By J.B. Williams
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Oh what a difference a few years and a new political agenda make, if you're a leading Democrat Presidential wannabe in '07. If you think this is just another Hillary-bashing column, think again. As you will see, this could be written about any one of the dozen Democrats seeking the highest office in the land!
That was then, October 10, 2002, a little more than a year after 9/11 and only a few months before Bush would order coalition troops to depose the Hussein regime in Iraq.
"In the four years since the inspectors left [were kicked out of Iraq], intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members...
It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." (Senator Hillary Clinton addressing the US Senate concerning Iraq)
It was this belief, along with this one, "Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price." Sen. Clinton September 13, 2001, that caused Senator Clinton to vote in favor of military action to eliminate the Hussein regime threat in 2002.
Her blind supporters claim that she and all other Democrats who voted for war in Iraq held these beliefs as a result of faulty intelligence and/or misleading Bush estimates. Of course, her [their] pre-war position [s] on Iraq pre-dates the 2000 election that put Bush in the White House in January '01. If they were following anyones lead in these beliefs, it was her husband Bill Clinton's lead, whom along with all other Democrat leaders, made these same claims for years.
But this is now, January 2007, as the campaigns for the next President of the United States heat up. In her Des Moines début, presidential candidate Clinton attempted to explain her 2002 vote in favor of a Senate resolution "to authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq" (S.J. Res. 45): "I said that we should not go to war unless we have allies. So (President Bush) took the authority that I and others gave him and he misused it, and I regret that deeply. And if we had known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote and I never would have voted to give this president that authority."
This is the nuanced version of events now popular among Democrat leaders as they seek to find common ground with their party's core Code Pink constituency. Of course, we have allies, many allies. What they mean is, unless France and Russia approve, both of which were profiting by keeping the Hussein regime in business, undermining the UN sanctions via the Oil for Food Scam.
While conservatives have been talking about this tangled web of Democrat lies for years, the lamestream press has nearly broken it's collective neck trying to look the other way and ignore the very real set of events that lead our nation to depose the Hussein regime, namely, 12 years of failed diplomacy and 16 ignored UN resolutions under her husbands watch, which ended with four years of no inspections at all and little current data concerning Iraq's real WMD status.
However, on March 7, 2003, speaking to a room full of Code Pink members, Clinton tried a different approach to justify her pro-war vote. "There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm's way, that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm. And I have absolutely no belief that he will. I have to say that this is something I've followed for more than a decade. If he were serious about disarming, he would have been much more forthcoming. ... I ended up voting for the resolution after carefully reviewing the information, intelligence that I had available, talking with people whose opinions I trusted, trying to discount the political or other factors that I didn't believe should be in any way part of this decision."
This statement followed her October '02 wish/recommendation to President Bush, her educated strategy for dealing with an increasingly belligerent Iraq regime. "In the case of Iraq, recent comments indicate that one or two Security Council members might never approve force against Saddam Hussein until he has actually used chemical, biological, or God forbid, nuclear weapons."
"While there is no perfect approach to this thorny dilemma, and while people of good faith and high intelligence can reach diametrically opposed conclusions, 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."
Of course, this statement was not only a subtle indictment of her husbands failed diplomacy and a call for reversing his 1998 UN resolution with stronger language and real inspections, it was an idea that had been tried for the previous ten years without success, 16 times to be exact. It was also a notion that seemed at odds with her own belief that "There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm's way, that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm. And I have absolutely no belief that he will."
Despite the obvious inconsistency and overly cautious tone in her recommendation, Bush did in fact return to the UN for yet another ignored resolution, number 17, before proceeding to the "when all else fails" position of a so-called "pre-emptive" strike, known also as a "preventive" strike.
She offered consolation to the Code Pink audience by reminding them that "sometimes the United States has to go it alone" and she specifically compared Iraq with Bosnia and Kosovo "where my husband could not get a Security Council resolution to save the Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing. And we did it alone as the United States, and we had to do it alone."
That was then, and now, presidential wannabe Hillary adopts her strongest position yet, ''If I had been president in October 2002, I would not have started this war,'' Clinton said in a forceful speech, adding that "if Congress does not end the conflict before January 2009, I will if I am the next president." Obviously, this is not at all consistent with then Senator Hillary Clinton.
Conservatives have been pointing out for years now, that this is not a person suited for the most powerful office in the world, especially during a time of war and if her world-class flip-flops on one of the most pressing issues of our time don't prove it, nothing will.
But it may not be conservatives who rally to derail her '08 White House bid. The Code Pink core of today's Democratic Party seems more agitated by Clinton's political maneuvering than anyone and this 15 minute video goes a long way towards explaining Hillary's recent return to her liberal roots. She can not win the White House without the full support of this group and all those voters in this nation who believe what they believe. This is the current base of the Democratic Party, without whom, she will at best, remain a junior NY Senator.
Now, in case you think this is just another Hillary-bashing column, it isn't. I think the video displays just how difficult it is for a politician to try to do the right thing even when that thing is unpopular with core constituents. I commend Senator Clinton for her obviously determined position in that meeting with Code Pink.
I must however, condemn her current backtracking now that she seeks an office that will require broad support from across the nation, instead of just Hollyweird funding and well-known NY liberal voters.
But again, this is not unique to Senator Clinton. This column could have been written about any of the Democrats currently seeking the White House in '08, as all of them have maneuvered all over the political spectrum on Iraq over the years, on the basis of whose vote they were seeking at any moment in time.
In the end analysis, this is the problem with ALL Democrats and some Republicans currently seeking the highest office in the land. It isn't that they don't know what's right or have not on many occasions demonstrated the ability to stand for what is right.
It is their apparent willingness to shift positions on a politically motivated whim that causes great concern for their ability to lead the most powerful nation in the world at a time of great international threat. It is this that troubles both conservative and liberal voters and it is the great divide that every Democrat contender must cross in their quest to sit in the Oval Office.
Whether you agree with Bush or not, you must respect his willingness to take it on the chin, over and over, as he stands firmly behind his core beliefs, no matter how unpopular that becomes.
This is the true measure of a leader. Nothing less will do. Especially today!