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Hillary Clinton's Credibility Gap in Northern Ireland

Hillary's chief character flaw has been her almost congenital fibbing, even on something as straightforward as her first name. She wasn't named after the famous New Zealand explorer, Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to climb Mt. Everest six years after she was born, who died this year. Her spokeswoman in October, 2006 confessed "It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.".. just like the sniper fire story.

By constantly embellishing her cv, trying to impress others with her 'banal' foreign travel experiences as the First Lady, reveals more about senator Clinton than she cares to. Now that her version of the Bosnia trip to Tuzla has caused people like her biographer Carl Bernstein to comment on her credibility again, the American press may getting 'round' to checking out her second greatest achievement, 'her major role' in helping make the Good Friday Treaty powersharing agreement in 1998, for Northern Ireland.

First as a preamble, I confess I know next to nothing about Bosnia, but I do know something about Northern Ireland. I don't claim as much familiarity with the province or the six counties, as Hillary naturally, but I have visited and worked there a number of times and was teacher at the Model Girls' School in Belfast during one of the worst years of 'The Troubles', 1974.

I must admit I was fortunate never to have been in a bombing, but I saw the aftermath of many gutted pubs and homes and I worked on a very rare controversial non-sectarian housing project, reconstructing houses close to Falls Road in 1971, that had been fire bombed earlier in The Troubles in Belfast. In those years it wasn't so different to Baghdad with the 'no-go' areas, and road barricades between the Catholics or Shiites and the Protestants or Sunnis or vice a versa.

Now let's look at what Hillary did in the 90's to bring on the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998. Terry McAuliffe, Mrs Clinton's hard-nosed campaign chairman, told CNN: "We would not have peace today had it not for Hillary's hard work in Northern Ireland".

One 'Belfast Telegraph' native reporter, Lindy McDowell says Hillary's claim to be the peace broker of Northern Ireland reminds her of Spike Milligan.

The comedian Spike Milligan once published an autobiographical work about his Army service in World War II entitled 'Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall'. Spike, it goes without saying, was playing for laughs.

Not so Hillary Clinton... has staked her own claim to fame in the always contentious field of foreign conflict resolution.

The Northern Ireland Troubles: My Part in Sorting Out That Lot.

As Hillary herself put it during a recent interview on CNN: "I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland."

Beat that Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton - Ireland's Dalai O'Lama

In her autobiography she describes a meeting at a cafe on the Lower Ormeau hosted by the late Joyce McCartan and attended by representatives from women's groups from both sides of the community.

Nothing new there, of course. Contacts between such groups have long been the norm here. Although an outsider mightn't guess that, the way Hillary tells it.

"I remember a meeting that I pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall there, bringing together for the first time Catholics and Protestants from both traditions, having them sitting a room where they had never been before with each other ... "

I know. Don't laugh

I remember the visit to the cafe (town hall!) well. It was what's known in the business as a photo opportunity. Something to keep the presidential spouse occupied while the actual office bearer was getting down to business.


Hillary's version of 'her pivotal role 'in the peace talks has been challenged by Peter King, an Ulster Unionist Party negotiator at the Good Friday talks in 1998, who said:

"Hillary Clinton was totally invisible at the actual negotiations."

"As far as I am concerned, Mrs Clinton was as relevant to peace in Northern Ireland as Tony Blair's wife or the ex-wife of Bertie Ahern [the Irish prime minister]."

Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1998, told The Daily Telegraph last week that Mrs Clinton's claims were a "wee bit silly".

"She really lost all credibility when on Bill Clinton's last visit to Northern Ireland [in December 2000] when she hugged and kissed [Sinn Fein leaders] Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."

Even though, I'm in a way sympathetic to the progressive social rights of SDLP (the Catholic Labour Party), I've have had my bruises, to show for it, I know enough about Northern Ireland, and the strong feelings of the majority of the people, the Protestants, to realize that in order to have any credibility in the province, you would no more kiss and hug two leading ex-IRA bombers, Gerry Adams (Adams played a central role in planning the bomb blitz on Belfast known as Bloody Friday in 1971) and Martin McGuinness (who was found with 250 pounds of gelignite in the 'boot' of his car in 1972 and supplied the nailbombers for Bloody Sunday in Derry, in 1971), than you would kiss or hug Osama bin Laden, but tell this to Hillary.


