Hillary Clinton’s Oil Addiction

At a global warming forum held in Los Angeles on November 17, Hillary Clinton touted her green credentials to a packed auditorium of concerned voters. While the senator was careful not to step on the toes of her corporate campaign contributors, Hillary did proclaim that she has a “bold, comprehensive” plan to move the United States toward energy independence.

Like with so many other issues, Hillary’s have-it-both-ways approach to tackling climate change is a feckless, hollow strategy. If the New York Senator is to capture her party’s nomination next year, you can rest assure the Big Green outfits in DC, like the Sierra Club, will tag along despite Hillary’s non-position on global warming. Simply put, one cannot be pro-war and maintain a sound environmental ethic. And Hillary Clinton is a hawk with connections.

More than any other presidential aspirant, Hillary is in the pocket of the defense industry, which has donated more cash to the Democratic contenders than the Republicans this year. At $500 or more a pop, employees of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics have handed over $52,600 to Clinton’s campaign as of mid-October. That is almost half of all the money the industry has given the Democrats total this election cycle. And surely there is more to come.

Not surprisingly Hillary has promised that she will not deflate the bulging defense budget, nor have any of the other leading Democratic candidates. Currently the military budget sits at over $532 billion per year, which is almost 4% of our total GDP. Ultimately, if Hillary is victorious in November, she will continue to fund the most polluting institution in the world: the Department of Defense (DoD).

One cannot address the issue of climate change by continuing the United State’s wars in the Middle East. In the fiscal year of 2004, according to the US Defense Energy Support Center Fact Book, the US military consumed 144 million barrels of oil. Currently every US solider in Iraq and Afghanistan indirectly uses 16 gallons of oil per day to drive around humvees and tanks, fly helicopters, and carry out aerial bombing campaigns. American GIs are now the most energy-consuming soldiers ever. And only three countries guzzle more oil per capita than the DoD. China, surprisingly, is not one of them.

No doubt, with the price of crude racing toward $100 a barrel, the war in Iraq is making oil executives quite happy.

Hillary, if she were serious about reducing CO2 emissions, would have to drastically overhaul the DoD and end the war in Iraq at once. Something she absolutely refuses to do. In fact, Hillary has taken a hard-line with Iran, all but promising a military confrontation if intervention fails to produce a result friendly to Israel and other US interests in the region. The wars in the Middle East will most certainly continue if Hillary has her way.

No doubt Senator Clinton believes the Earth is warming and humans have something to do with it. But we are more apt to hear Hillary talk the talk than call for any radical change in our energy policy, especially if it effects the bottom lines of the defense contractors that have so graciously fattened her campaign coffers.

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in June 2008. Check out the Red State Rebels site. Read other articles by Joshua.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. gerald spezio said on November 30th, 2007 at 7:36am #

    Joshua, Here are two basic questions.

    Do you think that Hillarious has taken more money from Big Defense than she has from the murdering Zionist Lobby?

    Is Israel’s expansionist state agenda with its commitment to the decimation of the Palestinian people more or less of a variable in Hillarious’s political and career program than her commitment to big defense or her “addiction to oil?”

  2. Deadbeat said on November 30th, 2007 at 10:50am #

    Clinton’s commitment to Zionism is also linked to the huge defense budget. Also the role of oil in the invasion of Iraq and possibly Iran is that both nations has stated that they would use their oil wealth as a leverage against Israel. Therefore the reason for destroying these countries is to expand Israeli hegemony and to deny the Arab people of their only leverage against Zionism.

    Unfortunately there are many on the left who fail to integrate Zionism (racism) into their analysis and thus ignore the racist aspects of U.S. foreign policies. This is not about “white” people defeating “brown” people in the Middle East. This is about expanding and securing Zionism.

    The result of failing to analyze Zionism by the “left” results in a failure to analyze Zionism effects on U.S. culture, politics and economic policies. It also fails to deal with all forms of racism within the U.S. Resulting in the continuing and advancement of divide and rule mechanizations of the ruling class.

    Racism exist across the entire political spectrum and until the “left” is willing to deal with its internal racism and contradiction there will NEVER be any chance for progressive change within the U.S.

  3. Michael Dawson said on November 30th, 2007 at 2:40pm #

    Whatever trouble climate change promises, it is (real and big as it may be) far less certain and immediately dangerous than Peak Oil’s indisputable and indisputably human-caused coming impact. We lefties and progressives ought to ditch Al Gore’s pablum and shift our primary questions and concerns to the Peak Oil topic, which nobody in the elite is willing to expose to the slightest public perception.

