Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hillary Clinton and Misunderstanding the LTTE

By Stephen Long, Los Angeles, California

Ever since I started voting I have generally supported the Democratic Party, its policies, and its candidates. Early in the recent Presidential Primaries I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. I felt that she had what it took to steer America on a safe course through the troubling times that I felt were ahead for this country once the “bubble had burst.” When Barrack Obama won the Democratic Party’s nomination I supported him in the General Election as vigorously as I could. I now feel very comfortable that Mr. Obama is the right man for the job at the right time, and I have high hopes that he can turn America around, solve its myriad problems, and set the course for peace and renewed prosperity.

At one point during the early Primaries we learned that Mrs. Clinton had unknowingly accepted campaign contributions from an LTTE front organization. To her credit, when she discovered the source of the bad money she returned it, but she failed to clearly and fully condemn the LTTE for the atrocities it had committed against the people of Sri Lanka. Instead she made the weak, ambiguous statement that it was “wrong to put all terrorists into the same category.” I was appalled.

It is my opinion that violently shedding human blood is wrong in all circumstances – no matter who commits the crime – no matter what the country. As far as I am concerned terrorists are all in the same evil category. Mrs. Clinton’s statement disappointed many Sri Lankan-Americans who had faith in her, and I think she lost their confidence and support. I had hoped that she would correct or refine her position and come out with a stronger statement that categorically condemned the LTTE, and call it the wretched beast it truly is. She did not do this.

When Mrs. Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State I sincerely hoped that she would further educate herself on the situation in Sri Lanka, and demonstrate a greater level of understanding in regards to its struggle to protect itself against the most evil of all extremist terrorist organizations – one who just a few days ago sent a thirteen year old girl to blow herself up and kill twenty-nine people who reached out to offer her food on a Buddhist holiday.

Last week, however, Mrs. Clinton missed an important opportunity to show she had learned better when she and the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband issued a joint statement saying “The time has come to resume political discussions is now, and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government and the UN to facilitate such a process.” After learning of this ridiculous, watery statement I can’t decide if Mrs. Clinton is suffering from misinformation or naiveté – or if she has succumbed to the influence of LTTE propaganda mongers and Beltway lobbyists such as Bruce Fein, the former US Deputy Attorney General who has been on the payroll of various LTTE front organizations for the past year and a half.

Instead of following the US Government’s policy of “not advocating that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE” Mrs. Clinton announced in her joint statement with Miliband that they should, in fact, do so. Why would the US Secretary of State express such a misinformed opinion that was completely contrary to her Government’s official policy?

I suspect that the LTTE has somehow gotten the ear of Mrs. Clinton. She, like many officials from many governments around the world, seems to have bought the LTTE lies, which have been fed to her by the well-paid likes of attorney Bruce Fein. In my view this is not acceptable under any terms. I strongly suggest that she review her statement and come out much stronger against the LTTE if she is to be believed as a senior international statesman who truly opposes all terrorist activity.

With this article I am calling upon her to revise her statement and tell us directly that she is willing to let Sri Lanka work out its internal problems on its own, and that she supports the Government’s efforts to finally end the reign of terror that has plagued Sri Lanka for the past twenty-six years. I want to hear it straight from her mouth that the LTTE is not to be negotiated with under any circumstances, that they do not represent the majority of Sri Lanka’s Tamils, that they will not be tolerated by any civilized country on the planet, and that they should lay down their arms and surrender at once.

If Mrs. Clinton doesn’t issue this sort of a statement I will fear for Barrack Obama because Mrs. Clinton surely has his ear. I would hate to think what would happen to the US’s official policy on Sri Lanka if he became as misinformed as she was.

And while Mrs. Clinton is at it, I suggest that she start investigating attorney Bruce Fein and find out who exactly is paying him. In other words: follow the money. I still can’t figure out how he can legally represent the front organizations of a banned terrorist organization and still have the right to practice law in the United States.