Sen. Clinton deception on war vote fails test of truth

Michael Goodwin:


In Iowa last weekend, Clinton was asked about her 2002 vote to suppport the Iraq war. It's a tough question for her, given the war's unpopularity among Democrats. Moreover, her two leading opponents for the 2008 presidential nomination have crowd-pleasing positions. Former Sen. John Edwards said his vote for the war was a mistake and he regretted it, and Sen. Barack Obama opposed the war before the invasion.

So Clinton's camp sees her pro-war vote as heavy baggage. She has never denounced it or said it was wrong, but, at times, has done something worse. She has lied about the reasons for it.

Sunday in Davenport, Iowa, was one of those times. Asked about her vote by a man in front of a mostly adoring rally, Clinton trotted out the whopper. She said she was misled by President Bush about the resolution. "He said at the time he was going to the United Nations to put inspectors back into Iraq, to figure out whether they still had any WMD," she said, adding, "He took the authority that others and I gave him and he misused it."

That's very similar to how Bill Clinton defended her last year. In an interview with ABC News, he said Dems who voted for the resolution did so only to force Saddam Hussein to give up, not to use force. "They felt, frankly, let down" about the invasion, Clinton said, painting Dems as dupes of Bush.

It's a clever argument, but it's not true. It's not even within spinning distance of being true.

Here are the facts. The resolution passed the Senate on Oct. 10, 2002, by a vote of 77 to 23, with support from Clinton, Edwards and about 20 other Dems.

Its purpose was clear from its title: "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq." Opponents, including Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), voted no because they thought it meant war was inevitable.

Actually when you compare her statements at the time, as Rush Limbaugh did yesterday, playing clips from 2003 and later, she makes clear that she did not rely on President Bush, but made her on independent inquiry to come to the conclusion that Saddam had WMD and needed to be removed. That people are beginning to recognize the dishonesty of the Democrats on this issue is encouraging, but it is probably too late to keep them from continuing on their desperate pursuit of defeat for the US.


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