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Clinton's "Obliteration" Remark is Genocidal, Requires Apology

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Senator Clinton should apologize for using a genocidal term during her campaign. Her recent remark-- stating that if Iranians were to launch a nuclear attack against Israel, the United States would be able to obliterate Iran -- is out of the line, politically inappropriate, and reflects a hawkish approach toward foreign policy.

Even neoconservative warmongers who have been saber rattling with Iran over the past 8 years have never used such a term. If the media were not distracted by Rev. Wright's controversial remarks, this comment would cause a huge backlash against Clinton.

This calls into question Clinton's ability to pick up the red phone at 3 a.m. and make a tough decision on a crucial foreign policy issue. Also, before taking that 3 a.m. call, Clinton should read the National Intelligence Estimates during the daytime. She did not read them a single time for Iraq in 2002 and consequently voted for the Iraq war.

Once again, it seems that she did not read the latest NIE on Iran's nuclear program (PDF), which is a collection of reports conducted by dozens of intelligence agencies. The report released last December emphasizes that Iranians stopped their efforts to make a nuclear bomb in 2003. This means Iran has no bomb to attack Israel with, and consequently there is no need to "obliterate" a country with 70 million people, three times larger that Iraq in size and population.

Even if Iranians were to gain a nuclear bomb, there would be no way for them to use it against Israel, simply due to the geography of the region. Palestinians and Israelis live side by side. No bomb has yet been made that can differentiate between ethnicities.

Clinton's attempt to be tough has pushed her to internalize a neoconservative tone in her foreign policy agenda that is disrespectful of international mechanisms in dealing with global crisis. This destructive approach has dramatically damaged the image of the United States since the Iraq war in 2003.

Moreover, in the literature of peace and conflict studies, "obliteration" of a country, in whatever shape or form, is genocidal, irresponsible and irrational.

While thousands of people have died in a war that could have been avoided, talking about obliteration of yet another country -- which President Bush has called "the third World War" -- does bode well for change in the White House in January 2009.

Clinton should also know that there are between 25,000 to 35,000 Jews in Iran. Jewish people have a member in the Iranian parliament. They can practice their religion freely to a large extent, and love their homeland, even though they might not like their controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She should also remember that Iranians were the first in the Middle East to show their sympathy for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy by lighting candles in their memory.

Clinton's remark is disrespecting millions of Iranians who are struggling hard for their rights, which include thousands of intellectuals, journalists and activists who have paid huge costs to change their society but still think that the west and Iran should engage in a constructive dialogue -- even with the current government -- rather than go to war.