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Comments (7)

epador:

Well Done Steve.

Steve Crickmore:

Yes, did the Irish and British have anything to do with the Good Friday Peace Treaty? Further justification by Hillary of her inflated claim of her "instrumental role "in the talks .

Lindy McDowell, the Belfast Telegraph reporter I quoted in the post, speaks about the 1976 Nobel Prize Winning Peace People's Campaign and how effective it was, as an organisation, in bringing about an end to large-scale paramilitary activity in the province? and "Did the Good Friday Agreement owe anything to the Peace People?" I can't hear the BBC interview on this computer, but I imagine most of you can..Somehow, I doubt Hillary's name will be mentioned, even in passing.

JLawson:

Larkin:

How stupid do they think we are?

Oh, I think you know the answer to that already. They're quite convinced the vast masses of the unwashed are quite stupid, exceedingly gullible, and have the long-term memory capacity of a sheep.

But there's this little thing called the 'internet' now that's serving as a very useful accessory memory - and it's gonna be the downfall of a LOT of politicians. You aren't going to be able to lie about your mistakes or cover up your failures with good-sounding rhetoric. And Hil and Obama have put themselves in the spotlight, exposed themselves to an intense glare that will not go away...

Sucks to be them. Sucks to be us, watching them and realizing...

That these two are supposedly the best and brightest the Democratic Party has to offer.

Steve Crickmore:

JLawson, Republican politicians as I'm sure you are aware are just as subject to having their rhetoric exposed as being at variance to the facts. I would argue even more so, but yes the internet makes the world 'a global village' and we don't have to completely accept the word of politicians, just as the invention of Gutenberg printing press allowed the laity to read the bible for themselves instead of relying on the priests to interpret it for them.

JLawson:

"we don't have to completely accept the word of politicians" -

But isn't it strange how many of them lately are quite willing to depend on blind, unquestioning belief?

Your mileage may vary (and I'm sure it does) but when it comes down to choosing a President, I'm quite capable of looking at a candidate's background and deciding whether or not the following criteria applies. It's simple, yet requires a fair bit of examination fo the candidates.

Is the candidate, if elected, going to be more concerned with their own aggrandizement, the good of their nominal party, or the good of the country?

THAT is what I'm most concerned with - not about whether there's a D or an R or an I (or a G, Q, F, MLPptyou get the drift) after their name.

So far, Hillary fails big-time. Obama's not much better. McCain is the best of the three, though that's kind of like saying one dogpile doesn't smell as bad as the other two.

I'm not going to concern myself with 'might-have-beens' when it comes to the potential candidates. We have what we have - God help us. Now the choice is for least worst - and when they dive for the bottom and dig it doesn't help.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

The focus has been on Obama and Clinton, and McCain has gotten a free ride as a result. Once the Democratic nomination is settled then all Democratic guns will swing towards McCain, and he'll be in for a major shellacking.

JLawson:

Yeah, but by then they'll be out of ammo.

(Actually, considering the age of McCain, a can of shellac might not be inappropriate.)

I'm sure morale in the Democratic camp isn't suffering at all from the infighting. (And the Atlantic isn't wet and salty.)

The vast unwashed are going to look at McCain, and they're going to look at the frazzled, wild-eyed, ranting survivor of the Democratic fragging process trying to stir them up into a vote-killing frenzy...

And I think they're going to shake their heads and walk away. There's no benefit to staying with the crazy folk, and that's how the fight is starting to look from the outside. I really don't expect it to get better. Hillary's hit her sell-by date, and Obama knows the longer the campaign runs the less competent he's going to appear. Anyone can wear a well-fitted suit, and mouth the words written by expert speechwriters. But it's what's inside the suit, inside the heart and mind that counts.

Are Hil and Obama uniters instead of dividers? In my opinion, no. They depend too heavily on pushing the hyphenated-American divisions - they HAVE to capitalize on the splits to get elected, and don't realize (or particularly care) just how hard it is to heal the splits once created.

I really don't want 4 years of Hillary the Queen, or Inept Obama. We deserve better.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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