Andrys Basten 2005

March 10, 2008

That Iraq War Vote and the Judgment Factor

Who do we know who would have said this about Hillary ?
"She’s one of the toughest.  She’s got an extraordinary intelligence. And she is, she’s somebody who’s in this stuff for the right reasons.  She’s passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children.  So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate.

"I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I’m always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence.  And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices.  So that might be something that sort of  is obvious.  But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time:  I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test."

- Barack Obama
The New Yorker, November 6, 2006

Who said the following, in a speech before the 2002 AUMF Iraq Resolution vote?

"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."
Yes.  Clinton's full text made clear that she felt the Resolution before them was the one they could get at that point for avoiding war (if we had an honest president) because it threatened Iraq with war only IF Iraq would not allow inspectors.

To that end the Resolution worked and Iraq was allowing them, but Bush ignored the limitations of that Resolution and went to war despite not having the authority to do that within the language of that Resolution.

As most know now, Obama wasn't a U.S. senator yet, and in 2004 told Tim Russert (in defense of votes by Kerry and Edwards) that he himself could not be sure how he would have voted, not being privy to the papers they were given in the Senate.

His eloquent anti-war speech was made as a state senator of a very liberal anti-war district and at an anti-war rally. He now says it was a risky speech in 2002 because he was running for U.S. Senator, but that didn't happen until 2003-2004.

Since being in the U. S. Senate, he's voted in lockstep with Hillary Clinton on all things Iraq except that he voted for the confirmation of General Casey while she voted against it.  See concerns about his actual U.S. Senate voting record.

ASIDES: Re recent Iran vote (which Obama, alone among the presidential candidates, missed), I read that The "Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007," which Obama co-sponsored on April 24, 2007, states that:
"The Secretary of State should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189) and the Secretary of the Treasury should place the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224 (66 Fed. Reg. 186; relating to blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism)."
The videoclip of Obama's Iraq war speech segment was not actual but a re-enactment by Obama for a tv ad for his campaign. Axelrod explains that there is no tape of that speech.  The unrecorded speech was given 3 months before he announced he would run for the U.S. Senate.


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6 Comments:

Blogger Arturo Ui said...

"Yes. Clinton's full text made clear that she felt the Resolution before them was the one they could get at that point for avoiding war (if we had an honest president) because it threatened Iraq with war only IF Iraq would not allow inspectors."


It doesn't matter what Hillary Clinton claims her vote was really supposed to be about--it's the distastrous consequences that vote has had on our nation's armed forces, the Iraqi people, our fiscal situation, and our reputation in the global community. If she couldn't see how things were really going to go, and if she trusted a man like George W. Bush with the awesome power of unilateral "pre-emptive" war, then she simply does not have the proper judgment to be president. No amount of spin can change that basic fact.

I mean, it's not as if the senators who voted against the resolution were AGAINST "the one they could get at that point for avoiding war". Paul Wellstone voted against it. Lincoln Chafee voted against it. Russ Feingold voted against it. These were among the strongest opponents of going to war with Iraq.

Either Hillary supported the war, or she was fooled by a man she knew better than to trust after the theft of the 2000 Election. Either way, she has no business being trusted with the presidency.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Andrys said...

And, as Obama himself said, in 2004 and in 2006, he didn't know for sure what he would have done if he'd been a member of the Senate and given the same information. Something he was careful to say, he states, until running hard for the presidency. He also said it was rather obvious that his circumstances and Clinton's were different.

As for who is not fit to be president because of trusting Bush at the time (2001), those you deem Unfit for the presidency would include Kerry, Kennedy, Biden, Daschle, Dodd, Edwards, Schumer.

You have a very narrow way of deciding such things. There are plenty of reasons to not want one candidate or another.

That she warned about the 'arrogance of American power' is more than most others were willing to say who were in the Senate at the time, including Dem leaders above.

Again,
=======
"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."
=======

Just part of her 'speech' at the time, which is ignored when people LIKE to say that she wanted war.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Arturo Ui said...

Thanks for posting my comment, and responding, too!

