Positioning herself for the run for the White House in 2008, Hillary is continuing to clean her closet of all those past actions she thinks will cost her votes. Always the consummate politician. Today, she’s conducting a John Kerry-esque backpeddling of her vote for the Iraq war.
This morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Sen. Clinton was asked about her 2002 vote and offered a slightly evolved answer. “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote,” she said in her usual refrain before adding, “and I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
First of all, do you think if this had been a Republican flip-flopping like this that ABC would’ve called it simply a “slightly evolved answer”?
Secondly, of course things would be different if we knew then what we know now. If we knew for certain that Saddam didn’t possess WMDs, we wouldn’t have discussed an attack. But that’s the issue… we didn’t know for sure that he didn’t have any and we couldn’t risk, in a post-9/11 world that he might. Now, we actually know for sure that Saddam Hussein will never pass WMDs along to terrorists.
But the problem with her current “evolved” answer is that foreign policy can’t be made in hindsight. The tough decisions have to be made in the context of the moment. You know, like this context, from her speech on the floor of the Senate on October 10, 2002:
“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.”
And two years later, the context was still so clear, she was still adamant she’d voted the right way on Iraq…
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is not sorry she voted for a resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq despite the recent problems there…
…and all of this after living in the White House for 8 years with a man who continued to tell us about the dangers Saddam Hussein posed:
Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.
And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
…in addition to her husband continually telling us just what was needed in Iraq…
“If Saddam can cripple the weapons inspections system and get away with it, he would conclude the international community, led by the United States, has simply lost its will,” said Clinton. “He would surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction.”
Clinton also called Hussein a threat to his people and to the security of the world.
“The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government — a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people,” Clinton said.
Gotta love the Democrats and their “governing by hindsight”. Maybe she’ll ask Doc Brown from “Back to the Future” to be her running mate, so she can hop into the DeLorean every time she makes a critical policy decision.
You can run from your record, Hillary, but you can’t hide.
Carol nails it.
But it’s also worth mentioning that, with perfect foresight, Neville Chamberlain wouldn’t have tried to secure “peace in our time” with Adolf Hitler. And who’s to say that, if the Democrats succeed in forcing a failure in Iraq, the time won’t come when that’s as regrettable as the Munich accords?
Presidents do the best they can with the best information they have at the time. And their judgments aren’t always perfect, as Hillary most definitely should remember from her husband’s tenure.