Posts Tagged ‘David Miliband’

Since this blog is about homegirls (and boys) and security,  I think it is appropriate to share here a brilliant analysis  by Karen Finney at The Hill exposing costs of war that fall through the cracks in budget proposals.

This is the real cost, and it is incumbent upon all of us to consider deeply how secure continued operations and deployments keep us and whether current levels are worth these  costs .   Equally important is our encouragement to legislators to be certain these costs are covered in current and future budgets.  Not worth merely a read, worth sharing every way you know how.  Homegirl Karen hit a home run with this one!

By Karen Finney
– 03/19/12 06:14 PM ET

We may never know all of the factors that led an American soldier to allegedly murder 16 people in Afghanistan. The more we do learn, the more it seems there were signs of the toll that repeated deployments, an injury and the stress of his situation back home were taking. None of that excuses what the soldier reportedly did. However, given the number of Americans who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who could be facing similar stressors, we have a responsibility to better understand and factor in these human costs in any conversations about the way forward — particularly for the benefit of the 40 percent of U.S. citizens who still believe the war is worth the costs.

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Edited to add:

This is  more than an op-ed in a column.  In a comment in the thread below I called it a treatise.  Karen Finney may well be the 21st century Thomas Paine for women and others.  Looking at this text again, I see it as the basis of a doctrine,  the Finney Budgetary Doctrine.  This is very important information that Karen has compiled, and the implications are enormous and look far down the road.   That is where we all should be looking.

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Ohhh! So as Secretary Clinton prepares to take off for Montevideo and other parts south, THIS raises its ugly head once again. The blame, for now,   is being laid on Obama, but Hillary will be the one taking the flak to be sure.  This is certain to end up in her pretty hands.

In a February 25 blog post at CDR Salamander:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You can’t vote “present” to history ….

It can only be his personal antimosity towards the British that we have seen over an over that can explain this – especially when the British spent the better part of a decade backing our play.It was a headline I never expected to read: “US refuses to endorse British sovereignty in Falklands oil dispute.” Washington has declined to back Britain in its dispute with Argentina over drilling rights in the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. President Obama’s position is one of strict neutrality, refusing to take sides. According to the State Department:

We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality. The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.

Salamander goes on to quote Toby Young in this Telegraph article: Et tu, Barack? America betrays Britain in her hour of need

Her hour of need?  What is this?  The Battle of Britain? We have always been there in Britain’s hour of need. I actually was out of the country the last time this sovereignty issue exploded into battle. One Haitian radio station spent the entire war playing Argentine tangos, milongas, and the Wolfe Tones of Ireland singing their tribute to countryman Guillermo Brown, founder of the Argentine Navy. It just seemed natural for the Irish to back Argentina against Britain on this issue.   For anyone who does not remember this war, here is a concise history of the events: The Falklands War.

Now maybe the U.K. is still smarting from Obama ousting Churchill from the Oval Office, but this administration is hardly inimical to the U.K.  Secretary Clinton has gone so far out of her way to be cordial to P.M. Brown and the U.K. Foreign Minister David Miliband that there actually has been speculation of flirtation and crushing.

Now, based on our close friendship and history, the U.K. wants us on their side.  Well, here is how it went down the first time:  We did remain neutral in the beginning,  and the late Secretary of State Alexander Haig did his level best from a neutral position to negotiate between the parties, but the diplomatic approach failed.   Reagan agreed to provide limited military assistance to his dear friend Maggie Thatcher.  The British prevailed, and the Argentines rose up against the military junta, the president of Argentina resigned sounding the death knell of the junta and  opening the door to resumed democratic elections.

I suppose history could repeat itself.  I suppose our Homegirl-in-Chief could follow the Haig route and shuttle back and forth between BA and London.  Just guessing, but it is probable that her charm goes a little further with David and Gordon than with Cristina Kirchner who is somewhat pissed with us also for not taking their side.   But assistant Secretary Valenzuela was pretty terse and clear at the briefing: “We will not be discussing the Falklands issue with them. This is a matter for Argentina and for Britain. And it’s not a matter for the United States to make a judgment on.”

Personally, I agree with neutrality on this.  I do not think we should be taking sides in a dispute between our friends, and we badly need friends in The Cone.  Badly!

