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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:29 AM
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Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45
Speeches & Columns - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York

October 10, 2002

Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

As Delivered

Today we are asked whether to give the President of the United States authority to use force in Iraq should diplomatic efforts fail to dismantle Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons and his nuclear program.

I am honored to represent nearly 19 million New Yorkers, a thoughtful democracy of voices and opinions who make themselves heard on the great issues of our day especially this one. Many have contacted my office about this resolution, both in support of and in opposition to it, and I am grateful to all who have expressed an opinion.

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.

Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power. He used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians, killing over 20 thousand people. Unfortunately, during the 1980's, while he engaged in such horrific activity, he enjoyed the support of the American government, because he had oil and was seen as a counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait, losing the support of the United States. The first President Bush assembled a global coalition, including many Arab states, and threw Saddam out after forty-three days of bombing and a hundred hours of ground operations. The U.S.-led coalition then withdrew, leaving the Kurds and the Shiites, who had risen against Saddam Hussein at our urging, to Saddam's revenge.

As a condition for ending the conflict, the United Nations imposed a number of requirements on Iraq, among them disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, stocks used to make such weapons, and laboratories necessary to do the work. Saddam Hussein agreed, and an inspection system was set up to ensure compliance. And though he repeatedly lied, delayed, and obstructed the inspections work, the inspectors found and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction capability than were destroyed in the Gulf War, including thousands of chemical weapons, large volumes of chemical and biological stocks, a number of missiles and warheads, a major lab equipped to produce anthrax and other bio-weapons, as well as substantial nuclear facilities.

In 1998, Saddam Hussein pressured the United Nations to lift the sanctions by threatening to stop all cooperation with the inspectors. In an attempt to resolve the situation, the UN, unwisely in my view, agreed to put limits on inspections of designated "sovereign sites" including the so-called presidential palaces, which in reality were huge compounds well suited to hold weapons labs, stocks, and records which Saddam Hussein was required by UN resolution to turn over. When Saddam blocked the inspection process, the inspectors left. As a result, President Clinton, with the British and others, ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets.

In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad.

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. The open questions are: what should we do about it? How, when, and with whom?

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.

Others argue that we should work through the United Nations and should only resort to force if and when the United Nations Security Council approves it. This too has great appeal for different reasons. The UN deserves our support. Whenever possible we should work through it and strengthen it, for it enables the world to share the risks and burdens of global security and when it acts, it confers a legitimacy that increases the likelihood of long-term success. The UN can help lead the world into a new era of global cooperation and the United States should support that goal.

But there are problems with this approach as well. 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. However, most of the world was with us because there was a genuine emergency with thousands dead and a million driven from their homes. As soon as the American-led conflict was over, Russia joined the peacekeeping effort that is still underway.

In the case of Iraq, recent comments indicate that one or two Security Council members might never approve force against Saddam Hussein until he has actually used chemical, biological, or God forbid, nuclear weapons.

So, Mr. President, the question is how do we do our best to both defuse the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses to his people, to the region, including Israel, to the United States, to the world, and at the same time, work to maximize our international support and strengthen the United Nations?

While there is no perfect approach to this thorny dilemma, and while people of good faith and high intelligence can reach diametrically opposed conclusions, I believe the best course is to go to the UN for a strong resolution that scraps the 1998 restrictions on inspections and calls for complete, unlimited inspections with cooperation expected and demanded from Iraq. I know that the Administration wants more, including an explicit authorization to use force, but we may not be able to secure that now, perhaps even later. But if we get a clear requirement for unfettered inspections, I believe the authority to use force to enforce that mandate is inherent in the original 1991 UN resolution, as President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

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.

If we try and fail to get a resolution that simply, but forcefully, calls for Saddam's compliance with unlimited inspections, those who oppose even that will be in an indefensible position. And, we will still have more support and legitimacy than if we insist now on a resolution that includes authorizing military action and other requirements giving some nations superficially legitimate reasons to oppose any Security Council action. They will say we never wanted a resolution at all and that we only support the United Nations when it does exactly what we want.

