Friday, June 6, 2008

Hillary's war vote needs to be re visted, again

Obama did not vote against the war. He didn't vote period.
Obama was not a US Senator at the time.
Obama was not in Washington DC at the time.
Obama did not have access to the experts nor the secret documents that lead to any decision by anyone in Congress. True the documents were illegally and immorally altered by the corrupt Bush administration. But that's a fight for another day. That's not what this is about. The documents and knowledge at the time is all the Congress and Senate had to go on. Obama was not there. He was not in any way shape or form a part of the process. Obama was a guy sitting at home with an opinion, just like you and me.

Obama's war record originally from Fact Hub (which has now been scrubbed from Hillary's campaign site).

Since Obama's time in the US Senate he has supported and voted for everything Bush has asked for (for) this war. He has opposed nothing.

Media Matters takes on the media for their twisting the facts about Hillary and her vote, and what she's said and done since then.

David Brooks explains Hillary's vote in a detailed piece here. A pretty good account of what Hillary did leading up to that vote. Which by the way, was by no means the single vote that sent us to war.
No Apology Needed
New York Times
David Brooks

Far be it from me to get in the middle of a liberal purge, but would anybody mind if I pointed out that the calls for Hillary Clinton to apologize for her support of the Iraq war are almost entirely bogus?

I mean, have the people calling for her apology actually read the speeches she delivered before the war? Have they read her remarks during the war resolution debate, when she specifically rejected a pre-emptive, unilateral attack on Saddam? Did they read the passages in which she called for a longer U.N. inspections regime and declared, "I believe international support and legitimacy are crucial"?

If they went back and read what Senator Clinton was saying before the war, they'd be surprised, as I was, by her approach. And they'd learn something, as I did, about what kind of president she would make.

The Iraq war debate began in earnest in September 2002. At that point Clinton was saying in public what Colin Powell was saying in private: emphasizing the need to work through the U.N. and build a broad coalition to enforce inspections.

She delivered her Senate resolution speech on Oct. 10. It was Clintonian in character. On the one hand, she rejected the Bush policy of pre-emptive war. On the other hand, she also rejected the view that the international community "should only resort to force if and when the United Nations Security Council approves it." Drawing on the lessons of Bosnia, she said sometimes the world had to act, even if the big powers couldn't agree.

She sought a third way: more U.N. resolutions, more inspections, more diplomacy, with the threat of force reserved as a last resort. She was triangulating, but the Senate resolution offered her a binary choice. She voted yes in order to give Powell bipartisan leverage at the U.N.

This is how she's always explained that vote, and I confess that until now, I've regarded her explanation as a transparent political dodge. Didn't everyone know this was a war resolution? But now, having investigated her public comments, I think diplomatic leverage really was on her mind. I also know, from a third person, that she was spending a lot of time with Powell and wanted to help.

On Nov. 8, 2002, the Security Council passed a unanimous resolution threatening Saddam with "serious consequences" if he didn't disarm.

The next crucial period came in March 2003, as the U.S. battled France over the second Security Council resolution. Clinton's argument at this point was that inspections were working and should be given more time. "It is preferable that we do this in a peaceful manner through coercive inspection," she said on March 3, but went on, "At some point we have to be willing to uphold the United Nations resolutions." Then she added, "This is a very delicate balancing act."

On March 17, Bush gave Saddam 48 hours to disarm or face attack. Clinton tried to be critical of the Bush policy while being deferential to the office of the presidency. She clearly had doubts about Bush's timing, but she kept emphasizing that from her time in the White House, she knew how unhelpful it was for senators to be popping off in public on foreign policy.

At one press event in New York, she nodded when Charles Rangel said Bush had failed at the U.N. But when reporters asked Clinton to repeat what Rangel had just said, she bit her tongue. On March 17, as U.S. troops mobilized, she issued her strongest statement in support of the effort.

Clinton's biggest breach with the liberal wing actually opened up later, in the fall of 2003. Most liberals went into full opposition, wanting to see Bush disgraced. Clinton -- while an early critic of the troop levels, the postwar plans and all the rest -- tried to stay constructive. She wanted to see America and Iraq succeed, even if Bush was not disgraced.

When you look back at Clinton's thinking, you don't see a classic war supporter. You see a person who was trying to seek balance between opposing arguments. You also see a person who deferred to the office of the presidency. You see a person who, as president, would be fox to Bush's hedgehog: who would see problems in their complexities rather than in their essentials; who would elevate procedural concerns over philosophical ones; who would postpone decision points for as long as possible; and who would make distinctions few heed.

Today, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party believes that the world, and Hillary Clinton in particular, owes it an apology. If she apologizes, she'll forfeit her integrity. She will be apologizing for being herself.

Note: David Brooks is a republican writer who regularly defends the Bush administration and always finds something to belittle the left with, especially anyone named 'Clinton'.

Also note where he said Hillary worked with Colin Powell. While Obama's sermons consist of rhetoric that they must all cross party lines and work together, Hillary Clinton has a record of crossing that line consistently, working with some of the most controversial Republicans in the Senate, in order to get things accomplished for the good of the people.

More about Hillary Clinton

MTP - Tim Russert pointed out that the title of the resolution was the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002." Clinton responded saying, "We can have this Jesuitical argument about what exactly was meant. But when Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution said, 'It was not a vote for war,' What I was told directly by the White House in response to my question, 'If you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job,' I was told that's exactly what we intended to do. "

There were numerous amendments to that War Resolution vote

One being to set time limits. That bill failed but Hillary did vote for a time limit of 1 year

That Amendment: Byrd Amdt. No. 4869, As Amended; To provide a termination date for the authorization of the use of the Armed Forces of the United States, together with procedures for the extension of such date unless Congress disapproves the extension

As the link I provided above for Media Matters points out, the truth is that the majority of voters are not concerned with Hillary's vote and in fact felt it was the right decision. It states that only 14% were concerned with her vote and it weighted heavily on their (political) decisions.

Hillary was confronted with a large group of Code Pink back then, an unfriendly confrontation and she held to her convictions, like it or not, take it or leave it, this is a portion of what she said.

"Hillary's response when confronted in a meeting by Code Pink:

"...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 the intelligence I had available...talking with people whose opinion I trusted, trying to discount political or other factors that I didn't believe should be in any way a part of this decision."

The people she refers to when saying she got advice from those she respected, were military people, generals and people in the Pentagon. Can we say at the time any of us would have done differently? I don't know. But when you have a huge decision to make and you know you don't have the expertise to make that decision yourself, I think the logical step is to go to those with that expertise and hear their take on the actions set forth in the resolution. Get the advice of these (so called) experts and then come to some conclusion. Can anyone doubt that Hillary's intentions at the time were to keep the people of this country safe? I think it's ridiculous that to this day people are still using this vote to castrate her and demonize her and spit on her candidacy for the presidency.
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