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Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is our third female Secretary of State, the first ever to have been a First Lady, a U.S.Senator, and a strong Presidential candidate prior to taking command at Foggy Bottom.  She swept in with a new arsenal of diplomatic tools she dubbed “smart power” and included Special Envoys to critical regions, purposeful outreach to populations in countries she visits, including TV and radio interviews, “Townterviews,” visits to venues like markets, schools, factories, and, in dealing with her ministerial hosts and visitors, flirting.  Now Maddie Albright was something of a flirt as SOS (Condi was not), but no one has used this particular diplomatic instrument quite as effectively (or entertainingly) as our current top diplomat.

Her clumsy primary campaign managers thought, it seemed, that de-sexing her was a necessity in order make her seem presidential.  They did not exactly succeed, but now that she is out of that arena, she is clearly all re-sexed up.  She flirts openly and unabashedly, is extremely good at it, and uses it to great diplomatic advantage.  It was bound to gain notice, and it has with the advance internet posting of Jonathan Van Meter’s very nice article about her in the December issue of Vogue magazine.  Here is the passage that has caused a volcanic eruption of gossipy feeds  across the interwebs.

I was also happy to see her taking delight in a favorite new colleague, David Miliband, the tall and dashing 44-year-old British foreign secretary. When I mentioned to her over lunch that I had spoken with him, she lit up. “Oh, my God!” I joked that I got a crush over the phone in about five seconds partly because of his accent, and she said, “Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He’s really a good guy. And he’s so young!”

For his part, Miliband seems smitten, too. “She applies intellect but also psychology to the dossiers that she’s studying. She uses her experience in a very impressive way. She brings it to bear in a way that enriches a conversation but doesn’t swamp it. She learns from history without being trapped by it. I think it’s also important to say that she’s delightful to deal with one on one. She’s someone who laughs and can tease, and she’s got perspective as well.”

You have noted, of course, that it was Jonathan and not Hillary who claimed to have a crush. Hillary, for her part, encourages his crush, fans the flames with additional information, but she does not say she has a crush.  I am not saying she does not, but she did not say she did, so let’s get that straight right.  What I like about this little conversation is that Jonathan felt so comfortable saying that to Hillary.   It validates what I said back on June 3 (Sit! Stay! Under the Porch!) when Hillary not only preempted the POTUS with her Gay Pride Month message, but put her money where her mouth was (having charmed  extra bucks from Congress for her 2010 budget)  and came back to the issue raised in February regarding benefits for domestic partners of State Department employees with an affirmative response.  Essentially she said that they had looked into it, and yes, they could and would do it.  That was Hillary, following through.

At the time, I began seeing passionate love tweets about Hillary on Twitter and the tweeters were all young, handsome guys.  Until I followed a link,  I did not really catch it.  They were young gay guys loving Hillary for according recognition of their right to be equal.  On one site, I saw some expressions of regret for not having supported her since her actions were speaking volumes that words never could.

Well, back to Jonathan and his “crush,”  and I am only guessing here,  he called David Miliband to get some background for the article,  and that made sense.   David and Hillary obviously have a great rapport,  and David speaks English.  I have the impression that Hillary’s reaction was about the idea that Jonathan would go so far as to contact the U.K. Foreign Minister for a story about her.   It took the romantic turn because of Jonathan’s remark.

Now all that having been said, has Hillary flirted with David?  Of course!  I don’t think there is a male head of state or foreign minister with whom she has not flirted.  It’s one of her big guns.  It is why he said she’s a tease.  Quite frankly, after fighting off such dark shadowy Tales from the Darkside as I have for months on this blog, I find this little flurry of light gossip a relief.   Hillary in the news for being sexy?  Yeah, I can deal with that.  When was the last time a Secretary if State kept you this entertained?

Oh the world problems are still there,  and they are serious,  and she has to deal with them, but sometimes you just need to flip to the Lifetime Channel for an afternoon.  It gives everything perspective.

Does Hillary have a crush?  I don’t really think so.  Does she flirt? Whoa!  Does she!

Here are a few versions of the “crush” story.  No, I am not perpetrating it.  You have seen more of these than I.

Hillary Clinton’s Lighter Side

‘Tease’ Hillary Clinton gushes over ‘crush’ on British Foreign Minister

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The Tamil point of view which never was represented in the comments are is represented in this article:

Hillary Clinton Does Not Mince Words


US responds to Sri Lanka protest over Clinton remark
2009-10-05 01:25:00

The United States, responding to protests from Sri Lanka over remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said it had no recent evidence of women being raped while in Sri Lankan government custody.

