillary stayed silent on Obama’s missile defense surrender to Russia? So, I repeat: She is not silent on this issue!

Back in June, at a town hall meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Hillary introduced the concept of a “defense umbrella” in the Middle East to protect that area from the potential nuclearization of Iran.  It caused a brief dust-up in the MSM since some interpreted her remark as implying the defense umbrella would be nuclear which she never said.  How odd, then,  that a few months later some do not recognize this new plan as Hillary’s Defense Umbrella.

Is it no longer incumbent upon journalists to research the material they write about?  How did Coughlin and Jamaal miss that speech at Brookings?   It is exceedingly  easy to find.  You see there is this website state.gov where video and text of Hillary’s speechs, press conferences, appearances, etc. are available.  It is not difficult to locate these sources of her actual words!

Well, it seems Hillary is aware that The Silent Hillary Lie is circulating, and to combat it she just published an op ed in the Financial TimesThe new system offers a real missile defence.  So Con, and D K and all of you who cannot seem to discover where her opinion on this is stated, there it is – translated into British English so as to make her points eminently clear in language you can understand.  (I love it when Hillary writes with a British accent!) I encourage you to follow the link, open a free account, and read the article. FT requests that we not cut and post to websites, so I shall respect that protocol. The point is, she is not silent. She is quite actively favoring this plan both orally and in print. And, BTW D K, America’s Iron Butterfly? Hmmmmmm. I need to think about that one, but my take from your article is that you actually do like her. I appreciate that. At this blog, we deal so often with those who do not. I wish you the best and hope Hillary’s explanation clarifies for you the wisdom of this new plan.

UPDATE: This op-ed has since been circulated on the webpage of The United States Mission to NATO as well as at Dipnote. That being the case, a full reprint is below.

Dipnote
A New Approach for Missile Defense
Posted by DipNote Bloggers on Sep 20, 2009 – 06:47 PM

Secretary Clinton’s op-ed, “The New System Offers a Real Missile Defense,” appeared in the Financial Times today. Secretary Clinton wrote:

Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama approved the recommendations of his entire national security team to deploy a stronger and more comprehensive missile defense system in Europe. This decision came after a lengthy and in-depth review of our assessment of the threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the technology that we have to confront it. And it is a decision that will leave America stronger, and more capable of defending our troops, our interests, and our allies.

With the president’s decision, we will deploy missile defense sooner than the previous program, so that we will be able swiftly to counter the threat posed by Iran’s short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

We will deploy missile defense that is more comprehensive than the previous program, with more interceptors in more places, and a better capacity to protect all of our friends and allies in the region. We will deploy technology that is actually proven so that we do not waste time or taxpayer money, and we will preserve the flexibility to adjust our approach to the threat as it evolves.

This is a stronger and smarter approach than the previous program. It does what missile defense is actually supposed to do – it defends America and our allies.

We are not “shelving” missile defense. We are enhancing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies. We are not walking away from our allies but are deploying a system that enhances allied security, advances our co-operation with Nato, and actually places more resources in more countries.

Two of those allies are Poland and the Czech Republic, and we deeply appreciate their willingness to host parts of the previously planned system. We will continue to co-operate closely with both nations and both will have the opportunity to be closely involved with missile defense. I want to underscore that we are bound together by our common commitment as Nato allies, and also by deep historical, economic, and cultural ties that will never be broken.

For 60 years, the Nato alliance has been a force for peace, prosperity and security in Europe and around the world because of the commitment to collective security embodied in Article V of its charter: An attack on one ally is an attack on all. An attack on London or Warsaw is an attack on New York or Washington. Nato demonstrated this commitment after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when for the first time, the alliance invoked Article V and Nato sent assets to the U.S. to help protect us from additional terrorist attacks.

Finally, let me reiterate what the president said last Wednesday: This decision was not about Russia; it was about Iran and the threat that its ballistic missile programmes continue to pose. And because of this decision, we will be in a far stronger position to deal with that threat, and to do so with technology that works.