I believe international support and legitimacy are crucial. After shots are fired and bombs are dropped, not all consequences are predictable. While the military outcome is not in doubt, should we put troops on the ground, there is still the matter of Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical weapons. Today he has maximum incentive not to use them or give them away. If he did either, the world would demand his immediate removal. Once the battle is joined, however, with the outcome certain, he will have maximum incentive to use weapons of mass destruction and to give what he can't use to terrorists who can torment us with them long after he is gone. We cannot be paralyzed by this possibility, but we would be foolish to ignore it. And according to recent reports, the CIA agrees with this analysis. A world united in sharing the risk at least would make this occurrence less likely and more bearable and would be far more likely to share with us the considerable burden of rebuilding a secure and peaceful post-Saddam Iraq.

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.

And perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this President, or any future President, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war. Secondly, I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the President's efforts to wage America's war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them.

My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for uni-lateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose -- all of which carry grave dangers for our nation, for the rule of international law and for the peace and security of people throughout the world.

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.

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.

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt
You seem to have missed high lighting that line!
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. on no account should dissent be discouraged or disparaged
3rd paragraph states her position ... she's for invasion. The rest is fluff to cover her a$$.
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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 05:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. She made her position very clear.
I also think she should have denounced Bush as an idiot and not voted for the resolution however, she did state exactly how she thought events should proceed.
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Carolina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. fluff ... exactly
How anyone could relinquish such awesome authority to Bush, the dumber, is inexcusable, especially after being WARNED by Senator Robert Byrd about the hubris of the president, the gravity of such a vote, the haste and timing of the vote and the RUSH TO WAR .

Some here can spin the IWR as they please but many of us knew then that Iraq posed no imminent threat, that Bush and Cheney had been chomping at the bit to invade Iraq (coneveniently using 9/11 as an excuse after they LIHOP)and that all IWR did was give Bush the political, bipartisan cover to fulfill his wet dream.

Fluff, revisionism and excuses don't cut it after so much death and destruction. PERIOD!
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. I hadn't read that in a while. Thanks for posting it!
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. It's not a bad speech, but it was a TERRIBLE vote. Here's a speech
that's light years better. As Senator Leahy says over and in this speech, The IWR is a blank check. He comparess it to the Tonkin Gulf resolution. He forecasts what will happen in Iraq. He pleads with his fellow Senators not to give the admin a BLANK CHECK.


Today, we are considering a resolution offered by Senator Lieberman to authorize the use of force. Article I of the Constitution gives the Congress the sole power to declare war. But instead of exercising this responsibility and voting up or down on a declaration of war, what have we done? We have chosen to delegate this authority and this burden to the executive branch.

This resolution, like others before it, does not declare anything. It tells the President: Why don't you decide; we are not going to.

This resolution, when you get through the pages of whereas clauses, is nothing more than a blank check. The President can decide when to use military force, how to use it, and for how long. This Vermonter does not sign blank checks.

Mr. President, I suppose this resolution is something of an improvement. Back in August the President's advisors insisted that there was not even any need for authorization from Congress to go to war. They said past resolutions sufficed.

Others in the administration argued that the United States should attack Iraq preemptively and unilaterally, without bothering to seek the support of the United Nations, even though it is Iraq's violations of U.N. resolutions which is used to justify military action.

Eventually, the President listened to those who urged him to change course and he went to the United Nations. He has since come to the Congress. I commended President Bush for doing that.

I fully support the efforts of Secretary Powell to negotiate a strong, new Security Council resolution for the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq, backed up with force, if necessary, to overcome Iraqi resistance.

Two weeks ago, when the President sent Congress his proposed resolution authorizing the use of force, I said that I hoped his proposal was the beginning of a consultative, bipartisan process to produce a sensible resolution to be acted on at the appropriate time.