In a letter addressed to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama, the State Department noted that the US government and international human rights groups over the years had detailed “numerous cases of rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka, particularly acts committed against women held in detention by the government.”

However, the letter signed by Melanne Verveer, ambassador at large for global women’s issues at the State Department said that “in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 … we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict area around the world.”

“We hope that this clarification puts the issue in its proper context,” the letter said, adding that Washington remains concerned about extrajudicial killings, disappearances and detainee abuse in Sri Lanka.

“Secretary Clinton believes that Sri Lanka must focus to the future and move forward on the promotion of peace and the protection of human rights,” the letter said.

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Well, I don’t know whether that makes things all better, but where this goes on, Hillary will call it!

Ever since early February, when, just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary joined U.K. Foreign Minister, David Miliband in calling for a halt to human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, both Miliband and Hillary have come under attack by that government as well as by the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Clinton-Miliband joint statement of February 3, 2009 is below:

Earlier today at a meeting, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband discussed their serious concern about deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They affirmed their insistence on a political resolution to this longstanding conflict. The time to resume political discussions is now and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government, and the UN to facilitate such a process.

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call on both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to agree to a temporary no-fire period. Both sides need to allow civilians and wounded to leave the conflict area and to grant access for humanitarian agencies.

We welcome today’s statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly expressing their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. We join the Co-Chairs and call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the safe zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. We also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect the international law of armed conflict.

The picture in this Madam Secretary blog post  WANTED: Clinton, for aiding terrorism, most disturbingly hammers home the level of vitriol with which the Clinton-Miliband team is viewed in Sri Lanka.

Again in early May, they spoke up together calling for an end to the conflict.

Indeed, in late May, the government forces finally did overcome the LTTE forces and a quarter century of conflict came to an end, but as in so many cases of civil conflict,  the human rights issues did not cease with the ceasefire.   Camps for the displaced and victims of the war are essentially holding areas where innocent civilians and combatant LTTE are intermingled.  As the camps filled  in late May,  UNICEF called for a quick screening by the government to identify those who are true victims and had no part in the conflict so that they might receive the humanitarian aid they required.

As we all know,  our indomitable Homegirl acted as President and Chair of the U.N. Security Council this past Wednesday putting forth the U.N. Resolution on Violence Against Women and Girls which was adopted with no objections.  The full transcript and text is at the link above. Part of what Council President Hillary Clinton (typing that felt so good!) said is below.

Council President HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State of the United States, speaking in her national capacity, said: “We are here to address an issue that has received too little attention, not only in the Council but also by all Governments around the world.” That issue went to the core of protecting the safety of citizens in all countries. It also went to the responsibility under the United Nations Charter to protect the lives of all, including women. That responsibility was particularly acute in circumstances where peace was challenged.

Noting that women and children were often the victims in wars for which they bore no responsibility, she said the resolution just adopted was a step towards protecting women in conflict zones. It built on resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008). Violence against women and girls during conflict had not diminished, in fact, in some cases it had escalated. The use of rape as a tactic of war had been used in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka and elsewhere and the perpetrators were not being punished. That impunity encouraged further attacks. In Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which she had visited, and where thousands of cases of rape were being reported, she had met the victims. The toll on them, their family and society could not be quantified. “It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings.” It also undermined economic progress.

There is nothing particularly anti-Sri Lanka in that statement as I read it.  It is a simple statement of the fact in the context, as Hillary always puts such acts, of the need for the government to seek out and punish the guilty – on both sides of the conflict.  It seems, however, that the government of Sri Lanka has taken exception to her remark.  On my Hillary news feed today, this article popped up: Sri Lanka Protest Clinton’s Rape Remark.

Well, it seems you just cannot please everybody.  The North Koreans made remarks about her which, if comically cryptic and contradictory, were meant to insult (she laughed).  Last week on Larry King, Hugo Chavez was equally complimentary: “Hillary Clinton is lost. America should be concerned about that.”  And now The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka continues  its  attacks on our Homegirl.

Hillary Clinton  picks her fights and issues.  Last week represented a milestone in Hillary’s career-long battle for the rights of women and girls.  That men and military regimes will not necessarily agree with her positions is a no-brainer.  But, like Joan of Arc or SuperWoman, she will continue her fight.   If these guys despise her, we love her all the more.  I don’t think the Homegirls need to worry about Hillary going on a trip to Colombo any time soon.

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