What Is Hillary Clinton’s Position on the Iraq War?
By Joshua Frank
Senator Clinton is sure trying hard to court the antiwar vote while
still sustaining a muscular U.S. foreign policy agenda as she runs for
the presidency. On May 16, Hillary Clinton sided with 28 other
senators in support for advancing legislation to cut off funding for
the war in Iraq after March of 2008.
Despite her modest anti-war gesture, Clinton was still not willing to
predict how she would side on similar legislation in the future. “I’m
not going to speculate on what I’m going to be voting on in the
future,” Clinton told reporters shortly after the vote. “I voted in
favor of cloture to have a debate.”
Hours later Clinton changed her mind, and decided that she wanted to
do more than start a debate on the matter. “I support the underlying
bill,” she said. “That’s what this vote on cloture was all about.”
Even though the race for the White House is still in its infancy,
Hillary Clinton has yet to take a coherent position on the Iraq war.
If she were actually to believe in the bill’s “underlying” premise,
than she’d likely know that she’d support cutting funding in the
future. The senator from New York has also continually blamed
President Bush for putting forward faulty information about Iraq’s WMD
programs, as well as Saddam’s alleged ties to al Qaeda while he was in
power. Clinton, like the rest of us, was lied to, and as a result she
naively voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq to destroy
But Clinton’s maneuvers to evade responsibility four years after the
fact are meager, not to mention completely without merit. In fact
Clinton sold the same lies and deceptions as the Bush cartel, which
plunged us into this catastrophic war.
“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports
show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and
biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his
nuclear program,” Clinton said in October of 2002. “He has also given
aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members
... 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.”
Perhaps Hillary was taking a line from her husband Bill’s repertoire,
who as president bolstered the same case for disarming Hussein. “If
Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear,”
said President Clinton in February of 1998. “We want to seriously
diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
What WMD program? As United States weapons inspector Charles Duelfer
explained in a fall 2004 report, Saddam Hussein had shut down Iraq’s
chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs following the first
Iraq war in 1991. And we knew it.
Hillary Clinton has tried to have it both ways on Iraq for several
years. Voting for phased troop redeployment, while also supporting
continued funding for the occupation. Her vote last week is surely not
an indication of which way she’ll turn in the future.
The Iraq war to Hillary Clinton is more about political expediency
than honesty or integrity, and it may well prove to be her Achilles’
heel over the course of the next year. Like President Bush, and so
many other wayward politicians, Hillary is also to blame for the
shameful bloodshed that plagues Iraq today.
Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out!
How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press,
2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming
Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.