Madeline Albright Hurts Clinton’s Campaign — but Not for the Reason You Think

Madeline Albright Hurts Clinton’s Campaign — but Not for the Reason You Think

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Hillary Clinton is struggling to connect with young women voters, so she has brought in… Madeleine Albright? Enlisting the 78-year-old to chase millennials may seem far-fetched, but it’s a gift to voters and to the GOP. Just as Hillary’s claims of advocacy for women encouraged criticism of her husband’s sexual misadventures, trotting out Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of State allows us to revisit how her husband’s presidency all but ignored the brewing Islamic jihad against the U.S.     

Hillary Clinton offers her husband’s time in office as a halcyon time of peace and prosperity. The truth is that Bill Clinton, like President Obama, made a cataclysmic choice early on that has cost this country untold amounts of blood and treasure. That choice was to ignore the numerous attacks on Americans by Islamic radicals, a decision which served to embolden the jihadists behind 9/11. Like President Obama, Bill Clinton, distracted by endless scandals, led from behind.

Related: The Clinton Scandal That Still Matters Is Not the One You Think

Americans may have forgotten that during the Clinton presidency al-Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in New York, leaving 6 dead and 1,040 injured. The administration, focused on pushing Hillary’s unpopular healthcare proposal, characterized the attacker as someone who “did something really stupid,” and handed the investigation over to the cops. Intelligence groups, who suspected that Osama bin Laden orchestrated the bombing, were muted. 

  • 1993: The first bombing of the World Trade Center points to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
  • 1995: As Bill begins his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a car bomb explodes at U.S. military headquarters in Saudi Arabia killing 5 service members.
  • 1996: Hezbollah detonates a truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers military center in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 men in uniform and injuring hundreds. Bill Clinton, caught up in Filegate and the Whitewater investigation, denies pleas by the FBI to ask the Saudi’s help with the investigation.
  • 1998: Al-Qaeda explodes truck bombs near U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and injuring more than 4,000; Osama bin Laden was tagged as behind the anti-American campaign. Bill was embroiled in the Lewinsky scandal.
  • 2000: Osama bin Laden was suspected of orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 7 Navy sailors. The White House was caught up in the Travelgate investigation; the report described Hillary’s testimony as “factually false” but she avoided indictment.

Related: How Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright Misplayed Clinton’s Gender Card

Like Obama, Bill Clinton constantly belittled the mounting Islamic threat, concerned only for the political fall-out. He was advised by the likes of Dick Morris, who later recalled, “Whenever there was a crisis, I ordered an immediate poll…. I was concerned about how Clinton looked in the face of [the attack] and whether people blamed him.” Ms. Albright was right there beside him.

It was not only ignoring Islamic radicalism that tars Albright’s record. The Wellesley alum became Secretary of State in 1997. She had earlier served as Ambassador to the UN, having been appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Under her watch, the U.S. watched the mass slaughter of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda, considered by many one of the “gravest crimes of the twentieth century.”   

Like President Obama dithering over the use of the term “Islamic extremism,” President Bill Clinton’s administration refused to call the extermination of the Tutsi a “genocide” because that term carried certain obligations under UN conventions. In a 2004 interview about Rwanda, Albright says, “Well, I think, as you know, this becomes a legal definitional thing, unfortunately, in terms of—as horrendous as all these things are, there becomes a definitional question.” A perfect Clinton staffer. 

Ironically, one of the most vocal critics of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright’s role in allowing the Rwanda disaster has been Samantha Powers, now serving as Obama’s Ambassador to the U.N. In 2001, she wrote a piece for The Atlantic entitled “Bystanders to Genocide.”  She wrote, “As the terror in Rwanda had unfolded, Clinton had shown virtually no interest in stopping the genocide, and his Administration had stood by as the death toll rose into the hundreds of thousands.”

Related: Clinton Distances Herself from Obama in the Fight Against ISIS

Powers highlights the administration’s ever-paramount political calculus, noting that Susan Rice, who at the time worked on the National Security Council, shocked officials at an interagency teleconference by asking, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?"  

Powers reports that during the three months of the slaughter in Rwanda, President Bill Clinton never once assembled his top advisers to discuss the killings. More horrific, Madeleine Albright, at the urging of the president, led the charge to reduce the number of UN peacekeepers in Rwanda, which lifted any restraints on the genocidal government.

In 2002, when the public was last asked to weigh in on Albright, 45 percent of the public had either never heard of the woman or had a negative impression of her. And that was when people were just beginning to understand that the failure of Clinton’s administration to respond to no fewer than 5 attacks on Americans by Islamic radicals would have lasting and profound repercussions, starting with those of 9/11. In the past fourteen years. Ms. Albright hasn’t gotten out much – meaning most young women have no idea who she is.  

This is what millennials should know about Albright: like Hillary, she accomplished almost nothing as Secretary of State. On the campaign trail, she has embarrassed herself by scolding young women for not supporting the former first lady and fellow Wellesley alum, saying, “There is a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other.”

There’s also one for those who think that a president should be elected solely based on gender. Happily, it seems most millennials won’t end up there.