Transcript of the Senate confirmation hearing nominating Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

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Read it in full here, at the NYT. Below is an excerpt. The bolding was added by me. I think Obama made a great choice for Secretary of State. She may not have made the cover of Ms. but she sure looks like a feminist to me.

–Ann Bartow

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Senator Boxer?

BOXER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Clinton, I’m so excited to see you here today. As you know, I was very much in favor of your saying yes to this opportunity.

You’re a dedicated public servant, and I think by nominating you President-elect Obama has sent a message that world peace and stability trumps politics and ego. And I think by accepting this position, Senator Clinton, you are sending the same message, because you are working with your toughest rival, and you’ve set your ego aside for world peace, world stability and for the good of the country. I mean that sincerely. You know I do.

I wanted to pick off a few of the issues that I care about. I’m going to do it very quickly because there are so many — just to make my voice heard on those — and then ask you a question on a topic you raised, and we’ve discussed it before, the status of women in the world — in particular, violence against women in the world. And Nicholas Kristof has written a series of articles on this, and I’ve spoken with our great new chairman, and I think his concern certainly lies in this direction along with yours. …

… I have a few pictures to share with all of us. And they’re brutal pictures. And I’m not showing them for shock value. I want to show them because I don’t think we can look away from the plight in women in the world.

And as I said, Nicholas Kristof confronts these issues in a series of compelling articles. In one, he tells us about the recent acid attack against young girls in Afghanistan, where they’re going to school with their teachers. And we have a photo of one of the victims to show you on that. I’m just going to do these very quickly. OK.

He profiles a story in a second picture, I’ll show that, of a Pakistani woman who was viciously burned by her husband with acid because she dared to divorce him. This is what we’re talking about. This is Ms. Azar. OK.

Thousands of women have suffered similar attacks throughout Asia, and no prosecutions, senator. Kristof tells us the story of a Vietnamese girl named Sina Vann who was kidnapped at age 13; she was sold into sex slavery in Cambodia. When she refused to see customers, she was tortured brutally with electric shocks and locked in a coffin full of insects.

And Kristof illustrates an act of horrific brutality in a piece called “If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is?” in which a young Cambodian girl had her eye gouged out by her brothel owner after taking time off to recover from a forced abortion. This is a picture of that, just very beautiful, young woman.

So I’m introducing some legislation. One is a companion piece of Representative Carolyn Maloney. Another one is the Afghan Women Empowerment Act, which many on this committee have worked with us on. And that’s just the beginning. No woman or girl should ever have to live in fear or face persecution for being born female.

And, senator, I know how deeply you feel about this. And so I wanted you to take a little more time to talk about your commitment to this particular issue. And, obviously, I would be so pleased if you would commit to help us work on a legislation to fight this immorality.

CLINTON: Well, senator, you have been such a leader. And I have been honored to be your colleague and your partner in a number of these efforts that have been undertaken on behalf of women around the world.

And I want to pledge to you that as secretary of state I view these issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser than all of the other issues that we have to confront.

I, too, have followed the stories that are exemplified by the pictures that you held up. I mean, it is heartbreaking beyond works that, you know, young girls are attacked on their way to school by Taliban sympathizers and members who do not want young women to be educated. It’s not complicated: They want to maintain an attitude that keeps women, as I said in my testimony, unhealthy, unfed, uneducated.

And this is something that results all too often in violence against these young women, both within their families and from the outside. This is not culture. This is not custom. This is criminal. And it will be my hope to persuade more governments, as I have attempted to do since I spoke at Beijing on these issues, you know, 13 and some years ago, that we cannot have a free, prosperous, peaceful, progressive world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way.

I have also read closely Nick Kristof’s articles over the last many months, but in particular the last weeks, on the young women that he has both rescued from prostitution and met who have been enslaved and abused, tortured in every way: physically, emotionally, morally.

And I take very seriously the function of the State Department to lead our government through the Office on Human Trafficking to do all that we can to end this modern form of slavery. We have sex slavery, we have wage slavery, and it is primarily a slavery of girls and women.

So I look also forward, senator, to reviewing your legislation and working with you as a continuing partnership on behalf of these issues we care so much about.

And finally, the work that the women of the Senate did in connection with First Lady Laura Bush on behalf of the women of Afghanistan has been extremely important. That program was started in the State Department. It was midwifed by a group that I helped to start back in the Clinton administration called Vital Voices. Mrs. Bush has been outspoken on behalf of the plight of Afghan women, on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, and other women facing oppression around the world. And I’m very pleased that that project will be spun off to Georgetown where it will continue under Mrs. Bush’s sponsorship.

So we’re going to have a very active women’s office, a very active office on trafficking. We’re going to be speaking out consistently and strongly against discrimination and oppression of women and slavery in particular, because I think that is in keeping not only with American values, as we all recognize, but American national security interests as well. …

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0 Responses to Transcript of the Senate confirmation hearing nominating Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

  1. bob coley jr says:

    Thank you for this link, Ann. Slightly off topic here. After reading the transcripts of the confermations going on, seeing the great words of the process, listening to the speeches of Barack and others, hearing U-2 and Stevie Wonder blast out in Washington, hearing the words to the sonG “Lean on Me” waft over the crowd on the concourse, and all the rest, a profound feeling of hope was renewed in my soul. Then on my TV screen was a shot oof the mass of people in front of the Lincoln Memorial. At first I was struck by the diversity of faces and thought to myself, “Ah yes, the faces of America!”, and I felt happiness. But the thought was soon replaced by another, more profound one. There is only ONE face here, the face of the WORLD! Then the tears of joy for the country, the world, and the future came flooding down. I know we have a long, hard path yet to walk, but DAMN, it feels good to be, as Willie Nelson said,”ON THE ROAD AGAIN”.

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