I'd like to respond to some of the points you made:

"And, as Obama himself said, in 2004 and in 2006, he didn't know for sure what he would have done if he'd been a member of the Senate and given the same information."

I agree that his comment in 2006 was bone-headed. There was no need for him to weaken the political capital he had gained in opposing the war from the start, by diluting in that way. Bad politics. However, it doesn't dismiss the fact that he was still opposed to the war from the very beginning, and opposed to the Iraq War Resolution. It's not his fault that he wasn't yet in the Senate at the time. Dick Durbin, his mentor and senior Illinois U.S. Senator, voted against the resolution. Obama clearly ran for the senate on an anti-war, progressive platform. Cleary the Illinois political environment was highly favorable to an anti-war vote, so I believe it's pretty obvious how he would have voted if given the chance.

As for 2004, those remarks were made, as you pointed out, in defense of Edwards and Kerry, just before the Democratic convention began. It would have been extremely unhelpful to the Democratic Party for their keynote speaker to trash their party's standard bearer on the eve of the convention over the war. Obama did the natural, decent thing and did his best to defend the nominees' records.

"As for who is not fit to be president because of trusting Bush at the time (2001), those you deem Unfit for the presidency would include Kerry, Kennedy, Biden, Daschle, Dodd, Edwards, Schumer."

I was actually referring to the 2002 war resolution. If by "2001", you're pointing out these senators' support for retaliation against the Taliban in Afghanistan, well, I don't believe there's much disagreement to be had over whether or not we should have dealt directly with the forces that had sponsored bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks.

As for the 2002 war resolution, I agree completely "Kerry, Biden, Daschle, Dodd, Edwards, Schumer" are all unfit for the presidency, as they showed critically bad judgment in supporting the resolution. Edwards and Kerry have admitted they made a blatantly wrong decision. I took Kennedy out of that list, because he made the right choice, and voted against the resolution.

"You have a very narrow way of deciding such things. There are plenty of reasons to not want one candidate or another."

You're right that there should be more than one reason, although for me, the war is certainly the great moral crisis of our time, and thus the biggest issue to use in deciding who has the right judgment and capability to be president. The other major issue for me is how the candidates voted on the credit card bankruptcy bill. Again, Edwards and Clinton made the wrong choice. Obama made the right one.

"That she warned about the 'arrogance of American power' is more than most others were willing to say who were in the Senate at the time, including Dem leaders above."

I'm glad that she did, although her words are pretty meaningless when framed alongside her vote to then pursue the very arrogance she supposedly detested, and launch a pre-emptive war against a sovereign, non-enemy.

"Just part of her 'speech' at the time, which is ignored when people LIKE to say that she wanted war."

When someone votes for a resolution titled "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002", it seems pretty logical to disregard the words they spoke in opposition to the "yea" vote they just delivered.

It's kind of ironic that Obama is so often attacked for being "just words", while Clinton supporters regularly defend her Iraq war vote by pointing instead to the speech she gave before making it. Doesn't the vote have a bit more weight than the speech she gave justifying it?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Andrys said...

No reason not to post your points. They're normal, valid ones.

The political capital (made post-2006 while running for the presidency, because, earlier he was more honest about the different circumstances) works if people don't know better (as you've seen) and he's no longer 'careful' to say that he wasn't in the U.S. Senate at the time. Countless blog commenters actually write that he voted against it in the Senate.

His speech was to an anti-war rally while he was representing an anti-war district. Not much that's stark there. Also, he was not yet running for the US Senate as he likes say, to justify that it was 'risky' -- it wasn't.

I do thank you for your well-reasoned approach to comments.
The 'bone-headed' description is one he himself termed for his having Rezko help him with buying that "lot" which was essentially the yard for that large house.
Nothing illegal there, just bad "judgment" as he puts it.

His voting: he has shown surprising lapses such as not capping consumer credit interest rates at 30% -- that was a bad bone he threw the industry but he is practical and can use the industry support and you've seen my remarks on that. Clinton voted for the cap.

He voted for the Cheney bill when Clinton voted against it.