I also said that I could envision circumstances which would cause me to support sending U.S. Armed Forces to Iraq. But I also made it clear that I could never support the kind of blank check resolution that the President proposed. I was not elected to do that.

I commend Senator DASCHLE, Senator HAGEL, and others who tried hard to work with the administration to craft a bipartisan resolution that we could all support.

But while the resolution that we are considering today is an improvement from the version that the President first sent to Congress, it is fundamentally the same. It is still a blank check. I will vote against this resolution for all the reasons I have stated before and the reasons I will explain in detail now.

Mr. President, there is no dispute that Saddam Hussein is a menace to his people and to Iraq's neighbors. He is a tyrant and the world would be far better without him.

Saddam Hussein has also made no secret of his hatred of the United States, and should he acquire a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it, he would pose a grave threat to the lives of all Americans, as well as to our closest allies.

The question is not whether Saddam Hussein should be disarmed; it is how imminent is this threat and how should we deal with it?

Do we go it alone, as some in the administration are eager to do because they see Iraq as their first opportunity to apply the President's strategy of preemptive military force?

Do we do that, potentially jeopardizing the support of those nations we need to combat terrorism and further antagonizing Muslim populations who already deeply resent our policies in the Middle East?

Or, do we work with other nations to disarm Saddam, using force if other options fail?

The resolution now before the Senate leaves the door open to act alone, even absent an imminent threat. It surrenders to the President authority which the Constitution explicitly reserves for the Congress.

And as I said 2 weeks ago, it is premature.

I have never believed, nor do I think that any Senator believes, that U.S. foreign policy should be hostage to any nation, nor to the United Nations. Ultimately, we must do what we believe is right and necessary to protect our security, whenever it is called for. But going to war alone is rarely the answer.

On Monday night, the President spoke about working with the United Nations. He said:

"To actually work, any new inspections, sanctions, or enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different. America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps keep the peace. That is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements."

I could not agree more. The President is right. The status quo is unacceptable.

Past U.N. resolutions have not worked. Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials have lied to the world over and over and over. As the President points out, an effort is underway in the U.N. Security Council--led by the United States--to adopt a strong resolution requiring unconditional, unimpeded access for U.N. weapons inspectors, backed up with force if necessary.

That effort is making steady progress. There is wide acceptance that a new resolution is necessary before the inspectors can return to Iraq, and this has put pressure on the other nations, especially Russia and France, to support our position.

If successful, it could achieve the goal of disarming Saddam without putting thousands of American and innocent Iraqi lives at risk or spending tens of billions, or hundreds of billions, of dollars at a time when the U.S. economy is weakening, the Federal deficit is growing, and the retirement savings of America's senior citizens have been decimated.

Diplomacy is often tedious. It does not usually make the headlines or the evening news. We certainly know about past diplomatic failures. But history has shown over and over that diplomatic pressure cannot only protect our national interests, it can also enhance the effectiveness of military force when force becomes necessary.

The negotiations are at a sensitive stage. By authorizing the use of force today, the Congress will be saying that irrespective of what the Security Council does, we have already decided to go our own way.

As Chairman and sometimes Ranking Member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee for over a decade, I have received countless letters from Secretaries of State--from both Democratic and Republican Administrations--urging Congress not to adopt legislation because it would upset ongoing negotiations. Why is this different?

Some say the President's hand will be strengthened by Congress passing this resolution. In 1990, when the United States successfully assembled a broad coalition to fight the gulf war, the Congress passed a resolution only after the UN had acted. The world already knows that President Bush is serious about using force against Iraq, and the votes are there in Congress to declare war if diplomatic efforts fail and war becomes unavoidable.

More importantly, the resolution now before the Senate goes well beyond what the President said on Monday about working through the United Nations. It would permit the administration to take precipitous, unilateral action without following through at the U.N.