  4. Joshua Frank said on November 30th, 2007 at 7:56pm #


    Hillary’s addicted to oil insomuch as she is addicted to power. Oil is power. Who controls it ultimately controls the global economy — that is of course, if prices or supplies don’t peak. Some say they already have. Hillary is really addicted to war. But war nowadays is only feasible with ample supplies of oil. When the oil runs out the wars we fight will change dramatically. It could simply become a perpetual circle: wars are fought over natural resources while natural resources fuel those very wars. As supplies dwindle, you can expect more war.

    The US relationship with Israel, I believe, is convoluted. You have many different interests driving US foreign policy in the region. Sure you have the Zionists, but you also have the oil execs and others who know that without Israel’s military prowess (an air force, nukes, etc) the US exploitation of the resources there is ultimately threatened. I won’t venture to guess exactly what’s influencing Hillary’s approach, er, non-approach to Israel-US relations. It may be a bit of everything.

    Hillary is in essence a power driven elitist — or to steal Mills’ term, a member of the Power Elite. Totally disconnected from the people she hurts. Be they American soldiers or Iraqi kids. Sometimes I think a lot of the current mess regarding Israel and Palestine has less to do with Zionism and more to do with outright hatred, racism and power. All components of traditional Zionism, I know, but I think philosophically a lot of the direct violence waged against Palestinians today isn’t derived from the classical definition of Zionism but from what many Israelis see as tit-for-tat retaliation.

    Of course it is not tit-for-tat. Israel has the bigger guns and no moral authority to do what they are doing or have done to millions of people. It’s an asymmetrical situation supported by the US government. Hillary won’t alter that. Certainly not if it threatens her power base. And that platform is dependent on a host of Washington insiders; be they Big Oil, the pro-Israel Lobby or defense contractors.

  5. Robert B. Livingston said on December 1st, 2007 at 11:06am #

    I think Joshua’s answer to Gerald Spezio about what motivates Clinton and what drives Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about as succinct and accurate as one is bound to see.

  6. Deadbeat said on December 2nd, 2007 at 10:27pm #

    I think Joshua’s answer to Gerald Spezio about what motivates Clinton and what drives Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about as succinct and accurate as one is bound to see.

    Mr. Frank does an excellent job providing a radical analysis of Liberals and how they dilute radicalism and any chance for progressive change his analysis here and his response to Mr. Spezio is downright reactionary and cynical.

    Mr. Frank claims that … Hillary is in essence a power driven elitist. But that not analysis. Such a description can be labeled against any an all “leaders”. The question is their advocacy.

    One of the “excuses” the left could use upon GW Bush (Texas), Chaney and Rice is that since they all had background with oil firms that could be use by the left to justify their “War For Oil” explanation. However Clinton was not known with having a long association with oil firms. However with Clinton being a Senator from New York State the likelihood of her having an affinity toward Zionism is much more likely.

    What Mr. Frank is doing is diluting the role Zionism has in influencing and shaping Ms. Clinton advocacy. This is a rather dishonest analysis as we have seen numerous article here on DV by James Petras that has clearly detailed oil firms being against the Iraq invasion. As well as the military being tepid in their desire to invade Iraq and being more vocal against the invasion in Iran.

    It is also dishonest not to examine Zionism and how it contributes to maintaining LARGE U.S. military budget as a large military budget is required in order for the U.S. to engage in these Middle East incursion that would now appear to benefit Israeli hegemony. Even some members of the right have questioned the bloated military budgets and maintenance of bases world wide. Apparently the “left” suffers from myopia.

    Even the venerable Bill Moyers ignores Zionism (the Jewish variety) and is only concerned with the “Christian” variety. However apparently the Dutch TV is willing to tackle the issue that the U.S. left is too cowardly to discuss.

    Here a link …

    The Israel Lobby

  7. JoJO said on December 3rd, 2007 at 7:15am #

    Russian oligarchs -we keep hearing this but never of American Oilgarchs.I just happen to read JustinRamando’s column on Putin’s win. Yes,Russia was ruined by the oligarchs but he never likes to connect the same zionists that have infiltrated the west.Like Hillary(real family name Rodenhurst),she is rabidly Jewish Zionist. If she is elected,whichout Russia.Most of the Jewish trouble makers from Russia have left for the west and hate her.Do I need to say more ?