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Your View: Clinton opposed

Monday, December 3, 2007

There are substantive reasons for opposing Hillary Clinton in next year's Missouri primary. One place to start would be her voting record in the Senate and what that tells us about her judgement which to me, at least, seems clouded by her political aspirations.

In the fall of 2002 the Bush administration began it's election season clamor for war with Iraq. In one of the most shamefull episodes in American history, the U.S. Congress ran away from it's Constitutional duty and punted the decision of whether or not to go to war to the President who had already made up his mind. One hundred and fifty or so Congressional Democrats voted against the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) but Senator Clinton was not among them. In fact, her rhetoric at the time was barely distinguishable from the President's. In at least one speech she asserted that the United States had certain knowledge of Saddams WMD stores, capabilities, and intentions which made him a threat to the U.S.

Hilary's rhetoric, like so much of the bellicose rhetoric at the time, was, at least in part, based on a de-classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) paper offered by the President, among other things, as justification for his decision and released to the Congress.

Across town however, was the classified NIE available only to Congressmen, not their staff, in a secured room. The classified NIE was about one hundred pages long and included all the uncertainty and analytical disputes over the intelligence collected on Saddam and the Iraqis. The classified NIE painted a picture distinctly at odds with the certainty offered by the de-classified version. For unknown reasons, Senator Clinton made the decision to not take the time or trouble to read the classified NIE.

On the campaign stump over the last few months Senator Clinton has repeatedly claimed that if she and everyone else in Congress knew in the fall of 2002 what she and they know now, there would have been no war. One might be tempted to comment on her confusing "not knowing" with "not wanting to know", but I'll leave that to others.

But it's clear, to me anyway, that Senator Clinton was burnishing her national security credentials as Presidential hopefuls with a vote that she hoped would make her look tough in general and tough on terrorism in particular. Which I feel was the reason for her recent vote declaring in the Senate that portions of the Iranian military are a terrorist organization. Again, she makes a vote designed to demonstrate her political reincarnation as Margaret Thatcher, but at the same time the door for another potentially disastrous military blunder edges open.

There are indeed, substantive reasons for opposing the Senator's quest for the Presidency. Claiming she is a socialist, however, is not one of them.

Mike Patterson, Sikeston