Friday, February 2, 2007

I Would Hope So

Hillary Clinton said that she would end the war if she was president. This is obviously something that can and should be said about any Democrat running for president. And frankly, it probably isn't enough just to say this far out. I'd hope that all of the candidates have more specifics about how to get out in the coming year, and anybody who doesn't isn't getting past the primaries.

I'm not sure who "core Democrats" are that the article mentions. There are plenty of people in the party who don't support her because of her vote on the war or some other thing. And that's fine, we're having a great debate in this country, and people will chose their candidate based on a verity of things.

Still there are people like me who disagreed with the vote, but still support her in part because we think that she'd do a good job of getting us out, as well as the fact that she's been a great Senator on most things that Democrats care about, and lead on import issues like choice and labor issues, and on the war more recently. There are also plenty of "core Democrats" who supported the war, or at least the resolution, and who like Clinton have changed their minds since then because of Bush's lying and the execution of the war itself.

I also think that the difference between the authorization and being pro-war are important. I don't want to let her off the hook for a vote that I don't think she should have made, but here's what she was saying about it at the time:

I also greatly respect the differing opinions within this body. The debate they engender will aid our search for a wise, effective policy. Therefore, on no account should dissent be discouraged or disparaged. It is central to our freedom and to our progress, for on more than one occasion, history has proven our great dissenters to be right. [...]

Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.

This view has appeal to some, because it would assure disarmament; because it would right old wrongs after our abandonment of the Shiites and Kurds in 1991, and our support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980's when he was using chemical weapons and terrorizing his people; and because it would give the Iraqi people a chance to build a future in freedom.

However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.

If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan?

So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option. [...]

President Bush's speech in Cincinnati and the changes in policy that have come forth since the Administration began broaching this issue some weeks ago have made my vote easier. Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, 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.

Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction.

Again, I disagree with the vote she took, and she probably shouldn't have trusted President Bush to do the right thing. None the less, getting into this war in the first place wasn't her idea.

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