Many respected and knowledgeable people--former senior military officers and diplomats among them--have expressed strong reservations about this resolution. They agree that if there is credible evidence that Saddam Hussein is planning to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or one of our allies, the American people and the Congress would overwhelmingly support the use of American military power to stop him. But they have not seen that evidence, and neither have I.

We have heard a lot of bellicose rhetoric, but what are the facts? I am not asking for 100 percent proof, but the administration is asking Congress to make a decision to go to war based on conflicting statements, angry assertions, and assumption based on speculation. This is not the way a great nation goes to war.

The administration has also been vague, evasive and contradictory about its plans. Speaking here in Washington, the President and his advisors continue to say this issue is about disarming Saddam Hussein; that he has made no decision to use force.

But the President paints a different picture when he is on the campaign trail, where he often talks about regime change. The Vice President said on national television that ``The President's made it clear that the goal of the United States is regime change. He said that on many occasions.''

Proponents of this resolution argue that it does put diplomacy first. They point to section 4, which requires the President to determine that further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone will not adequately protect the national security, before he resorts to military force. They say that this ensures that we will act only in a deliberative way, in concert with our allies.

But they fail to point out that the resolution permits the President to use unilateral military force if he determines that reliance on diplomacy alone ..... is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq .....''

Unfortunately, we have learned that ``not likely'' is a wide open phrase that can be used to justify just about anything. So let us not pretend we are doing something we are not. This resolution permits the President to take whatever military action he wants, whenever he wants, for as long as he wants. It is a blank check.

We have the best trained, best equipped Armed Forces in the world, and I know they can defeat Iraq. I hope, as we all do, that if force is used the Iraqi military surrenders quickly.

But if we have learned anything from history, it is that wars are unpredictable. They can trigger consequences that none of us would intend or expect. Is it fair to the American people, who have become accustomed to wars waged from 30,000 feet lasting a few weeks with few casualties, that we not discuss what else could happen? We could be involved in urban warfare where large numbers of our troops are killed.

And what of the critical issue of rebuilding a post-Saddam Iraq, about which the Administration has said virtually nothing? It is one thing to topple a regime, but it is equally important, and sometimes far more difficult, to rebuild a country to prevent it from becoming engulfed by factional fighting.

If these nations cannot successfully rebuild, then they will once again become havens for terrorists. To ensure that does not happen, do we foresee basing thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq after the war, and if so, for how many years? How many billions of dollars will we spend?

Are the American people prepared to spend what it will take to rebuild Iraq even when the administration is not budgeting the money that is needed to rebuild Afghanistan, having promised to do so? Do we spend hundreds of billions in Iraq, as the President's Economic Adviser suggested, while not providing at home for homeland defense, drought aid for farmers, education for our young people, and other domestic priorities?

Who is going to replace Saddam Hussein? The leading coalition of opposition groups, the Iraqi National Congress, is divided, has questionable support among the Iraqi people, and has made little headway in overthrowing Saddam. While Iraq has a strong civil society, in the chaos of a post-Saddam Iraq another dictator could rise to the top or the country could splinter along ethnic or religious lines.

These are the questions the American people are asking and these are the issues we should be debating. They are difficult issues of war and peace, but the administration, and the proponents of this resolution, would rather leave them for another day. They say: vote now! and let the President decide. Don't give the U.N. time to do its job. Don't worry that the resolution is a blank check.

I can count the votes. The Senate will pass this resolution. They will give the President the authority he needs to send United States troops to Iraq. But before the President takes that step, I hope he will consider the questions that have been asked. I hope he considers the concerns raised by former generals, senior diplomats, and intelligence officials in testimony before Congress. I hope he listens to concerns raised privately by some of our military officers. Above all, I hope he will listen to the American people who are urging him to proceed cautiously and not to act alone.

