During the prelude to the 2003 invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and enforce regime change, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared on the Senate floor that if Saddam Hussein didn't fully comply with weapons inspections, then we could attack him with legitimacy.
Unfortunately, Terrence Jeffrey gets it all right while completely missing the point when he asks the rhetorical question, Did Hillary lie America in war? Jeffrey answers no, because:
Sen. Clinton got her bad intelligence the same place President Bush got his: the CIA. Specifically, from George Tenet, the man President Clinton appointed director of central intelligence (DCI).
The entire chain of custody on the intelligence Sen. Clinton used in her Oct. 10, 2002, Senate floor speech ran through Democratic politicians back to a Democrat-appointed DCI.
In 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate, and Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida chaired the intelligence committee. On Sept. 9, 2002, Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, a member of the intelligence committee, wrote Clinton-appointed Tenet asking for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's WMD programs.
That's all very interesting as sideshows go, but Jeffrey is unwittingly assisting the the Democrats who are determined to keep us looking at men as thin as straw, instead directing our eyes to the center ring.
We did not go to war in Iraq because of bad intelligence. It was not our responsibility to prove anything with regard to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs; it was Hussein's responsibility to reaffirm unconditionally Iraq's full compliance with international treaties it had signed against the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and to submit existing stockpiles, subsystems, and components for removal and destruction under international supervision. Iraq was bound by a number of U.N. resolutions to do this and failed every time, most disastrously with the final ultimatum, passed unanimously by the Security Council, U.N. Resolution 1441, on November 8, 2002, as called for by President Bush and urged by Senator Clinton.
In her same Senate Floor Speech referenced by Jeffrey, less than a month earlier, Senator Clinton said:
If we get the resolution that President Bush seeks, and if Saddam complies, disarmament can proceed and the threat can be eliminated. Regime change will, of course, take longer but we must still work for it, nurturing all reasonable forces of opposition.
If we get the resolution and Saddam does not comply, then we can attack him with far more support and legitimacy than we would have otherwise.
We got the resolution. Saddam did not comply. We went to war with legitimacy.
Does the issue of intelligence appear in the Iraq War logic chain? Take your time.
Senator Clinton went on to say:
Over eleven years have passed since the UN called on Saddam Hussein to rid himself of weapons of mass destruction as a condition of returning to the world community. Time and time again he has frustrated and denied these conditions. This matter cannot be left hanging forever with consequences we would all live to regret. War can yet be avoided, but our responsibility to global security and to the integrity of United Nations resolutions protecting it cannot. I urge the President to spare no effort to secure a clear, unambiguous demand by the United Nations for unlimited inspections.
Again and again, consistent with longstanding U.S. and U.N. policy, the point was made by Senator Clinton that the Bush Administration should have been making for the past year and a half. The Iraq War happened and Saddam Hussein was removed with legitimacy because he did not fully comply with U.N. Resolution 1441.
It's not the intelligence, stupid!
From The Anchoress:
I'll give props to Hillary, though. She knows when to speak up and when to keep her head ducked. Right now, while all her comrades are making targets of themselves, she's staying out of the way. She said the right things in 2002, and she KNOWS she said the right things. She knows she played the right hand. She's not about to go on record as flip-flopping on something as important as this, or be seen as undermining the military or the effort. Artillary Hillary is the persona she has chosen and she's sticking to it. And I can respect that. I'll still never vote for her, but I can respect that she's playing her cards well.
Enjoy the irony at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy's
STOP THE FRICK'N PRESSES, PRESIDENT CLINTON SPEAKS!!!!
Also blogging on Hillary's position on Iraq:
Republican National Convention Blog NYC 2004 also here.
Right Side Redux
Elephant in my Coffee
Love America First
Tapscott's Copy Desk
A Certain Slant of Light
An American Expat in Southeast Asia
Jewish Current Issues
The Political Teen
Stop the ACLU
The Conservative Cat
bRight & Early
Stuck on Stupid
BIG DOG's WEBLOG
Blue State Conservatives
Outside the Beltway
A big thanks to Instapundit for yesterday's deluge. When I got home last night the bandwidth had been bled out of my logo and I had to upload it again. At one point the traffic was so heavy my blogger editing software seemed to go haywire, so that as I tried to add a little acknowledgement to Glenn at the top of the thread--and the preview looked cool--when I published the entire post disappeared. Dang! I was taking more than a hit a second at that moment. I think it took me about seven bumpy minutes to reconstruct and republish the post. Yee haw!