Hillary Clinton has a top-notch web operation, and here’s what they’ve sent out in defense of the proposition that her support for the war was not, in fact, support for the war:
Hillary was referring to this statement from her October 10, 2002 speech, which is fairly straight forward:
My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for uni-lateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose — all of which carry grave dangers for our nation, for the rule of international law and for the peace and security of people throughout the world.
Yglesias says the only critical comment he could find that was critical of the rush to war was a press release about homeland security funding. During that time, as in her October 2002 speech, she advocated for an increased emphasis on inspections and a peaceful solution. Here are some citations:
JANUARY 2003: HILLARY SENDS LETTER TO POWELL, URGES HIM TO CONTINUE ROBUST INSPECTIONS: “If our words about supporting UN inspectors have any meaning and if we truly want the United Nations to be effective, we must act to support the UN arms inspectors …Additionally if we are truly serious about supporting the UN inspections we should increase our intelligence support to the inspectors.” [Letter to Colin Powell, 1/31/03]
MARCH 2003: HILLARY URGES ‘PEACEFUL SOLUTION,’ PUSHES BUSH TO ‘ENLIST MORE SUPPORT’ FROM ALLIES: “’It is preferable that we do this in a peaceful manner through coercive inspection’…[T]he senator said the Bush administration still had work to do at convincing the American public and the rest of the world that Hussein presented a real threat that might require military action. ‘The administration should continue to try to enlist more support,’ she added.” [AP, 3/3/03]
Honestly, I think this is a little bit childish and something of an insult to the intelligence of liberals everywhere. I’m opening to forgiving candidates who supported the war. Lots of people supported the war. I supported the war. And Hillary Clinton supported the war. When the war began, Clinton made a statement about it. I quoted that statement yesterday and you can read it here. It was a statement of support for the war.
Everybody knows this and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. The idea that we’re now supposed to spend the time between today and Iowa having a debate about whether or not Clinton backed a pre-emptive military attack on Iraq is a little bit insane. The war occurred, it occurred with her support, and it was a pre-emptive war. I don’t think this is a difficult question.