Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Senator Clinton on Iraq, February 2003

I always opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Like many -- because of the "information," if we want to call it that, that was provided by the Bush administration -- I believed that Saddam Hussein possessed a WMD arsenal in 2003. Still, I opposed invasion and occupation, because I absolutely thought it was the wrong solution. I did not believe that simply removing Saddam Hussein was going to result in the formation of a model democracy in the heart of the Middle East; instead, I feared it would create an opening for the sectarian and ethnic divisions of the country to explode into civil war, and I greatly feared what would happen to the weapons I believed were there in the ensuing destabilization of the country. I did not believe that the inevitable deaths of innocent Iraqis and American soldiers were going to be worth the head of Saddam Hussein. I did not believe we were going to be in and out in six months or year, and I was not convinced we had a plan to put Iraq back together again.

I knew enough about Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's geostrategic goals to know there was no possibility of collaboration with Saddam Hussein.

Okay, so I was wrong. Iraq didn't have any WMD's, at all. But other than that, I was right on the money.

As the Bush Administration continued to attempt to make its case for war, I wrote to Hillary Clinton, who was my senator, to urge her to oppose military action in Iraq. This was her response to me.


Anonymous said...

A new book shows Saddam did support al Qaeda and the Taliban:

'Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents'

Andy said...

Oh, puh-lease, Mary.

Anonymous said...

Picture it, 2003, Washington, DC. A fierce storm raged outside the Senate Chamber. All voices were silenced as the sound of thunder rattled through the hall. The only sound coming from inside was Senator Foley quietly texting away. Who was he texting? All the Senators had voted. Fifty neas and forty-nine yeas. She would break the tie. Just then, a bolt of lighting hits the capital dome, the lights flicker, the sound of thunder roared through the room and shook the Senators to their bones. The front hooves of her powerful, all-white horse burst open the doors to the locked chamber. Clad in a pantsuit of armor, she rode horseback. Hillary had arrived.

A whimpering, lassoed Vice President in tow, she rode gallantly to the front of the chamber and cast her yea vote in favor of the declaration of war on Iraq. Fifty neas, and now fifty yeas, a tie. All eyes turned to Dick, but her penetrating glare instilled so much fear in him, his vote was all but certain. The President of the Senate let out a barely audible whimper, “Yea.” The declaration of war passed, but there was still the matter of a reluctant President.

Hillary tossed Cheney aside like a used, bloody tampon. On to the White House! As she rode her horse up Pennsylvania avenue, neo-cons of all stripes turned out, despite the storm, to line the streets. They chanted in perfect unison, “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!”

When she reached the White House lawn, the torch-wielding, pitchfork-carrying neo-cons closed ranks behind her. They demanded that the President come out. Just before the neo-cons set fire to the White House, a beleaguered President came out of the mansion. Hillary extended her arm and clasped George at his forearm. In one swift motion she hoisted him up, affording him the privilege of riding on her steed. A dignity that she denied his Vice President.

With great haste, they rode to an awaiting Los Angeles class submarine moored on the Potomac. Once aboard the submarine, Hillary ordered the captain, “To the Persian Gulf!! Full speed ahead!!” During the entire journey, Hillary tightly held the President’s wrist. His finger poised over the button that would eventually launch the first cruise missile into Iraq. The rest is history.

But who could have stopped this determined warmonger named Hillary? Who could have prevented our generation’s Iron Lady from single handedly starting the war? Where was our not-so-white knight to ride to our rescue? Alas, he was apparently trapped in the Illinois State Senate, casting a crucial vote. Present.

That’s how it all went down. Pretty amazing, huh? Who could ever vote for such a warmongering woman?

Andy said...

Cleverly written, but not really on target.

For one thing, the vote to authorize force against Iraq was 77-23, not an even split.

I don't think Obama is the messiah. I don't think he can magically fix everything. And I think, frankly, it's rude of you to mock my support for him with your insinuation that I think Obama is, by your argument, in some way responsible for the Iraq war because he failed to do anything other than speak out against it. By your own point of argument, he was in the Illinois state legislature at the time -- what authority could he have wielded beyond what he did?

