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More Lies From Hillary About Her Iraq Vote

From New Hampshire’s Manchester Union Leader:

Hillary: I didn’t vote for war

February 9, 2007

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…

"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…

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." …

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

"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." …

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.

Hillary Clinton is a liar.

Once again, here are excerpts from my transcription of Ms. Clinton’s remarks to (a hostile) Code Pink gathering, two weeks before the start of the Iraq War, which you can also watch via YouTube:

Hillary Clinton, March 6, 2003

… There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm’s way, and that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm. And I have absolutely no belief that he will. I have to say that this is something I have followed for more than a decade

And the very difficult question for all of us is how does one bring about the disarmament of someone with such a proven track record of a commitment if not an obsession with weapons of mass destruction. And I ended up voting for the resolution after carefully reviewing the information and intelligence that I had available, talking with people whose opinions I trusted, trying to discount political or other factors that I didn’t believe should be in any way a part this decision.

And it is unfortunate that we are at the point of a potential military action to enforce the resolution. That is not my preference, it would be far preferable if we not only had legitimate cooperation from Saddam Hussein and a willingness on his part to disarm and account for his chemical and biological storehouses, but that if we had a much broader alliance and coalition.

But we are in a very difficult position right now…

With respect to whose responsibility it is to disarm Saddam Hussein. I just do not believe that given the attitudes of many people in the world community today that there would be a willingness to take on very difficult problems were it not for the United States leadership.

And I’m talking specifically about what had to be done in Bosnia and Kosovo, where my husband could not get a Security Council Resolution to save the the Kosavar Albanians from ethnic cleansing. And we did it alone as the United States. And we had to do it alone

I am willing to take a very difficult step for me to say we have to disarm this man

And as we have noted before, once the war was fought and won, the Iraqi regime overthrown and Saddam captured, Hillary Rodham was singing a vastly different tune before the Council On Foreign Relations:

Remarks by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

December 15, 2003
Council on Foreign Relations

…When we were attacked on September the 11th and when we lost nearly 3,000 men, women and children, for many Americans, that was also a loss of innocence and a sense of invulnerability. I remain absolutely confident in our eventual victory over the forces of terror, but I also believe that we have our work cut out for us and that what we face is a long-term challenge that not only is external but internal, as we define who we are, what our values should be in the face of this new threat…

It is essential that we win this war against these borderless terrorists

I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote. I have had many disputes and disagreements with the administration over how that authority has been used, but I stand by the vote to provide the authority because I think it was a necessary step in order to maximize the outcome that did occur in the Security Council with the unanimous vote to send in inspectors. And I also knew that our military forces would be successful. But what we did not appreciate fully and what the administration was unprepared for was what would happen the day after.

It has been a continuing theme of my criticism and others that we would be further along, we would have more legitimacy, we would diminish the opposition and resentment that is fueling whatever remains of the insurgency if we had been willing to move to internationalize our presence and further action in Iraq. I believe that today. And in fact, I think that we now have a new opportunity for the administration to do just that.

We could, if the administration were to be so inclined, open the door to a stronger and wider coalition that would help us rebuild and safeguard Iraq and provide a transition to self-government…

So what could we do to try to take advantage of this moment in time? Well, I have both some suggestions and some questions. First, I am worried about the administration’s announced plans to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis by next July, the way that those plans have been announced and how they would proceed. The process coincides with the first major troop rotation, meaning that thousands of seasoned American forces will be withdrawing precisely during the time of great domestic sensitivity and even perhaps increased peril. That could be a recipe for disaster

There are many other issues about our presence in Iraq and the transition that we are attempting to bring about. Among them are the continuing challenges that the Iraqi Civil Defense Force, the police force and the army face.

The Iraqi Civil Defense Force received high marks from both the civilian and military Americans on the ground. They’re beginning to do quite a good job patrolling with Americans, as I saw in Kirkuk. But they need more training, they need vehicles, they need uniforms, they need communications equipment. We are further behind with respect to the Iraqi army, but again we can improve conditions there by increasing the pay and the prestige in order to stop the widespread resignation — as high as 20 percent — that is occurring.

We also have to reconsider including Ba’athists who were Ba’athists in name only in positions of responsibility, such as teaching and the medical profession. When we disbanded the army, we disbanded the army of teachers and doctors and others who were compelled, in many instances, to join the party in order to practice their profession and continue their livelihood in Iraq under Saddam.