While we pursue this new path, we will make clear our readiness to engage Iran and focus its leaders on a clear choice: whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation.

But the security of our allies and our forces cannot wait. That is why we are moving ahead with a new approach for missile defense.

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Before this goes viral as another toxic meme, DHS will put forth an effort to nip this in the bud.  Telegraph.co.uk published this nonsense by Con Coughlin today:  Where is Hillary Clinton in the great missile defence surrender? Well, Con, she is not exactly shrinking from making commentary as you imply!

As this AP article, Clinton counters critics of Obama missile defense, asserts,  Secretary Clinton views this plan as an improvement over the previous Bush Administration plan, and has said so at no less an open and transparent forum than the Brookings Institution as she outlined plans for U.S. participation in next week’s U.N. General Assembly.

Coughlin’s snide remarks, accompanied by an uncommonly unflattering photo of our lovely and very photogenic SOS is yet another fiction of the same warp and woof as previous fairy tales ascribing hesitation,  lack of initiative,  and silence to our Secretary of State when the opposite is true.  How dare he!

FYI, Coughlin, she is absolutely vocal on this issue, and as it happens, is in agreement with this new plan.  Your story is a lie.  Read her remarks at the Brookings Institution.  She has made herself very clear on this issue.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Brookings Institution
Washington, DC
September 18, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, it is a great delight to be back here at Brookings through that revolving door, which really does go both directions. I spoke with Strobe shortly after I was asked to take this job as Secretary of State and began thinking about who needed to be in this new Administration. And he ruefully said, “I know you’re going to decimate the place.” (Laughter.) I said, well, yes, we are, but that’s all part of the revolving door – people who go in and out of administrations, who do the work that is done here every day at Brookings, such high-quality work in many respects, visionary, as well as analytical. And I’m very grateful for this farm team that you have led so well for so many years and the opportunity to work with them now in this new capacity.

I also want to just say a word of personal appreciation to Strobe. As most of you know, he’s been a friend of my husband’s and mine, starting, of course, with my husband at Oxford and then shortly afterwards. And he and the wonderful Brooke were dear, dear friends over all of these years. And I’m pleased to look out and see Adrian and Devin, the next generation.

I also want to thank Martin Indyk and John Thornton for their leadership as well. And to all of the Diplomatic Corps, the ambassadors who are here with us today, I thank each and every one of you. I’ve had the opportunity to do bilateral meetings with most of you, with your foreign minister, or in some instance, the head of state. And I appreciate your being with us today. I also see some of the wonderful people who have joined the team at State and USAID who are here as well, and I express my appreciation to all of them.

I thank Brookings for this opportunity to join you on the eve of UNGA. It is a strange acronym. And it causes a lot of moaning and groaning in some circles. Henry Kissinger was famously critical of UNGA, and others have been expressing over the years their concern and disappointment with the United Nations. But I believe that at its best, the United Nations is not only a critical, central institution, but one in which the United States has a lot of equities. So I’m actually looking forward – now, it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s in New York, and I get to go home – but it is a personal as well as an official obligation that I am looking forward to.

Let me begin, though, by echoing the President’s statement yesterday concerning his approval of the recommendations not only of the Pentagon, but of his entire national security team to deploy a stronger and more comprehensive missile defense system in Europe. This decision came after a lengthy and in-depth review of our assessment of the threats posed, particularly the threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the technology that we have today, and what might be available in the future to confront it. We believe this is a decision that will leave America stronger, and more capable of defending our troops, our interests, and our allies.

Let me be clear about what this new system will do relative to the previous program, which was many years from being deployed. With the President’s decision, we will deploy missile defense sooner than the previous program. We will be able to swiftly counter the threat posed by Iran’s short and medium-range ballistic missiles. We will deploy missile defense that is more comprehensive than the previous program with more interceptors in more places and with a better capacity to protect all of our friends and allies in the region. We will deploy technology that is actually proven so that we do not waste time or taxpayer money. And we will preserve the flexibility to adjust our approach to the threat as the threat evolves.

