New York Daily News reported Sen. Hillary Clinton left one thing out this week when she tried to explain her views on Iraq - namely that she used to agree almost completely with President Bush, even after the war took a nosedive.
That is true, but she is worried that the extreme left of her party may support someone like Kerry, Dean, or Gore in the primaries, so she has to move back to the left, while still hoping to keep one foot in the center.On Tuesday, Clinton wrote in a 1,600-word letter to supporters that her 2002 vote for war in Iraq was based on "evidence presented by the [Bush] administration." "The 'evidence' of weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda turned out to be false," Clinton wrote.
Is she talking about Bush saying "Saddam has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."? Oh wait, that was said by Madeleine Albright (Nov 10, 1999). Is she talking about Bush saying "Iraq's search for WMDs has proven impossible to deter... it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power"? Oh wait, that was said by Al Gore (Sept 23, 2002). Is she talking about Bush saying "We know that he (Saddam) has stored nuclear supplies, secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons"? Oh wait, that was said by Al Gore (Sept 23, 2002). Is she talking about Bush saying "Saddam Hussein has engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process"? Oh wait, that was said by Nancy Pelosi (Dec 16, 1998). Is she talking about Bush saying "If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, or purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program"? Oh wait, that was said by Bill Clinton (Feb 17, 1998).But just months after the bombs started falling, Clinton (D-N.Y.) called a Daily News reporter to insist she had no second thoughts about her vote for war. The war was worth it just to remove Saddam Hussein from power, she said. Clinton emphatically told The News in her 2003 call, "I felt that it was appropriate under the circumstances, which really went back to 1998 under the Clinton administration's conclusion that the regime had to change, that the President [Bush] had authority to pursue that goal." "Why was the intelligence consistent from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration?" Clinton added. "The intelligence was consistent for over a decade." On the eve of war, even the senator's aides echoed Team Bush's confidence in a swift victory, including one who boasted, "It's going to be a cakewalk."
All of that is true, but you must understand, to a Democrat, truth is whatever you need it to be at the moment, and at this moment, she is worried about the rabid anti-war wing of her party.At the time of the 2003 phone call, the insurgency had blossomed and the White House had finally backed off claims that Iraq had rebuilt its nuclear bomb program. Some experts don't fault Clinton for her omission, but admit she is clearly "feeling the heat" over Iraq. "If the tide shifts, she's on the wrong side of the sea wall," said Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio.
That is why she is sitting on the sea wall, with one foot on one side, and one foot on the other.Flustered Clinton aides yesterday sidestepped the question of why the senator's letter ignored the intelligence from her husband's administration.
If you can't answer it, ignore it.Spokesman Philippe Reines said she "laid out a thoughtful explanation to her constituents of her position on Iraq, reiterating her disagreement with the way the President has used the authority granted to him."