Hillary Clinton tells the New Hampshire Union-Leader, “When I set forth my reasons for giving the President that authority, I said that it was not a vote for pre-emptive war.” Obviously, though, the authority she did give the president was the authority to launch a pre-emptive war. More to the point, however, whatever Clinton thought she was doing in October 2002, if she disapproved of what Bush decided to do in March 2003 she could have spoken up. All I can find in a critical vein from Senator Clinton on Iraq in that period is this press release in which she criticized the president’s homeland security funding and asks that additional monies by appropriated for this purpose when the inevitable Iraq supplemental comes down. She doesn’t actually criticize the president’s Iraq policy at all. On March 17, meanwhile, she issued a clear and unambiguous statement of support for Bush’s position:
When the President of the United States addresses the nation about possible military action, it is a solemn occasion for every American. Tonight, the President gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war, and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly. While we wish there were more international support for the effort to disarm Saddam Hussein, at this critical juncture it is important for all of us to come together in support of our troops and pray that, if war does occur, this mission is accomplished swiftly and decisively with minimum loss of life and civilian casualties. I have had the honor of meeting and speaking with many of our brave men and women in uniform. They are the best trained, equipped, and motivated military in the entire world, we support them fully and we are grateful for their courageous service in these difficult times.
This should all come as no surprise as Clinton was happy for years to be identified as a war supporter. Like millions of Americans, myself included, her views on the merits of the war have changed as we watched events unfold on the ground and as we gave the matter further thought. She might as well just say so, since pretending otherwise is pretty silly — she’s not an obscure figure, everybody knows she was for the war.