Published in The New York Post on May 13, 2007.
For those who are too obtuse to understand Sen. Hillary Clinton’s simple and clear position on Iraq, the following is an attempt to summarize it:
* She voted in the Senate for H.J. Res. 114, the “Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq,” in October 2002. But now she wants to repeal it. Why? Because, according to Hillary, President Bush misinterpreted the “Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq” resolution to mean that the use of military force against Iraq had been authorized by Congress.
* At the time of her vote, she stated that her vote for the troop authorization bill was made “with conviction . . . as being in the best interests of the country.”
* But once the war became unpopular, Hillary claimed that she hadn’t really voted to send troops to Iraq when she voted for the resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.
No, according to Sen. Clinton, all the “Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq” really did was to toughen the support we were already giving to United Nations inspectors who were looking for weapons of mass destruction. Although the text of the resolution never mentions a single word about strengthening the U.N. inspectors, Hillary believed that was the purpose of the bill.
* She won’t apologize for voting for the use of military force resolution because she knew that it did not authorize the use of military force. That’s always been clear to her. It was Bush’s mistake, not hers. He misled her.
But, if she had known then that he would have interpreted the bill to authorize sending troops, she would have voted against it.
* So now she wants to rescind the authorization to go to war that she voted for in 2002 (although she certainly did not intend to vote for sending troops) – so that President Bush can’t send any more troops to Iraq.
* But she will still vote to appropriate funds to pay for the war, even though it would be illegal for Bush to spend money for a purpose that Congress hasn’t authorized.
* She’s repeatedly said that she would not support a definite timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, but then she introduced a bill to begin withdrawal of the troops 90 days from the day her bill passes. (Given her legislative record, that could be 90 days from the Twelfth of Never.) And she voted for the Democratic troop-withdrawal bill.
* As president, she would definitely end the war, she says . . . but she wouldn’t pull out all the troops. Instead, she’d leave U.S. servicemen and -women troops there for the following missions: air, logistical and intelligence support for the Iraqis; training of the Iraqi forces; guarding the hundreds of miles of border with Iran to prevent infiltration, and chasing al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. The only thing they wouldn’t do is fight an “urban civil war.”
* Despite the extensive mandate of the residual mission, she would not commit large numbers of troops. She won’t say how many.
* And all of the troops she sends in will have full body armor.