Notwithstanding whatever disagreements there may be on our policy toward Iraq, if a decision is made to send troops into battle, there is no question that every Member of Congress will unite behind our President and our Armed Forces.

But that time has not yet come. Based on what I know today, I believe in order to solve this problem without potentially creating more terrorists and more enemies, we have to act deliberately and not precipitously. The way the United States responds to the threat posed by Iraq is going to have consequences for our country and for the world for years to come.

Authorizing a U.S. attack to overthrow another government while negotiations at the United Nations are ongoing, and before we exhaust other options, could damage our standing in the world as a country that recognizes the importance of international solutions. I am afraid that it would be what the world expects of a superpower that seems increasing disdainful of international opinion or cooperation and collective diplomacy, a superpower that seems more and more inclined to ``go it alone.''

What a dramatic shift from a year ago, when the world was united in its expressions of sympathy toward the United States. A year ago, the world would have welcomed the opportunity to work with us on a wide agenda of common problems.

I remember the emotion I felt when I saw ``The Star Spangled Banner'' sung by crowds of people outside Buckingham Palace in London. The leading French newspaper, Le Monde, declared, ``We are all Americans.'' China's Jiang Zemin was one of the first world leaders to call Washington and express sympathy after September 11.

Why squander the goodwill we had in the world? Why squander this unity? If September 11 taught us anything, it is that protecting our security involves much more than military might. It involves cooperation with other nations to break up terrorist rings, dry up the sources of funding, and address the conditions of ignorance and despair that create breeding grounds for terrorists. We are far more likely to achieve these goals by working with other nations than by going it alone.

I am optimistic that the Administration's efforts at the U.N. will succeed and that the Security Council will adopt a strong resolution. If Saddam Hussein refuses to comply, then force may be justified, and it may be required.

But we are a great nation, with a wide range of resources available to us and with the goodwill of most of the world. Let us proceed deliberately, moving as close to our goal as we can by working with our allies and the United Nations, rather than writing a blank check that is premature, and which would continue the trend of abdicating our constitutional authority and our responsibility.

Mr. President, that trend started many years ago, and I have gone back and read some of the speeches the Senators have made. For example, and I quote:

The resolution now pending is an expression of American unity in this time of crisis.

It is a vote of confidence . . . but is not a blank check for policies that might in the future be carried on by the executive branch of the Government . . . without full consultation by the Congress.

Do these speeches sound familiar? They were not about Iraq. They were spoken 38 years ago when I was still a prosecutor in Vermont. At the end of that debate, after statements were made that this resolution is not a blank check, and that Congress will always watch what the Executive Branch is doing, the Senate voted on that resolution. Do you know what the vote was? 88 to 2. It passed overwhelmingly.

In case everyone does not know what resolution I am talking about, I am talking about the Tonkin Gulf resolution. As we know all too well, the Tonkin Gulf resolution was used by both the Johnson and Nixon administrations as carte blanche to wage war on Vietnam, ultimately involving more than half a million American troops, resulting in the deaths of more than 58,000 Americans. Yet, even the Tonkin Gulf resolution, unlike the one that we are debating today, had a sunset provision.

When I came to the Senate, there were a lot of Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, who had voted for the Tonkin Gulf resolution. Every single Senator who ever discussed it with me said what a mistake it was to write that kind of blank check on the assurance that we would continue to watch what went on.

I am not suggesting the administration is trying to mislead the Congress about the situation in Iraq, as Congress was misled on the Tonkin Gulf resolution. I am not comparing a possible war in Iraq to the Vietnam war. They are very different countries, with different histories, and with different military capabilities. But the key words in the resolution we are considering today are remarkably similar to the infamous resolution of 38 years ago which so many Senators and so many millions of Americans came to regret.

Let us not make that mistake again. Let us not pass a Tonkin Gulf resolution. Let us not set the history of our great country this way. Let us not make the mistake we made once before.

