Hillary And Rwanda Again

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I don't know if he reads the Stump, but on ABC this morning George Stephanopoulos asked Hillary about something I blogged on last week: Whether it's true, as her husband has implied, that she urged him to intervene in Rwanda in 1994. For reasons unknown, Hillary refused to comment on Rwanda when the New York Times asked her about it last week. But today she played ball.

Stephanopoulos opened by saying that Bill has "suggested" she pressed him to intervene, then played a clip in which Bill said, "I think she clearly would have done that." "Is that true?" Stephanopolous asked. Her answer:

It is true. And I believe that our government failed. We obviously didn’t have a lot of good options. It moved very quickly. It was a difficult, terrible genocide to try to get our arms around and to do something to try to stem or prevent. It didn’t happen.

Note that Hillary stops short of detailing any particular effort she made at the time to talk Bill into intervening. It's easy to claim in hindsight, that you would have handled Rwanda differently. I'd be interested to know whether she was really pressuring him when it mattered. For now, though, that seems to be the implication the Clintons are leaving.

Incidentally, Rwanda is also an interesting sub rosa issue within the Obama campaign. One of Obama's foreign policy gurus is Samantha Power, who has been among the harshest critics of the Clinton administration's failure to stop the genocide. Two Clintonites whom Power has singled out for criticism are then-National Security Advisor Tony Lake and Susan Rice, the State Department's point woman on Africa at the time. Both are now also advising Obama. For more, check out Power's powerful 2001 Atlantic Monthly article, "Bystanders to Genocide."

 --Michael Crowley

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