Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama On Clinton On The War

One of the major themes of the Obama campaign has been the superior judgement State Senator Obama, who spoke out against the forthcoming war in Iraq, has shown to that of United States Senator Hillary Clinton (D.- NY), who gave a floor speech in support of the resolution, then voted for it. Now, Hotline On Call reports that the Obama campaign is circulating a new video emphasizing Clinton's vote for S.J. Res 45, with the words "It's a question of judgment. It's a question of preparation. It's a question of accountability. Was it a vote for "inspectors" ... or a vote for war?" flashing on the screen. This is a point consistently emphasized by the Obama campaign- that everyone knew that war was coming and Clinton's vote authorizing force by President Bush was tantamount to a vote for war. Clinton, meanwhile, steadfastly has maintained that hers was a vote not for war, but for inspections.

So who's right? There are a few interesting, and salient, passages in the New York Senator's speech on that unfortunate day, October 10, 2002. She stated "some people are in favor of attacking Saddam Hussein now (but) this course is fraught with danger (and) a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option." She argued "I believe the best course is to go to the UN for a strong resolution that scraps the 1998 restrictions on inspections and calls for complete, unlimited inspections with cooperation expected and demanded from Iraq." She worried "if we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections."

Finally, Clinton explained, "my vote 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 throughout the world.... A vote for (the resolution) is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him- use these poweres wisely and a last resort."

Hillary Clinton, then stating "I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible" (emphasis mine) was fooled by George W. Bush. She used bad judgement, which she appears finally to have conceded when at the 2/26/08 debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Tim Russert asked "But to be clear, you'd like to have your vote back?" and Clinton responded "absolutely. I've said that many times." (O.K., she has not.)

This is true: Hillary Clinton voted to authorize President Bush to use military force if he found it wise; Barack Obama demonstrated wise judgement in his speech opposing military action. But the Obama campaign, aided by a lazy media, has contended all along that Clinton's vote was a vote for war. And, as the evidence demonstrates, they have been wrong, and continue to be wrong.

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