Ritter slams Hillary on her war vote… an unique insider viewpoint.

Originally published 3/5/07:

Scott Ritter on the duplicitous actions and words of both Clintons in their dealings with Iraq.  He provides a unique insider viewpoint of exactly what sorts of deception were undertaken by this stallwort Democrat family.  Well worth the short read it is.

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/48729/

“My vote,” Hillary said with great sanctimony, “is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of preemption, or for unilateralism, 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.” But by citing the policies of her husband, there can be no doubt that this was exactly what her vote was about.”

“I should know. From January 1993 until my resignation from the United Nations in August 1998, I witnessed firsthand the duplicitous Iraq policies of Bill Clinton’s administration, the implementation of which saw a president lie to the American people about a threat he knew was hyped, lie to Congress about his support of a disarmament process his administration wanted nothing to do with, and lie to the world about American intent, which turned its back on the very multilateral embrace of diplomacy as reflected in the Security Council resolutions Hillary Clinton so piously refers to in her speech, and instead pursued a policy defined by the unilateral interests of the Clinton administration to remove Saddam Hussein from power.”

“I personally witnessed the director of the CIA under Bill Clinton, James Woolsey, fabricate a case for the continued existence of Iraqi ballistic missiles in November 1993, after I had provided a detailed briefing which articulated the U.N. inspector’s findings that Iraq’s missile program had been fundamentally disarmed. I led the U.N. inspector’s investigation into the defection of Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, in August 1995, and saw how the Clinton administration twisted his words to make a case for the continued existence of a nuclear program the weapons inspectors knew to be nothing more than scrap and old paper. I was in Baghdad at the head of an inspection team in the summer of 1996 as the Clinton administration used the inspection process as a vehicle for a covert action program run by the CIA intending to assassinate Saddam Hussein.”

“I twice traveled to the White House to brief the National Security Council in the confines of the White House Situation Room on the plans of the inspectors to pursue the possibility of concealed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, only to have the Clinton national security team betray the inspectors by failing to deliver the promised support, and when the inspections failed to deliver any evidence of Iraqi wrongdoing, attempt to blame the inspectors while denying any wrongdoing on their part.”

“This last fact hits very close to home. As a former Marine Corps officer and as a chief inspector responsible for the welfare of the personnel entrusted to my command, I take the act of official betrayal very seriously. “I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know,” Sen. Clinton said in her speech defending her vote for war, “that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them.” I am left to wonder if, in citing the record of her husband when he was president, Hillary would stand behind the troops with the same duplicitous “vigor” that her husband displayed when betraying the U.N. weapons inspectors.”

“In February 1998 the Clinton administration backed a diplomatic effort undertaken by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help get the weapons inspection process back on track (inspections had been stalled since January 1998, when a team I led was prevented by the Iraqis from carrying out its mission because, as the Iraqis maintained, there were too many Americans and British on the team implementing the unilateral policy of regime change instead of the mandated task of disarmament). Hillary stated that she wanted a strong U.N. resolution designed to promote viable weapons inspections and specifically singled out the compromises brokered by Kofi Annan to get inspectors back into Iraq as a failed effort that weakened the inspection process. What she fails to mention is that her husband initially supported the Annan mission, not so much because it paved a path towards disarmament, but rather because it provided a cover for legitimizing regime change.”

“I sat in the office of then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, as the United States cut a deal with then-U.N. Special Commission Executive Chairman Richard Butler, where the timing and actions of an inspection team led by myself (a decision that was personally approved by Bill Clinton) would be closely linked to a massive U.S. aerial bombardment of Iraq triggered by my inspection. I was supposed to facilitate a war by prompting Iraqi noncompliance. Instead, I did my job and facilitated an inspection that pushed the world closer to a recognition that Iraq was complying with its disarmament obligation. As a reward, I was shunned from the inspection process by the Clinton administration.”

“In April 1998 Bill Clinton promised Congress that his administration would provide all support necessary to the U.N. inspectors. In May 1998 his National Security Team implemented a new policy that turned its back on the inspectors, seeking to avoid supporting a disarmament process that undermined the policies of regime change so strongly embraced by Bill Clinton and his administration. When I resigned in August 1998 in protest over its duplicitous policies, I was personally attacked by the Clinton administration in an effort to divert attention away from the truth about what it were doing regarding Iraq. Four months later Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of Iraq, Operation Desert Fox, referred to in glowing terms by Hillary Clinton as she endorsed the policies of deception that led our nation down the path towards war.”

“So it is with conviction,” Hillary said at the moment of her vote, “that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president, and we say to him — use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein — this is your last chance — disarm or be disarmed.”

“It turned out Saddam was in fact already disarmed. And it turned out that Hillary’s husband, President Bill Clinton, knew this when he ordered the bombing of Iraq in 1998. Hillary can try to twist and turn the facts as she defends the words she spoke when casting her fateful vote in favor of a war with Iraq. But no amount of rewriting history can shield her from the failed policies of her very own husband, policies she embraced willingly and wholeheartedly when endorsing war.”

“Run, Hillary, run. But your race towards the White House will never outpace the hypocrisy and duplicity inherent in your decision to vote for war in Iraq.”

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