I yield the floor.
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Hart2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. It was another Gulf of Tonkin resolution. n/t
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:43 AM
Response to Original message
5. And yet, when Bush cut short inspections and bypassed the UN she.. *drumroll*
Edited on Thu Jan-10-08 04:55 AM by killbotfactory
supported the stupid fucking war.

March 17, 2003

Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the President's Remarks to the Nation

When the President of the United States addresses the nation about possible military action, it is a solemn occasion for every American. Tonight, the President gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war, and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly. While we wish there were more international support for the effort to disarm Saddam Hussein, at this critical juncture it is important for all of us to come together in support of our troops and pray that, if war does occur, this mission is accomplished swiftly and decisively with minimum loss of life and civilian casualties. I have had the honor of meeting and speaking with many of our brave men and women in uniform. They are the best trained, equipped, and motivated military in the entire world, we support them fully and we are grateful for their courageous service in these difficult times.

Never mind the stupidity of trusting a president, who had to be shamed into going to the UN before the IWR vote, and who made previous comments about taking Saddam out, with the final decision to invade.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 05:10 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. And never said a real word opposing it
Until just last year when it was clear she couldn't win if she didn't support some kind of withdrawal. She was the one saying "stay the course" in 2003. And she was the one giving speeches about supporting the invasion, but criticizing the execution, that we kept hearing about Dems in the media. I never understood why people were so confused until I started reading her speeches.
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Egnever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 04:59 AM
Response to Original message
6. somehow that doesn't quite jibe with this

Nice of her to tell these people how she isn't willing to stand up to the president and speak out against the war.

But nice try to cover my ass while I do the wrong thing speech just the same.
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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 05:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. my beef with Obama
sorry, forgot to get the url and the bookmark won't work

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there any Senator who has not spoken who wishes to speak on this matter?

The Senator from Illinois.

Mr. President, I did not anticipate speaking today, but the importance of this issue is enough for me to address this body.

During the election, I had the occasion of meeting a woman who had supported me in my campaign. She decided to come to shake my hand and take a photograph. She is a wonderful woman. She was not asking for anything. I was very grateful that she took time to come by. It was an unexceptional moment except for the fact that she was born in 1894. Her name is Marguerite Lewis, an African-American woman who had been born in Louisiana, born in the shadow of slavery, born at a time when lynchings were commonplace, born at a time when African Americans and women could not vote. Yet, over the course of decades she had participated in broadening our democracy and ensuring that, in fact, at some point, if not herself, then her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren would be in a position in which they could, too, call themselves citizens of the United States and make certain that this Government works not just on behalf of the mighty and the powerful but also on behalf of people like her.

So the fact that she voted and her vote was counted in this election was of supreme importance to her and it is the memory of talking to her and shaking her hand that causes me to rise on this occasion.

I am absolutely convinced that the President of the United States, George Bush, won this election. I also believe he got more votes in Ohio. As has already been said by some of the speakers in this body, this is not an issue in which we are challenging the outcome of the election. It is important for us to separate the issue of the election outcome with the election process.

I was not in this body 4 years ago, but what I observed as a voter and as a citizen of Illinois 4 years ago was troubling evidence of the fact that not every vote was being counted. It is unfortunate that 4 years later we continue to see circumstances in which people who believe they have the right to vote, who show up at the polls, still continue to confront the sort of problems that have been documented as taking place not just in Ohio but places all across the country.

I strongly urge that this Chamber, as well as the House of Representatives, take it upon itself once and for all to reform this system.

There is no reason, at a time when we have enormous battles taking place ideologically all across the globe, at a time when we try to make certain we encourage democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places throughout the world, that we have the legitimacy of our elections challenged--rightly or wrongly--by people who are not certain as to whether our processes are fair and just.

This is something we can fix. We have experts on both sides of the aisle who know how to fix it. What we have lacked is the political will.