These things are so gray and not b&w, so I have objected to the "Obama is Pure" tendencies I see, because of course, growing up as he did with Jones, Rezko, Wright, he obviously has some Old-Politics respect and used them, especially in knocking Alice Palmer and others off the ballot. That's another reason I don't like that he has felt the only way to really win was to knock Hillary off before big states of Ohio, Texas, PA, etc. As you see, there's a recognition now that the popular vote IS important as a balance to the delegate vote (the Jeffersonian idea) and it's being factored in now.

He can minimize that by not allowing revotes in Fl/Mich but that will hurt the Democrats far worse than anything Clinton's done.

See my http://www.andrys.com/flballot.html to see how much I care about the vote as a principle. And see Wayne Barrett's long piece about the Florida and Michigan primary situations and how the Republicans have determined all that with Dean's and Obama's help.
http://tinyurl.com/3y4hfn

Back to Iraq war - Obama is a realist (from Chicago) and voted with Clinton on everything Iraq, once in the senate, except that he voted for confirming Casey. Other Dems did not vote for each funding.

There are pressures he has shown recognition of when running for president and the above votes were based on that. Biden is tougher, but the public doesn't want him.

In 2004, he was actually just telling the truth. He didn't know.

They all have to balance all kinds of things when saying or voting. And you see that he regards all the political fallout. And, it's the only way to get elected.

Yes, I did mean 2002, sorry about that.
No, the others are absolutely fitted for the presidency despite the 2002 vote, which actually approved that Force IF the inspectors weren't allowed. They were allowed. Force was not authorized under that resolution for that condition. Bush didn't care. Not enough Americans cared.

So the onus is on Bush, where it belongs. And to the American people who didn't complain enough, until the last election when American deaths and $-spent became more important (because the earlier hundreds of thousands of Iraqis maimed and killed did not matter much to people we know, which was a problem for me).

Thanks for the correction on Kennedy's vote!

And I agree with you and have for years that the war IS the great moral crisis of our time, but I lay the blame where it belongs, and to the Congress that did not stop Bush AFTER he ignored the conditions of the resolution. THAT was the true cowardice.

Obama was right (for my own bias toward consumer rights) on the bankruptcy bill, but he voted against the incredibly easy to understand HALT on consumer interest at 30% on the amendment.
There's no excusing that. Even Clinton, more conservative voted for the limit.

He also made class-action suits FAR more difficult now as I explain elsewhere. That was a terrible vote. But he's got a record of doing such things. Reforming things on behalf of the corporations and nuclear powers (mainly because they have the power in our economy and one must 'deal' with the deck one has to this or that effect).

No, the title of the resolution is an Obama-talking-point but one does need to read the text of a resolution (it's the core), and we -were- determined to use force if they refused inspectors.

Problem? They let them in. OUR President ignored that and went in.

Clinton's vote was explicitly against unilateralism, as quoted.

And the wording of the resolution was use of force ONLY upon conditions not met, but they were met. It's time to stop blaming the 77 senators and have the courage to blame Bush and Cheney and blame ourselves for not being strong enough to urge and back our own representatives to throw them out.

As for voting re just-words, read what I quoted Obama as saying.

And, again, we must pay attention to content of resolutions as well as simplistically quoting only their titles. The title was meant, but we had and have a highly dishonest president, and the population was not able or willing (the latter mostly) to do anything about it, because it was happening to 'other' people.

I will put up other articles soon to further describe the divide between Obama's words and his past actions. He promises everything, and every stump speech has about 21 huge promises, including $4,000 per year toward each young person's college education and even promising ME no-taxes in my age group. Gosh, I must run out and vote for the guy :-) There's no reality speaking there. But yes, there's a lot of Hope handed out.

Thanks. If you don't hear from me again, it's because I eventually want to give a sincere commenter the last word and because opinions of others are just important. Thanks for reading and chiming in.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Arturo Ui said...

Thanks for the very thorough response. While I obviously disagree here and there, I appreciate your reasoned, informed arguments against my points. I'll take a break for now, but I've placed "Andrys" in my bookmarks.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Andrys said...

arturo, drop by anytime. Your points are good ones. I read more than I drop the more unusual reference text for archiving, so it's relatively inactive. Thanks for your thoughts.

8:00 PM  

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