THE BLOG
05/01/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

On Obliterating Iran

Hillary's "obliterate Iran" comment actually kept me up last night. Surely this represents a new low, even down here in the gutter Clinton is trying to claw her way out of. The ugliness of the Clinton campaign is now to the point where it is damaging not only Obama, the Democratic Party, and Clinton herself. This comment will have an impact on the view of America all over the world, and even possibly on the course of world events.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," she said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." - Hillary on ABC on Tuesday

Today's news quiz:
1. When was the last time you heard an American political figure talk about obliterating another country?
2. When was the last time you heard any political leader in the world talk about obliterating another country?

What did you get for #1? I would be interested to hear your answer in a comment to this post. For #2, I get Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Many voices in American politics responded by saying that Ahmadinejad should be ostracized from the community of responsible world leadership (sic), and that such statements coming from a head of state place a country in the category of "rogue state."

What ensued in the Middle East was a debate about whether Ahmadinejad's comment had been mistranslated. What precisely did it mean to wipe Israel off the map? Did it mean ending the particular Constitution of Israel as a state which constitutionally raises Jews to be first class citizens and others to be second class? Or did it mean killing every last Jew in Israel? Or something else? In my view, Jews in Israel may be forgiven if they find such splitting of hairs to be offensive.

So, what precisely did Clinton mean when she said, "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran... We would be able to totally obliterate them"?

Obliterate: a: to remove utterly from recognition or memory. b: to remove from existence : destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of.

Does she mean annihilating Iranian military capability? Or killing every last Iranian in Iran? In my view, Iranians in Iran may be forgiven if they find such splitting of hairs to be offensive.

The fact of the matter is that both Ahmadinejad and Clinton made their incendiary statements for calculated domestic electoral advantage. (Many Americans don't realize that the Iranian president is elected too.) In Clinton's case, she was hoping that her statement might add a half a percentage point or so to her total in a single state in a primary election.

There you have it. Clinton lobbed a time bomb into the Middle East tinderbox, on the off chance that it might win her a half a percentage point or so to her total in a single state in a primary election.

This from a candidate whose mantra for months has been that she, as opposed to her opponent, is experienced in world affairs and is ready to be Commander-in-Chief from day one.