On the anniversary of the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, John Edwards releases a statement laying out some of what he thinks he’s learned from his mistake and going after Hillary Clinton on Iraq and Iran on someone who hasn’t learned the right things. Statement below the fold:
Five years ago tonight, Congress voted to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. Unlike Senator Clinton, I have apologized for my vote in support of that bill. This war has become one of the greatest disasters of American foreign policy. In light of the terrible mistruths that permitted this president to guide our nation to war, voters have a right to honest answers and straight talk from those running for president. That is why I have made it clear that I oppose the Iraq war, why I have offered a specific plan on how I will end this war as president, and why I have made my position very clear on Iran.
Unfortunately, political rhetoric aside, Senator Clinton has no specific plan to end the war in Iraq. Instead, she refuses to commit to a specific timeline for withdrawal and has made it clear that she will continue ‘combat missions’ in Iraq. The Washington Post reports today that Senator Clinton has described multiple missions that would require us to keep combat troops in Iraq—from protecting the Kurds to countering the Iranians to training Iraqi troops to protecting oil to a vague need to ‘protect our interests.’ These missions would just be excuses to justify continuing George Bush’s failed strategy in Iraq.
Now, we are again facing another challenge: whether to let the president go to war with yet another country, Iran. Evidently, Senator Clinton and I learned two very different lessons from the Iraq war. I learned that if you give President Bush even an inch of authority, he will use it to sanction a war. As the New Yorker recently reported, the administration is actively preparing plans to attack Iran. Despite this clear evidence, Congress recently passed a bill to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, a bill Senator Clinton supported and that takes this nation one step closer to war. While Senator Clinton tries to argue both sides of the issue, the truth is her vote opens the door for the president to attack Iran. I believe we must not allow the president to use force against Iran when so many other diplomatic and economic options are still available.