I strongly urge that, in a circumstance in which too many voters have stood in long lines for hours, in which too many voters have cast votes on machines that jam or malfunction or suck the votes without a trace, in which too many voters try to register to vote only to discover that their names don't appear on the roles or that partisan political interests and those that serve them have worked hard to throw up every barrier to recognize them as lawful, in which too many voters will know that there are different elections for different parts of the country and that these differences turn shamefully on differences of wealth or of race, in which too many voters have to contend with State officials, servants of the public, who put partisan or personal political interests ahead of the public in administering our elections--in such circumstances, we have an obligation to fix the problem.

I have to add this is not a problem unique to this election, and it is not a partisan problem. Keep in mind, I come from Cook County, from Chicago, in which there is a long record of these kinds of problems taking place and disadvantaging Republicans as well as Democrats. So I ask that all of us rise up and use this occasion to amend this problem.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The time of the Senator has expired. The Senator from Connecticut is recognized.


If the votes had been counted in 2000, there would have been no war. Did Obama think that while Bush purloined one election, the second was perfectly handled. Or, does he believe that Bush won both elections, or was he sleeping?

Of course I'm angry with all of them but Obama made it a point to say that Bush won.
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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Nobody cares about this? nt
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superkia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. The illegal war and the deaths really dont mean anything to...
people when it comes to voting. Its about who your favorite American Idol candidate is and sticking with them no matter what. I am amazed at how many people scream about the war but dismiss the reality of what took place and which candidates that were involved. Dennis Kucinich went to the floor and told them that the evidence was all old, outdated and worthless and that the war was about oil. They ignored it and went with bush because they agreed with the elites agenda. Now they say... If I knew then what I know now...? And the sheeple fall for it!

The American sheeple don't think this stuff matters and this is why our country will continue to be destroyed for the working folks and made even better for the elite. Bush is not to blame for the shape of the country, it is a team effort and until the sheeple wake up, it wont stop. From the looks of the amount of sheeple out there, our country as WE know it is finished!
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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. "Bush is not to blame
for the shape of the country, it is a team effort"

I have to disagree somewhat. With a different person at the helm, there would not have been a request for war for them to spinelessly go along with. There would not even have been a 9/11. We would not be reviled and ridiculed everywhere.

The three front runners are all compromised to a good extent. Are any of them worth voting for? Better than a repuke will have to do for now.

Kucinich is my favorite but not viable. I think that Hillary can patch up many of the problems we face, that she is the most competent.
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superkia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Her agenda in 2002 showed that the people arent her priority...
I doubt she has all of a sudden changed and doesn't support the elites overall agenda to enslave us by putting us all into poverty. I think if she is elected, it will just put more people to sleep and the corrupt system will continue forward with less voices out there against it. If a republican somehow gets in, it may just get the American sheeple out of their prescription drug induced coma and into the streets. If Americans don't wake up to the game that they are playing with our lives, we are finished. It is NOT the republicans against the democrats, thats only the game they play for us. It is the republicans and democrats against the people. There are a few good politicians that actually want to serve the people but when they try to stand up, they are ignored by the media and the system and then the American sheeple point and laugh at them so they can hang with the cool kids that are bullies.

It is not only Clinton either but in my opinion she is the one democrat that could put the nail in our futures coffin. Allot of people love the Clinton's, most don't realize the damage that was caused to so many of our families by NAFTA, it seems to get brushed away by those that it did no affect. It seems in America, people are so ran down and controlled by their lack of finances that they have now gave up caring about their fellow neighbors and it only strengthens the elites position. I admit, I thought Bill was a cool guy, I was amazed that we had a president that seemed like so many I have known but I didn't realize that he took part in what happened to our family and mainly my father before he passed away. I blame NAFTA for the stress that killed him, he could no longer provide for his family and at his age it just changed him when all was lost.

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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Iszat you Ralph?
"If a republican somehow gets in, it may just get the American sheeple out of their prescription drug induced coma and into the streets."

