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Who killed Buddy?
The mysterious death of Bill Clinton's dog. Plus: biblical homophobia and American anthrax
Eamonn McCann, 17 Jan 2002
Was it really a road accident? Was Buddy run down by a sports utility vehicle driven by a confused high school student?
Or was it a professional hit?
Buddy, former US president Bill Clinton’s chocolate Labrador, died at Cappaqua, New Jersey, on the morning of January 2nd while trying to cross Route 117 at the bottom of Old House Lane, where the Clintons now live, on his way to a scamper in the park.
With Buddy gone, there is no-one alive, apart from the two principals, who was ever present in the Oval Office when Monica Lewinski gave Bill a gobble.
We have the word of Ms. Linda Tripp for it that Monica told her that Buddy would sit, dewy-eyed and with his tongue hanging out – and not a bit of wonder – as the presidential trousers concertinaed down to flop around the ankles, and Monica sucked, and Bill blew.
Is it possible Hillary Clinton hired some help to ensure she wouldn’t have to look any more into Buddy’s eyes as he snuffled against her thigh, and wonder whether the snuffling was ironic?
“He was a loyal companion and brought us so much joy,” said the Clintons in a joint message – the sort of unconvincing standard-issue statement pushed out by the PR wonks any time a vaguely unsettling figure who can’t be ignored falls off the perch. Charlie Haughey said as much at Des Traynor’s nicely-timed passing.
Since Buddy’s death, analysts have been combing Hillary Clinton’s Dear Socks, Dear Buddy (Simon & Schuster, 1998) for any clue which might throw light into the netherword where deviants prosper and good dogs die. Does any significance attach to the drama played out on the White House lawn in April 1996 when the First Cat, Socks, greeted his new housemate with a hiss of sibilant hatred? Did that feeling of feline resentment ripen over time?
After the Clintons left office, Socks was exiled to the suburban Virginia home of Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s former secretary, while Buddy accompanied the Clintons to live in the white Dutch colonial mansion they moved into in Cappaqua in December 1999. Socks won’t have been purring with pleasure at that turn of events!
The story of Buddy’s sudden death ran for two days on the main page of the New York Times (January 3rd and 4th), when there wasn’t enough page one space to allocate an inch to the killing by US bombs of between 65 and 120 civilians at Qalaye Niazi: this, surely indicates a suspicion in the mind of Times execs. that there’s more to Buddy’s demise than might at first meet the eye..
Roni Jacobson, a neighbour of the Clintons, said Buddy often came into her yard to play with her dog, Trumper, a Shih Tzu, before she (Trumper) was put down in October. Ms. Jacobson reckoned Buddy was never the same after Trumper’s death. (Could it have been suicide? And why was Trumper “put down”?)
Ms. Jacobson spoke movingly about Buddy’s skill at “fetching his beloved yellow balls. He really loved to play. He had a great knack for anticipating where Mr. Clinton would throw his balls. He was that kind of fun pet”.
Watching from afar, did Monica develop a grudge against Buddy? What was she up to on the morning of the 2nd, anyway?
Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Linda Tripp, Socks, that woman Ms. Lewinski... the list of suspects is long, and lengthening. Where was Mullah Omar, the one-eyed biker with the easy-riding style and a cool take on the Koran, when it happened? Watch this space. We might fill more of it with this stuff, if we’re let.
Speaking of murder in California and The Lord Of The Rings, I am surprised that more hasn’t been made of a judgement by the Human Rights Commission of Saskatchewan that the bible promotes hatred.
The commission was ruling on a complaint by a number of citizens that an advertisement in a religious periodical incited hatred of gays. The advert. quoted the passage from Leviticus, 18:22, which has been interpreted by many as decreeing that gay men should be put to death. (“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman: it is an abomination.”) The magazine and the advertiser were ordered to pay three complainants $1,500 each.
A very sensible place, Saskatchewan. People would extol its virtues more often if they knew how to spell it.
Lord Of The Rings star Ian McKellen has revealed that he’s up to “a few hundred” in his mutilation of bibles. “Whenever I find a Gideon bible in a hotel room”, he told an interviewer come to quiz him about his interpretation of Gandalf, “I turn to Leviticus 18:22, which is directed against homosexuals, and rip the page out. I think by now I must have done a few hundred”.
I am never going to miss an Ian McKellen movie again.
Neither would I miss Benjamin and James Williams if I were as vengeful as they and had them in my sights. This pair have pleaded guilty to setting fire to three synagogues and an abortion clinic in Sacramento but intend to deny the murder of a gay couple who they admit they deliberately killed. They are basing their plea on Leviticus 18:22, contending that it cannot be murder to do god’s bidding.
This, incidentally, or not, is the exact defence which we are told will be offered by the chap the FBI claims is the”20th hijacker” from September 11th.
When the anthrax blitz hit in the immediate aftermath of the twin towers catastrophe, there was a flurry of speculation about which terrorist country or group might be responsible. Hurriedly researched articles told which plants in which places might have the capacity to manufacture the strain of the spores suddenly wafting through the air-ducts of media outlets and political offices.
It was taken for granted that whoever was making the stuff was making it for nefarious purposes. This seemed a sound enough proposition, and still does. It appears there is no benign, peaceful use to which anthrax can be put. Iraq, Syria and Sudan were all in the frame at some juncture. At one point, the Bush administration reportedly ordered an “all-out effort” to find evidence to pin the blame on Iraq. We can take it that if evidence had been found Bagdhad would have been reduced to rubble, with a sizable section of its citizenry beneath the rubble, within a week
Now there’s an emerging consensus that the anthrax was made in America. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that, “Many experts believe that the killer is tied to the American bio-weapons program because the anthrax he sent out is genetically identical to the anthrax kept by the United States Army. A microbiologist...is helping the authorities compare the genetic fingerprint of the mailed anthrax, and every indication is that it derives at least indirectly from the mother lode of the military strain, kept at Fort Detrick, Maryland”.
The anthrax sent in mail packages was, according to the Post, “astonishingly pure and equivalent (in spore size and concentration) to the best the American Army ever achieved.” And this, in turn, we are assured, is the best ever achieved anywhere.
The US Army, it emerges, is the biggest manufacturer of anthrax in the world, and of the most advanced, lethal strains of anthrax.
The question which immediately arises is, what for? The stock explanation for the manufacture of biological weaponry is that it’s only by maintaining supplies that counter-measures can be perfected and antidotes developed. But this doesn’t obviously apply to anthrax. Its modus operandi has been well understood for many years. The relevant antibiotics are stock-piled.
What, then, is the strategic purpose of the US bio-weapons programme?
It it were discovered that Pakistan, say, or Turkey or Argentina – much less Iraq or Syria – had built up large stores of anthrax, there would be widespread suspicion, even assumption in some circles, that they intended to use it, or at least wanted to be able to threaten to use it, to impose their will on others. Why should we respond differently to the relevation that the US Army is manufacturing anthrax in large quantities?
This is a country which has used weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations, massacring hundreds of thousands, an action which it continues to regard as perfectly moral, and which is run by gun-toting fundamentalists who believe they have god on their side.
It strikes me that the most plausible of the theories currently circulating on the identity of the anthrax bomber is that he’s a US military man who in the immediate aftermath of September 11th decided to try to alert the world to the at least comparable evil which US military chiefs hold in reserve, as a practical option for the future.