Today, Hillary Clinton defended her Iraq vote. She stopped short of saying her vote was a mistake, as others have in recent weeks. Hillary spoke up “amid growing unease among liberal Democrats who could determine the potential 2008 presidential candidate’s future.”
“I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the president and his administration to take responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war,” the New York senator said in a lengthy letter to thousands of people who have written her about the war.
At the same time, she said the United States must “finish what it started” in Iraq.
Clinton and other hawkish Democrats have come under criticism from liberal anti-war activists, many of whom will hold sway over presidential primary contests.
In a letter (email) to voters, Hillary “cited prewar assurances from the White House that the United States would use the United Nations to resolve the issue of Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction.”
“Based on the information that we have today, Congress never would have been asked to give the president authority to use force against Iraq,” she said.
“Given years of assurances that the war was nearly over and that the insurgents were in their ‘last throes,” this administration was either not being honest with the American people or did not know what was going on in Iraq,” she wrote.
Hillary did state in her email that she felt, as other Democrats do, that is time for plan from the President:
It is time for the President to stop serving up platitudes and present us with a plan for finishing this war with success and honor – not a rigid timetable that terrorists can exploit, but a public plan for winning and concluding the war. And it is past time for the President, Vice President, or anyone else associated with them to stop impugning the patriotism of their critics.
She also made an attempt to defend those who have spoken out more harshly in recent weeks:
Criticism of this Administration’s policies should not in any way be confused with softness against terrorists, inadequate support for democracy or lack of patriotism.
A copy of Hillary Clinton’s email is available here.