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Bill Clinton Lied About The First Gulf War Too

From the archives of the New York Times:

THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats; Clinton Defends Position on Iraqi War

By MICHAEL KELLY,
Published: July 31, 1992

For the second time this week, the festering matter of Saddam Hussein intruded into the 1992 Presidential race, as Bill Clinton found himself unexpectedly on the defensive today in attempting to answer Republican accusations that he had misrepresented himself as an early supporter of the use of force against the Iraqi dictator.

Mr. Clinton had called a news conference on the lawn of the Governor’s mansion here in hopes of scoring a few quick points against President Bush in light of economic figures released today that show the nation’s recovery weaker than Mr. Bush has been inclined to admit.

But the questioning quickly turned to accusations raised by the second of the Bush-Quayle campaign’s new daily anti-Clinton press releases. In the statement issued by the Republican campaign’s Washington headquarters, Mary Matalin, the deputy campaign manager, accused Mr. Clinton of “riding tall in the straddle” in suggesting in public comments that he had been “an early and unambiguous supporter of the President’s use of force against the Iraqi army.”

At issue is whether Mr. Clinton was among those political leaders who unequivocally supported military action against Iraq or whether he favored delaying the onset of war in hopes that the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations might force the Iraqis to withdraw from Kuwait.

In explaining his position today, Mr. Clinton seemed to suggest the he had been for both courses of action.

“What I said was that I had a great deal of sympathy with those who were arguing that sanctions had not been given adequate time,” he said. “But that the Congress could not afford to go on record, in my judgment, undermining the U.N. position that the war was legal on January 15, and that I thought the Congress should vote to support the U.N. resolution to make the war legal on January 15, and that they could argue tactically if they wished whether hostilities should commence on the 15th or on some later date.”

A review of Mr. Clinton’s public statements on the war supports his recollection of his position, but also appears to support the idea that he was, at bottom, a very late and very ambiguous supporter of the war, and that he later sought to suggest otherwise, in political appearances and interviews. ‘I Supported the Gulf War’

On a number of occasions, and as recently as Tuesday, Mr. Clinton has made remarks that indicated, in clear language, that he was a firm supporter of the war.

“I supported the gulf war, and supported being firm with Saddam Hussein,” Mr. Clinton told reporters in Illinois on Tuesday, in one of several such remarks he made during the course of statements harshly criticizing Mr. Bush for his handling of Mr. Hussein and the war.

He made a similar statement during a March 1992 breakfast with Washington reporters, saying, “I supported the President’s policy in the Persian Gulf,” and he used this stance during a televised debate last December to differentiate himself from his Democratic opponents in the Presidential primary process.

His reported statements in the weeks and months leading to the war were, in keeping with his statement today, much more ambivalent, and suggested a position neither precisely in support of nor precisely opposed to the use of force.

He does not appear to have taken a publicly reported position at all before Jan. 14, 1991, two days after Congress voted to give the President authority to go to war.

He was first quoted on the subject in the Jan. 15 issue of The Pine Bluff Commercial, in an article by The Associated Press and in an article the same day in The Arkansas Gazette.

In the Associated Press article, Mr. Clinton is quoted as saying that, if he had been a member of Congress, he probably — not certainly — would have voted with the majority to grant the President war-making authority, but that he personally agreed with the arguments voiced by the minority, that the United Nations sanctions ought to be given more time to work. “I guess I would have voted for the majority if it was a close vote,” Mr. Clinton was quoted as saying. “But I agree with the arguments the minority made.”

He suggested that a vote to give the President authority to go to war was not necessarily a vote for immediate military action, saying that many members had cast their votes even though they believed that the economic sanctions should have been given more time to succeed.

The Associated Press article, which ran under the headline “Clinton Waffles on War Decision,” quoted the Arkansas Governor as saying, “I agree with the arguments of the people in the minority on the resolution — that we should give sanctions more time and maybe even explore a full-scale embargo.”

Asked about that quote in today’s news conference, Mr. Clinton said: “I don’t know what the quote was, but let me tell you what I said. What I said was that even if I agreed with the arguments about sanctions, I still would have voted with the majority because Congress, in my judgment, shouldn’t take a stand undermining the impact of the U.N. resolution, and I still believe that.”

In retrospect, Mr. Clinton added, “It was clear the sanctions would not have worked.”

Mr. Clinton has never been able to be straight and direct about anything. No matter what.

Ever.

“I guess I would have voted for the majority if it was a close vote,” Mr. Clinton was quoted as saying. “But I agree with the arguments the minority made.”

And:

He suggested that a vote to give the President authority to go to war was not necessarily a vote for immediate military action…

Gee, where have we heard this line before?

Do we really want another eight years of such cowardly bullshit “leadership”?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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