Skip to comments.Hillary: I Didn't Vote for War
Posted on 02/10/2007 12:54:12 AM PST by Jim Noble
MANCHESTER New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday her 2002 vote for a resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq was "not a vote for a pre-emptive war," but instead a show of support for further United Nations weapons inspections.
The Democratic Presidential front-runner, who has been criticized by hard-line anti-war groups for not apologizing for the vote, emphasized that distinction in a telephone interview from Washington.
While fellow candidate John Edwards, a former senator, has apologized for his vote on the October 2002 resolution, Clinton again did not.
"I will let others speak for themselves," she said. "I have taken responsibility for that vote. It was based on the best assessment that I could make at the time, and it was clearly intended to demonstrate support for going to the United Nations to put inspectors into Iraq."
She said that when she explained her vote four years ago, "I said that it was not a vote for pre-emptive war."
A Clinton campaign spokesman later noted that on the Senate floor on Oct. 10, 2002, Clinton stated that her vote for the resolution "is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for unilateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose -- all of which carry grave dangers for our nation, for the rule of international law and for the peace and security of people the throughout the world."
In the interview, the former first lady said the Bush administration forced an end to the final round of weapons inspections and invaded prematurely. The administration is responsible for the current status of the war, she said, and for being "grossly misinformed" or for having "twisted the intelligence to satisfy a preconceived version of the facts" before the invasion.
"Either interpretation casts grave doubt on their judgment," she said. "If they were so intent on pursuing military action, a pre-emptive action, which I said at the time I opposed, against Saddam Hussein, then why on earth were they not better prepared and more competent in its execution?"
Clinton said Bush and his administration "have performed a great disservice to our men and women in uniform, to our country, to our vital national security interests in the region and to the ongoing struggle against Islamic extremists."
Clinton spoke with the New Hampshire Union Leader on the eve of her first campaign visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state. She is scheduled to talk to voters today in Berlin and Concord and tomorrow in Manchester, Nashua and Keene. She last visited the state in 1996.
Also yesterday, Clinton said she would campaign in New Hampshire even if the primary date set by Secretary of State William Gardner under a state law does not comply with the Jan. 22, 2008, date written into a new party rule by Democratic National Committee (see related story).
Clinton said she has proposed capping the U.S. military force in Iraq at the Jan. 1 level and has "voted for more than a year and a half to begin redeploying our troops out of Iraq."
She does not "at this time" support a cut in funding for American troops in Iraq. She backs instead a cut in funding for Iraqi troops.
"We have got to get their attention," she said of the Iraqi leadership. She said they "do not fulfill their promises" and make "worthless" assurances.
She predicted that if Congress were to approve a funding cut, Bush would veto it.
"I hate to say that," she said, "but I think that shows the level of stubbornness and rigidity that we are confronting with this President."
And what may have been veiled criticism of at least some of her Democratic opponents, Clinton said, "This is a very difficult situation we find ourselves in, and anyone who thinks there are easy answers or flip rhetoric that can be used is not fully appreciating the challenge that those of us confront who are trying to set up circumstances that will persuade the President to do what we all expect and want him to do."
Clinton did not say how she would have voted on New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg's proposed nonbinding Senate resolution simply opposing any cuts in troop funding. She said she backed a resolution by Republican Sen. John Warner and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin to oppose the Bush troop "surge" while also opposing a funding cut.
Bush, she said, "has proven impervious to the election results, so we are trying to get the political support we need in the Congress" to pass a strong anti-escalation statement in a nonbinding resolution.
She said the breakdown of efforts in the Senate this week to pass the Warner-Levin resolution was the result of "a Republican strategic decision to try to divert attention from doing that very straightforward task of sending a clear message to the White House."
She supported even stronger measures, saying, "The President should have to get a new congressional authorization if he is going to move down this path."
Clinton said that after the United Nations Security Council supported sending inspectors into Iraq in November 2002, "Saddam Hussein was contained and there was no reason not to let the inspectors finish their job to find answers to the questions many people had."
She said Congress' authorization a month earlier "did not necessarily require the President to short-circuit the process to launch the invasion," adding, "The abrupt conclusion of the inspection process, I think, was a mistake."
She said an earlier Bush mistake came when he "diverted attention from Afghanistan and the war against al-Qaida and the opportunity to build a strong international alliance against extremism and terrorism" and focused on Saddam.
She said had she been President, "I think I would never had asked for" authority to invade Iraq because she would not have begun the war.
