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Hillary: I didn't vote for war

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  • Greg Cannon
    Shall we give her the benefit of the doubt and suppose that she just didn t read this section of the bill? : SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2007
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      Shall we give her the benefit of the doubt and suppose
      that she just didn't read this section of the bill? :

      SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED
      FORCES.

      (a) AUTHORIZATION. 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

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

      http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Hillary%3a%2BI%2Bdidn%27t%2Bvote%2Bfor%2Bwar&articleId=f188127c-d8a3-4c2e-b089-7a0dbf1c2880
      Hillary: I didn't vote for war

      By JOHN DISTASO
      Senior Political Reporter
      Saturday, Feb. 10, 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.

      While fellow candidate John Edwards, a former senator,
      has apologized for his vote on the October 2002
      resolution, Clinton again did not.

      "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. She last
      visited the state in 1996.

      ►For bulletins on breaking political news in the
      first primary state, sign up for our NewsAlerts.
      Subscribers to that free service knew about this story
      first.

      Also yesterday, Clinton said she would campaign in New
      Hampshire even if the primary date set by Secretary of
      State William Gardner under a state law does not
      comply with the Jan. 22, 2008, date written into a new
      party rule by Democratic National Committee (see
      related story).

      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."

      And what may have been veiled criticism of at least
      some of her Democratic opponents, Clinton said, "This
      is a very difficult situation we find ourselves in,
      and anyone who thinks there are easy answers or flip
      rhetoric that can be used is not fully appreciating
      the challenge that those of us confront who are trying
      to set up circumstances that will persuade the
      President to do what we all expect and want him to
      do."

      Clinton did not say how she would have voted on New
      Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg's proposed
      nonbinding Senate resolution simply opposing any cuts
      in troop funding. She said she backed a resolution by
      Republican Sen. John Warner and Democratic Sen. Carl
      Levin to oppose the Bush troop "surge" while also
      opposing a funding cut.

      Bush, she said, "has proven impervious to the election
      results, so we are trying to get the political support
      we need in the Congress" to pass a strong
      anti-escalation statement in a nonbinding resolution.

      She said the breakdown of efforts in the Senate this
      week to pass the Warner-Levin resolution was the
      result of "a Republican strategic decision to try to
      divert attention from doing that very straightforward
      task of sending a clear message to the White House."

      She supported even stronger measures, saying, "The
      President should have to get a new congressional
      authorization if he is going to move down this path."

      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.

      Elaborating, she said: "But once a President asks for
      such authority, you either vote to give it to him or
      vote to withhold it from him. If you look at the
      options that were available, giving the President
      authority to make it very clear to the security
      council, to Iraq and to the world that we were serious
      about forcing Saddam Hussein to comply with his
      obligations under various United Nations' resolutions
      and the agreement he entered into at the end of the
      first Gulf War was a reasonable policy.

      "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."

      The Washington Post reported yesterday that a Pentagon
      inspector general had found that intelligence provided
      by a former undersecretary of defense to buttress the
      White House case for the invasion included "reporting
      of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the
      political views of senior administration officials.

      "This unfortunately confirms what we've been
      discovering in the last three years," Clinton said,
      "that the administration never intended to let the
      inspectors complete their work despite assurances to
      the contrary and that they gilded the lily on the
      intelligence they had."

      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.
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