Sorry about your father. No doubt NAFTA killed a lot of people. I may have been the only one who thought Perot won the debate with Gore.
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indimuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
30. I would like to read Obama's Opposition to THE WAR SPEACH!
Does anybody know where I could find that...he said he was against the war from the beginning...He was a elected official...where on record does he stand up in opposition?

Thank you for the post...She was CRYSTAL CLEAR!
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
10. Key phrase? "I will take the President at his word"
Edited on Thu Jan-10-08 12:22 PM by derby378
This is one of my biggest beefs with Hillary Clinton. She knew what sort of a perpetual screwup with delusions of grandeur George W. Bush was - and yet she took him at his word.

How many of us on DU were willing to do the same thing in 2002? Not I - I knew back then that there was something really fishy about the drumbeats calling us to invade Iraq. Clinton should have picked up on it and done the right thing. It would have been so easy to do.

One does not put a loaded gun in the hands of a moron. SJ Resolution 45 did exactly that.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Bingo -- Take away all the bullshit surround the debate and that's the point
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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Agree, but
Edited on Thu Jan-10-08 01:39 PM by anamandujano
once the moron has taken office, don't the other elected officials usually pretend he is somewhat competent, just out of respect?

I'm just beginning to read the debate surrounding this vote. I'm going for the dissenters next. It would be nice if one of the senators had used language such as "One does not put a loaded gun in the hands of a moron."

As I said, this is my main beef with Hillary. I said I would never vote for her, and still may not. I may not vote at all unless there is a huge blow up about the voting machines. Whenever I've been called to vote for a candidate after 2004, I have told the caller I won't until the problem is addressed and added, "please make a note of that and tell the candidate."
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Rockholm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
29. I agree with you on this.
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Carolina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
and she wants OUR trust now. Screw that.

The minute theft 2000 went down, I said to a fellow Dem friend: we're going to war against Iraq before it's all over.

How I wish I had been wrong and how I wish there weren't so many Dems with blood on their hands, too!
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 02:43 PM
Response to Original message
16. This was a good speech.....
Edited on Thu Jan-10-08 02:44 PM by FrenchieCat
no, not the one you posted, but this one!

October 26, 2002

I dont oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

Thats what Im opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

Hes a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. Im opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Lets finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesnt simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not we will not travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain. - BARACK OBAMA speaking at an anti-war rally's_Iraq_Speech

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anamandujano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. "I am absolutely convinced
that the President of the United States, George Bush, won this election. I also believe he got more votes in Ohio."

This guy went out of his way to approve the theft of the 2004 election. It's no wonder Kerry signed on with him today.

I guess it's okay with you folks to give the drunk the keys to the oval office. And it seems to go without saying that Obama was clueless about the 2000 election.

Oh yeah, he is much better than Hillary.
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Hart2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
17. She was an enabler. She gave the drunk the car keys.
Delegating the power to start a war to the President was horrendous judgment, which she has done nothing to change afterward.
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Windy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Love the analogy...bravo!! n/t
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jasmine621 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-08 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
24. Just how would you have voted as a Senator of the state where 9/11 took place?
My god, people. If she had not voted this way, just think how the people of her state and NYC would have felt. I think she made the only call she could have under the circumstances. It was a painfully difficult decision. She never wanted a war and Bush decieved her as he did many others. To hold this vote against her smacks of hypocrisy and desperation. If McCain and Guiliani can be held up by 60% of the population as tough, patriotic, and noble citizens for their constant war-mongering, certainly HC can be given a little slack here. She is trying to win the confidence of most American voters.
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jasmine621 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. I see I get no response from the gallery. I know what this means. nt
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zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
27. It's a speech that appeals to every angle of the argument...
...and the result is that Hillary got punked by Bush in the end.

My dog was smart enough to know that Bush wanted a free pass to attack Iraq.
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William769 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
28. Is this the weekly thread?
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