Elaborating, she said: "But once a President asks for such authority, you either vote to give it to him or vote to withhold it from him. If you look at the options that were available, giving the President authority to make it very clear to the security council, to Iraq and to the world that we were serious about forcing Saddam Hussein to comply with his obligations under various United Nations' resolutions and the agreement he entered into at the end of the first Gulf War was a reasonable policy.
"What was not reasonable was manipulating the intelligence, which we now know occurred, and refusing to allow the inspectors under the edict of the United Nations to do their work."
The Washington Post reported yesterday that a Pentagon inspector general had found that intelligence provided by a former undersecretary of defense to buttress the White House case for the invasion included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the political views of senior administration officials.
"This unfortunately confirms what we've been discovering in the last three years," Clinton said, "that the administration never intended to let the inspectors complete their work despite assurances to the contrary and that they gilded the lily on the intelligence they had."
Clinton said, "If we had known then what we know now about both the allegations concerning Saddam's intentions and capacity and about our own government's intentions, we would never have had a vote, and if there had been a vote, I certainly would never have voted to give the President authority," she said.
Note to Hillary: In the future, read the legislation you're voting for so you won't look like such a moron when you try and claim you were "tricked"./
That has to be the most imbecilic logic to begin any position statement with.
These colors cut and run
bumper-sticker for her car.
She would not have any issue at all had the GOP majority done an actual Declaration of War instead of a U.N. spewage laden congressional resolution. That's what the GOP gets for trying to be the appeasers of world opinion. They should have either fully declared it and made the unconditional commitment or war or stayed home. Three previous wars & the same stupid intentional mistake and our troops get caught in the middle.
No, this isn't spin - this is falling, falling, faaallllliiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng
I'm not sure she still will be in the race when the real campaign starts.
Shes lucky what happened to that evil SOB Saddam isn't in store for her as well.
If the POTUS was Putin instead of Bush she and her comrades wouldn't be around for very long.
That's just an out and out lie.
Amazing how Clinton's find it so damn easy to tell lies.. pathological and really scary.
1. On September 12, 2001, Senatrix Clinton spoke from the well of the Senate: "...We will also stand united behind our President as he and his advisors plan the necessary actions to demonstrate America's resolve and commitment. Not only to seek out an exact punishment on the perpetrators, but to make very clear that not only those who harbor terrorists, but those who in any way aid or comfort them whatsoever will now face the wrath of our country. And I hope that that message has gotten through to everywhere it needs to be heard. You are either with America in our time of need or you are not..."
2. On October 10, 2002, Clinton spoke to the Senate in favor of a use-of-force resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, saying: "The facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt.
3. On December 15, 2003, when it was clear there were no large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Clintons support was unwavering. "I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force, she told the Council on Foreign Relations. "We have no option but to stay involved and committed.
4. On April 20, 2004, Clinton told CNNs Larry King that she did not "regret giving the president the authority, noting that Saddam Hussein "had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade.
5. In October 2005, amid growing anti-war sentiment, Clinton still told the Village Voice: "I dont believe its smart to set a date for withdrawal . . . I dont think its the right time to withdraw.
6. By November 2005, Hillary was softening her stance, saying in a letter to constituents: "If Congress had been asked [to authorize the war], based on what we know now, we never would have agreed.
7. On December 18, 2006, Clinton went even further, saying on the "Today show: "I certainly wouldnt have voted that way.
8. On January 13 of this year, Clinton spoke from Baghdad about President Bushs call for a troop surge: "I dont know that the American people or the Congress at this point believe this mission can work.
9. On January 17, Clinton called for a cap on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and suggested withholding funds for the Iraqi government.
10. Finally, on January 27, Clinton hit the campaign trail in Iowa and demanded that the president "extricate our country from this before he leaves office.
It's '04 all over again.
Gosh. She's spinning as hard as Giuliani and Romney.
Now that she is acting and sounding like a Democrat from the past, I wonder when she will start to look like John Kerry. I also wonder when the Obama-worshippers in the media start to hammer on this change of rhetoric from Senator Clinton.
They went with Kerry, they will go with her. She will outspend anyone and sick her clintonistas on anyone that gets in her way, including the other candidates.
Yes, if we'd just waited a tad longer, Saddam would have converted to Secular Humanism, renounced war and entered a monastery.
If only we knew now what Her Heinous knew then...
These are the words of someone who is not even capable of following much less leading. Which she proved in spades with Hillary Care while her own husband was in the Oval Office. She couldn't push it forward and she wouldn't let anyone help her drag it along.
It depends on what the meaning of "war" is; along with the meaning of every other word I've ever used in my life.