Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has told an Iowa audience that she was deceived on the congressional vote to take military action against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, contradicting an earlier video recording in which she testifies that her decision was made based on her own information and intelligence.
The opposing statements were revealed in a series of recordings, one from a meeting she held with Code Pink, an anti-war organization, in 2003, and the second from statements she made during her weekend visit to Iowa, the state with early presidential race caucuses.
For example, in 2003, she said she supported the war effort because of the sound information and intelligence to which she had access.
“I ended up voting for the resolution after carefully reviewing the information, intelligence that I had available, talking with people whose opinions I trusted, tried to discount the political or other factors that I didn’t believe should be in any way a part of this decision,” she said.
But in 2007, she said Bush tricked her into giving that support.
“So he took the authority that I and others gave him and he misused it, and I regret that deeply. And if we had known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote and I never would have voted to give this president that authority.”
In another instance, on the subject of the U.S. going it alone, in 2003 she said, ” 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…”
But in 2007, she said, “I said that we should not go to war unless we have allies.”
On the reason and need for war, in 2003, she said: “There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm’s way, 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’ve followed for more than a decade. If he were serious about disarming, he would have been much more forthcoming.”
But in 2007, it was: “This was his (the president’s) decision to go to war. He went with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy, and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office.”
“There are no do-overs in life. I wish there were. You know, I acted on the best judgment that I had at the time, and at the time I said this was not a vote for preemptive war, and the president took my vote and other votes and basically misused the authority we gave him,” she continued.
The actual resolution on which Clinton voted noted that Iraq had violated a United Nations agreement to cease fire and eliminate its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs, and “in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire” tried to hide its weapons.
And since “Congress concluded that Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security,” the resolution “urged the president to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.”
And the congressional approval noted the U.N. already had authorized “the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections…”
Congress’ own approval came in a statement that read: “The president is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”
Over the weekend in Iowa, Clinton said she resents the fact that George Bush won’t have the war on terror wrapped up before the next president takes office. “I think it’s the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it.”
It was some months ago that Clinton started admitting that she thought her vote for the war was a mistake – in an apparent attempt to pacify the left wing of the Democrat Party.
She has insisted she was misled by “false” information about Iraq and its weapons, and she charged the U.S. acted before the U.N. had an opportunity.
Picking her ground carefully, she has said: “I have continually raised doubts about the President’s claims, lack of planning and execution of the war – while standing firmly in support of our troops.”
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