Hillary Clinton on War and Peace: Judge Her By Her Experience

There's been a lot of attacks flying on Barack Obama from Hillary Clinton lately. Most of them ad hominem, and cut outs of articles written by somebody else rather than votes or positions researched out by people here. So, I thought perhaps it was time to look at Hillary's record, her votes, and see where that leads. IRAQ Before her vote to support the war in Iraq in 2002, Hillary Clinton gave a floor speech in the US Senate, stating
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. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

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.
Not only did none of this turned out to be true, we all know that those "intelligence reports" Hillary Clinton is referring to were cherry-picked at best, and plenty of contrary evidence and opinions were available, from our intelligence community, for anyone who wanted to look at them. She made the same judgment call as the Bush administration - to ignore that contrary information. Don't think it was "undisputed", senator. Then she goes on to compare the situation in Iraq with that of Kosovo:
The United Nations is an organization that is still growing and maturing. It often lacks the cohesion to enforce its own mandates. And when Security Council members use the veto, on occasion, for reasons of narrow-minded interests, it cannot act. In Kosovo, the Russians did not approve NATO military action because of political, ethnic, and religious ties to the Serbs. The United States therefore could not obtain a Security Council resolution in favor of the action necessary to stop the dislocation and ethnic cleansing of more than a million Kosovar Albanians.
Again, the same frame as the Bush administration. The United Nations is too weak to enforce its own mandates, so we may have to enforce it for them. We're just looking out for their interests, you know. She fails to mention that given Iraq poses no threat to the United States, only the United Nations has the power to make the decision about its own enforcement. And as it turns out, it was enforcing them quite well, since we found no WMD. She also conveniently ignores the fact that the UN Charter gives member nations the right - in fact the obligation - to use military force if it is necessary to stop genocide, which is why our action in Kosovo did not violate UN guidelines.
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.
I'll let that stand on its own.
And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am.
The final Bush framing - let's use 9/11, and "the risk of not acting" to authorize use of military force that had nothing to do with 9/11. Uh huh. After that vote, in December of 2003, Hillary Clinton boasted about how we have to be in Iraq for 10 years to achieve our goals, and have to be "ready for a much longer" time in Iraq than we were being told. She says that we have to make the same commitment to Iraq as we did in Bosnia and Germany, and that "we don't have any choice." So we are told that we should go into an election against a Republican with a 100 year commitment to Iraq with a Democrat who, when the war was popular, spoke of a 10 year commitment. And of course, to this day, Hillary will not admit that her vote was wrong at the time it was cast, with everything available at the time, rather than "if I knew then what I know now" stuff. CLUSTER BOMBS Hillary Clinton voted in 2006 to preserve the use of cluster bombs on civilian areas and refugee camps. Barack Obama voted for the amendment that would have banned such use. What are cluster bombs?
Handicap International has a step by step process you can see, but basically, A cluster bomb gets dropped from a plane. Each bomb carries hundreds of smaller bomblets that are released after a time - "at an altitude between 100m and 1000m." These smaller bomblets cover a wide area and will explode when they hit a target. Within each smaller bomblet are fragments, shrapnel, etc. These cause great damage and can travel quite a distance as a result of the initial explosion. According to "Fatal Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions", Civilians constitute 98% of all recorded cluster submunitions casualties. Of that number, 1/3 of the victims are children.
Hillary Clinton, of course, ended up on the side of the majority in Washington, showing why Washington is broken. The Amendment failed in the US Senate 70-30, but all 30 votes in favor of banning the cluster votes - EACH ONE - came from a Democrat (save one, from Vermont independent Jim Jeffords). That means that at the time, 2 out of 3 Democrats in the Senate voted to ban the use of cluster bombs. The amendment was sponsored by Diane Feinstein and co-sponsored by Pat Leahy. If Hillary Clinton's years of experience traveling to 80 countries taught her that the barbaric use of cluster bombs on civilians and refugee camps should not be banned, that's not the kind of experience we need int he White House. STAR WARS MISSILE DEFENSE USA Today reported in 2005 that Hillary Clinton was one of only 6 Democrats "opposed to blocking deployment of an untested national missile defense system." I believe it was referring to the vote on Boxer-Levin Amendment with the purpose:
To allow deployment of the ground-based midcourse defense element of the national ballistic missile defense system only after the mission-related capabilities of the system have been confirmed by operationally realistic testing.
i.e. no missile deployment until it's been tested. Hillary said No. NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND PROLIFERATION Common Dreams reports that in 2006, Hillary Clinton voted to suspend restrictions on US nuclear cooperation with countries in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Barack Obama introduced in 2007 the Nuclear Threat Reduction Act, "A bill to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology." Hillary Clinton has not signed on. Hillary Clinton is also mad at Barack Obama for ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She also buys into the right wing frame that nuclear weapons are deterrents that "keep the peace". Of course, but then somebody did some inconvenient research and found out that she was talking out of both sides of her mouth, criticizing Barack Obama for positively ruling out use of nuclear weapons when she'd done the same. Umm, so where does she stand on the use of nuclear weapons again? DEFENSE CONTRACTORS AND HILLARY CLINTON The Huffington Post reported in October that Hillary Clinton is by far the largest recipient of Defense industry cash (Democrats or Republicans) with $52,600 by that point, while Obama was dead last at $10,000. Also, interestingly,
Clinton's major industry benefactors - donors who gave the $4,600 maximum allowed by law -- include Roger A. Crone, Boeing's president of Network and Space Systems; Stanley Roth, Boeing's Vice President for Asia, International Relations, $4,600; Anne Sullivan, a Raytheon attorney; William Lynn, Raytheon's Senior Vice President for Government Relations; and Michele Kang, Northrop Grumman Vice President for health science solutions.
Well, that's a start.

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