I do not blame Hillary for the Iraq invasion; I fault her for trusting people (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Kristol) that given her loudly proclaimed "35 years of experience" she should have known were untrustable. I firmly believe her vote to authorize force against Iraq had everything to do with her trying to position herself as a 2008 presidential candidate, trying to send a message that she may be a woman but she doesn't shy away from using military force. I think that was a strategic vote, and I think it will and has backfired on her in multiple ways.

Speaking of votes, you bring up Obama's "present" votes in Illinois. Clinton mentioned those a long time ago...and hasn't brought them up in a while. Wonder why? Because when you read his explanations, you understand that his decision to register as "present" rather than voting directly on some of these bills was actually the principled position to take. These weren't "real" bills, they were transparent attempts by Republicans to force Democrats to vote on controversial issues in order to use them as wedges in election season. Quite the opposite of Hillary's decision to vote for Iraq in order to appear decisive, tough and presidential, the "present" votes show Obama saying, "I get your game. I'm on to you. And, no, I am not going to play along."

In just one of many examples, there was a highly controversial abortion bill in Illinois on which Obama voted "present." Pro-choicers had a COW over that one, until it was revealed that Obama's vote was advised by none other than Planned Parenthood itself.

Z. Hubbard said...

If you oppose the war, how can you vote for Barack or Hillary?

Hillary gave this administration the authorization to declare war and has voted to fund the war continuously. Barack, who was not in the senate at the time of the authorization vote has voted to fund the war each time the opportunity has come across his plate.

Sure, he spoke out against the war in the beginning but he didn't face the same political ramifications as Hillary. He also was not subjected to the same intelligence members of the house and senate were presented with.

Its hard to say what he would have done had he been faced with the authorization vote had he been in the senate at the time.

What is telling is his inaction towards the buildup for war with Iran. In the debates, he has said all options are on the table with regards to Iran. He has voted in favor of sanctions and he skipped the vote which labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

He has made it clear he isn't the candidate for perpetual peace. Obama and Hillary are both on the record stating that they will not support the Stop Outsourcing Security Act. Further, Obama has said that if he is to become the next president he plans to use privatized military forces for longterm strategic purposes in areas throughout the world including Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you're anti-war, vote for a third party. Its time to send a message to the Democratic Party -- If you're going to behave like Republicans, we're not going to support you.

Nader '08.

DJRainDog said...

Are you fucking kidding me?! Are there still people on this planet who take Nader (Nadir? Ha! Punny!) seriously?! Who view him as a viable candidate?! Who are still trying to beat a de facto bipartisan system at its own game?! Look, I hate La Clinton, El Obama, M'lad McCain, and ESPECIALLY everyone currently in office...But when the guillotine is set up n the Capitol steps and my regime begins, it's that fucktard Ralph's head I want first! America is a failed experiment, kids. Face facts; start the revolution NOW! (Jefferson would be proud.)

Andy said...

Well, Zach, I think the simplest response I can give to you is that I believe there is a time and a place for military action. Iraq wasn't it. And on Barack's votes to continue to fund the war, I accept his explanation that once the bus was driven into the ditch, there were only so many options for getting out.

Jeff said...

Regarding Ralph Nader: he's not a third-party candidate this time. He's running as an independent. He's not even seeking the Green Party nomination. If he were really interested in getting rid of the two-party system, he would work to get members of a third party elected to Congress. Instead, it seems to be all about himself.

And he's not even interested in getting elected president. Here's what he said on "Meet the Press" last week: "If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form." So why the hell is he running?

Z. Hubbard said...

Andy - There is only one way out of the war. That is to stop funding it. Barack Obama has made it clear that he has intentions of maintaining a military presence in Iraq for the longterm whether it be our growing private military or our volunteer army. Rhetoric is easy to see through.

Jeff - Nader is running in hopes of pushing the Democratic ticket further to the left. I applaud him for this. Further, he will receive my vote. I cannot give my vote to a party who is unwilling to hold this administration accountable. I see nothing but political cowards left on the stage who aren't fit for the office.

Jeff said...

Point taken, but the thing is, I've never understood how that works. Regardless of the merits of Nader's positions (which I don't necessarily disagree with), if a candidate moves to the left to pick up Nader supporters, he or she will lose some other supporters.