Monday, February 12, 2007

Senator Clinton (2002) : Supporting the Use of Force against Iraq

In 2002 Hillary was one of 77 Senators who voted to give George Bush authorization to use force against Iraq:
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. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

Now this much is undisputed. The open questions are: what should we do about it? How, when, and with whom?

So, Mr. President, the question is how do we do our best to both defuse the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses to his people, to the region, including Israel, to the United States, to the world, and at the same time, work to maximize our international support and strengthen the United Nations?
This was certainly not undisputed. 23 U.S. Senators and 133 U.S. Representatives, along with U.N. inspectors in Iraq, and most other countries in the world believed Saddam Hussein posed no threat to his neighbors and certainly none to the United States.
I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.
And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them.
This is the same asinine comment we've been hearing ever since - Support the policy or you hate the troops.
So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort.
You are a United States Senator. The constitution gives you the authority to declare war. You cannot simply hand that obligation to anyone else, and certainly not to pressure a vote in the U.N.

If Saddam Hussein was a real threat to the country, you were obligated to debate that threat on the floor and vote a declaration of war, if necessary. Passing the buck on your most important responsibility was a coward's act and that's true of every Senator who voted yea, whether they believed in the war or not.

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