Kathleen Parker

Indeed, by spring the following year, Clinton was making her own case for the war. At a March 2003 meeting with members of Code Pink, aka Women for Peace, Clinton said that she had done her due diligence and studied the intelligence before voting for the Iraq resolution.

The way to avoid war, she told the women, was for Saddam to disarm and ``I have absolutely no belief that he will.''

Bush's war? And did Clinton really do her homework?

New York Times reporters Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., authors of ``Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,'' wrote in Sunday's New York Times Magazine that Clinton won't say whether she read the complete classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which included caveats about Saddam's weapons supplies and doubts about any alliance with al-Qaeda. The 90-page NIE report was made available to all 100 senators 10 days before the Senate vote.

If she had read the whole report, could Clinton have voted as she did? If she didn't read it, can she now claim that she was misled? Van Natta and Gerth quoted Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., then the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as saying that only six (unnamed) senators had readthe complete report.

Whatever Clinton thinks she thought, her vote and words do not accurately reflect what she now insists she meant. Her attempt to reframe her vote without issuing the apology that some on the anti-war left want from her is what it seems to be -- a political calculation.

Clinton would have done better to stick to her original principle:

She did what she thought was right at the time and wishes the war had been better managed. That's an assessment other war supporters can share and that war protesters can respect. Americans tend to be forgiving of errors in judgment made in good faith. They are less forgiving of fudging history in the service of politics.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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