So make no mistake – if you support missile defense, which I did as a senator for eight years, then this is a stronger and smarter approach than the previous program. It does what missile defense is actually supposed to do. It defends America and our allies. Now I know we’ve heard criticism of this plan from some quarters. But much of that criticism is not yet connected to the facts. We are not, quote, “shelving” missile defense. We are deploying missile defense sooner than the Bush Administration planned to do so. And we are deploying a more comprehensive system.

We are not reducing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies from Iran. By contrast, we are increasing that capacity and focusing it on our best understanding of Iran’s current capabilities. And most of all, we would never, never walk away from our allies. We have recommitted ourselves to our Article 5 obligations under NATO. We have sent that message in bilateral and multilateral settings from the President’s and my trips to every other encounter and venue that we have been in over the last many months. We are deploying a system that enhances the security of our NATO allies. It actually advances our cooperation with NATO. And it actually places more resources in more countries.

Two of our allies, Poland and the Czech Republic, were very willing to host parts of the previous planned system, and we deeply appreciate that. We will continue to cooperate closely with both nations, for instance, through rotation of a Patriot battery in Poland and close missile defense research and development with Czech companies. As we explore land-based interceptors going forward, we have made it clear that those two countries will be at the top of the list. And let me underscore that we are bound together by our common commitment as NATO allies and also by deep historical, economic and cultural ties that will never be broken.

Finally, let me reiterate what the President said yesterday. This decision was not about Russia. It was about Iran and the threat that its ballistic missile program poses. And because of this position, we believe we will be in a far stronger position to deal with that threat, and to do so with technology that works and a higher degree of confidence that what we pledge to do, we can actually deliver.

Here is the video.  I encourage you to watch the entire hour.  There is nothing hesitant, opaque, or shrinking about this Secretary of State. I see and hear confidence, knowledge, and brilliance as I always have. Hillary Rodham Clinton is unique, a phenomenon. She shines like the sun and blooms like a rose. The Homegirls love her!

Read the entire address here.

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KOREA-NORTH/CLINTONWhen, about a week and a half ago,  the story of a possible foiled attempt on our beloved Homegirl arose, many of us knew, but somehow, in the shock of the moment, perhaps forgot that active role the U.S. has played in combating terrorism in that region over a period of many years.   When this story broke on Monday,  US kills al-Qaida target in Somalia helicopter assault. it brought home dramatically the true situation that exists between our country and Somalia, with its fragile new government and terrorist strongholds hosting  modern-day pirates.

Today, among the press releases from Secretary Clinton’s State Department, was this:  Key Outcomes of 4th Plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia/  Hillary Clinton has done some tough talking about terrorism in Somalia and about the piracy that is home-based there.  She is not a neutral character to the terrorists.  She is part of the war – and a war is exactly what this is.

So IF there was an attempt on Hillary in Nairobi, in the context of the larger picture, it does not take a diploma from War College to know that, as in all wartime situations, discretion must be used by both the government and the press with regard to reportage.  Yes, yes, we embed press in combat, and they show you some amazing images of what happens on the battlefield.   My throat caught as I wrote that, remembering David Bloom.  But we never know the story that is withheld.  Routinely, sensitive stories are withheld by the press under military protocols in combat areas and war zones.

Given the nature of our involvement in Somalia, the possbility is that whether or not that story is true, releasing the story in some way interferes with special ops on a broader scope in Somalia.

At that, I will drop this issue.  We may never know the truth.  For me, under these circumstances, it is enough that our dear SOS came home healthy, happy, in one piece, and triumphant in her endeavors.  Knowing will not make me happier.  It could make me sadder.  I will not address this again unless the story receives official attention.

For me, for now, we have Hillary and she is superb.  I shall let the military do their job, and I’ll do mine, here: defending her against the lies.

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[September 14, 2009: This post has been redacted to remove speculative editorial material contained in the original post on September 13. The material removed was pure opinion, not fact, and not, I might add the opinion of this blogger. Because that opinion led to further, dangerous, unfounded speculation, it has been removed.
When Hillary and I were in our teens, the Beatles sang this:

I shoulda known better with a girl like you.