We are also going to be facing a tremendous movement of people throughout Iraq with the Hajj in late January and early February. There is a pent-up desire among many Iraqis to go to Mecca. So we will have thousands, if not millions, of people on the roads, moving across the country. We will also probably have people coming from Syria and Jordan and elsewhere. There is no way that I can imagine we could prevent that, but providing for the security that will be necessary during this period is an enormous undertaking. And it is only slightly before the date that the massive transfer and movement of our own troops take place. So first, dealing with the Hajj, and then secondly, dealing with our own troops, in mass numbers on the road in their equipment, poses another significant security challenge because, of course, as some troops are moving out, the other troops haven’t yet come in. So we’re going to be in a transition there, as well.

So the question that I was asked most frequently when I returned was, well, are you optimistic or pessimistic, and I have to confess that my answer is neither. I am both a little optimistic and a little pessimistic, but what I’m trying to do is be realistic about where we are and what we need to be successful.

To that end, I applauded both Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld for their recent trip to NATO to persuade NATO to become involved in Iraq. This may be somewhat tardy, but it is very welcome. Unfortunately, there has not been a very positive response from NATO as of yet. At this point, I think, NATO — and indeed, non-NATO allies — have as much of a stake in the success of Iraq as we do. And therefore, they should be looking to work with the administration to create the opportunities that they can then pursue to become more involved in Iraq. It would be extremely important and it would remove the taint of this being an American occupation.

Secondly, I would strongly recommend we create some kind of organization — call it what you will; the Iraq Reconstruction and Stabilization Authority, or whatever name is chosen. It could include a proper role for NATO and for the U.N., which would replace the Coalition Provisional Authority, which would add both military and civilian resources so that this was not just an American occupation, and would provide more flexibility for us in achieving the timetable at whatever speed is appropriate to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis…

Finally, with regard to both Iraq and Afghanistan, we need more of something that is often in short supply here in our country: patience. I was struck, during our briefing at the embassy in Kabul, by a comment made by one of our U.S. aid workers, who had recently returned from the Southeast and had met with a number of former Taliban, so-called former Taliban. And one of these former Taliban said, "Americans may have all the watches, but we have all the time." I think it’s a lesson that we forget at our peril. This will not be an easy undertaking. It will require patience, and it will require the continuing support of the American people.

I was struck, in my briefing with Ambassador Bremer — his frequent reference to the American occupation in Germany. I think we’ve all heard Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Wolfowitz and others refer to the German example. There certainly are lessons to be learned from that, and in some respects we have actually exceeded the time line in place there. The banking system is further along than it was at the time in the post-World War II era in Germany. There is a central bank that’s up and going, to some extent.

But it took 10 years to create a stable, sovereign government, and we still have troops in Germany, as we do in Japan, as we do in South Korea, as we do in Bosnia, as we do in Kosovo. So the idea that we can somehow bring about dramatic transformational change in either a short period of time or with a relatively limited financial commitment is contradicted by our own history. And therefore we have not only the need for patience but a sense that we are going to be involved over the long run, or we will not guarantee or create the conditions for potential success

And finally, let me just end with a few remarks about what we need to do to maintain domestic support for the patience that is required and the commitment that we’ve undertaken, since failure is not an option. It is extremely important that the administration level with the American people about the costs and the sacrifices that will be required in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in the ongoing war against terror…

Ms. Clinton then went on to rail, as she always does, about the tremendous need to raise taxes to avoid the inevitable collapse of the US economy.

It’s clear, however, that Hillary was still very much gung-ho for the Iraq war, apart from her laughably idiotic concerns (the Hajj transpires in Saudi Arabia) and knee-jerk suggestions (bringing in the UN).

She seemed blithely unaware the most of the "international community" were unwilling to join us in Iraq. And, lest we forget, her heroes at the UN skedaddled after the first car bomb went off in front of their luxury hotel.

Ironically, Ms. Clinton’s primary complaint was that we were rushing the Iraqis. She claimed we were rushing the transfer of power and the elections. She insisted that we needed more patience. Of course now she is saying we never pushed the Iraqis hard enough.

Similarly, in her speech before the CFR Hillary said we needed to increase the pay of the Iraqi Army. Now she says we need to cut their funds.

And more risible still, the bulk of her speech was about Afghanistan. She insisted that was the place we really needed to keep our eyes on.

But who knows what to make of what she says? And, really, why bother trying to puzzle it out?

Tomorrow it was be something completely different.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, February 10th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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