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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Senator Clinton's war vote

I agree with every word that Mr. Fountain wrote.

I would just add this.

It is hard to remember at this late date the sequence of events from 2001 up to the present day. We need to be reminded that until November 2002 (that is until the President had the support of the Senate and the House) the Iraqis refused to allow UN inspectors to undertake inspections for WMD on Iraqi territory. By the end of November, inspections under the direction of Hans Blix were under way. The vote to grant the President war powers had achieved its purpose, the Iraq regime was being called to account for its actions.The vote was a magnificent piece of realpolitik

We have forgotten too that Hans Blix called on the US and Britain to give his inspectors the "hard intelligence" that they claimed to possess so that his inspectors could go to check out that information on the ground. The failure of the US and Britain to do so should have roused our suspicions that all was not well with the intelligence -- its invalidity has since been amply demonstrated.

Where we went wrong -- the Senate, and the House, and the country, and all of us -- was the failure to recognize the importance of the inspector's reports in mid February 2003 that there was no evidence of immanent danger from Iraq. That should have led to a re-evaluation of the war power resolution and its potential repeal based on the changed situation. We failed to do so and we are reaping the tragic consequences today.

So Senator Clinton can be blamed for not insisting on revisiting the vote in the light of the new information from the inspectors; she cannot be blamed, indeed she should be praised, for the original vote that put the inspectors back in Iraq.

Sent to Boston Globe

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