Well, I shoulda known better with a girl like Hillary! She is so passionate and inspires such passion that anything said about her has the potential of setting off a firestorm of speculation and rumors – exactly what I was attempting to combat in the first part of this post. The second part, however, while totally unconnected, seems to have engendered ideas of a nefarious scheme from quarters that are completely unrelated to the parties that have been arrested, and never were said to be related in any way.


Mea culpa! I have removed the offending passages and have learned: proximity breeds connection, contempt, and even more toxicity than that which I was trying to fend off!]

September 14, 2009: REVISED

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, (L) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands kick-off festivities celebrating the NY400 Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on September 8, 2009 in New York City. NY400 Week, which runs from September 8-13 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson�s arrival on a Dutch ship to New York harbor in 1609. New York will celebrate the event with Dutch festivals, boat races, dance parties, museum exhibitions and more.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, (L) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands kick-off festivities celebrating the NY400 Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on September 8, 2009 in New York City. NY400 Week, which runs from September 8-13 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson�s arrival on a Dutch ship to New York harbor in 1609. New York will celebrate the event with Dutch festivals, boat races, dance parties, museum exhibitions and more.

A week containing September 11 is bound to provoke emotions.  When it begins joyously, with our own Hillary Clinton home in New York to co-host the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor and to visit a charter school for an educational event, and ends on September 11 with our girl home yet again for both a 9/11 event and to pick up still another award, this time the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award, all seems perfect with the world on a sunny Sunday.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a My Education, My Future� event with students at the Manhattan Charter School September 8, 2009 in New York City. Students watched the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama at the event.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a 'My Education, My Future�' event with students at the Manhattan Charter School September 8, 2009 in New York City. Students watched the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama at the event.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Commemoration and Tribute at the Beacon Theatre in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Commemoration and Tribute at the Beacon Theatre in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009.

And all would be perfect had not yet another noxious meme arisen over the past week. We posted earlier about this, but since Stacy has taken this on at Blog Critics/Politics, we thought it might be a good idea, before the work week begins to reinforce the denial, from Hillary’s own spokesman, that she is unhappy at State and planning to run for Governor of New York. When I first saw that story, it was so far off that it was risible, but not everyone thought so. So, one more time I will say, please stop it! She lives here, true, and was here on Tuesday as well as Friday in her capacity as Secretary of State (hosting Dutch royalty, inaugurating the Day of Service and Remembrance) -she is not running for Governor OR for her old Senate seat. What an idea! I encourage you to read Stacy’s excellent article: The Fictional Rift Between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

While the toxic memes are annoying and obviously are getting under the skin of Hillary’s staff, far more disturbing is the story that will not quite show its face here in the U.S. but persists on the internet and in the foreign press:  the distressing report that a Somalian terrorist group tied to Al Quaeda came alarmingly close to an assassination attempt on  our Secretary of State in Nairobi last month.

The Homegirls pray and light candles.  Kenya was Hillary’s first stop on that two-week tour.  If this did happen, she soldiered on through the rest of the trip talking tough to perpetrators of ungodly deeds, hearing the stories of victims in dangerous locations, and reaching out to communities all over the continent with a dazzling smile and not a few tears, and she did so knowing what had nearly happened.  I tremble when I think about this – with rage and something that is close to, but thankfully not grief.

I want to stress a few things here:

1. This blog is, and always has been dedicated to Hillary Clinton and the issues and messages she puts forward.  It is not dedicated to, affiliated with, or in formal agreement with any political party or movement.

2. As a Hillary Clinton loyalist, this blogger countenances no positions that Hillary herself expressly rejects.  Should statements here conflict with opinions Hillary subsequently expresses, updates will reflect editorial corrections as is necessary and appropriate.

3. While readers are free to interpret and comment according to the tradition of a free internet and press, I respectfully request civility and a restraint from unnecessary accusations and from name-calling.

These rules will be permanently posted as such, and are subject to revision as required.

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