Bill Clinton’s Own Fairy Tales on Obama’s Views on Iraq

Some of the posts on Saturday dealt with the inevitable attacks which the Democratic candidate will face and whether they will be prepared to respond. There was an example of a response to an attack from the Obama camp on Saturday night as Dick Durbin defended Obama against recent attacks from Bill Clinton.Bill Clinton has stated that Obama’s claims of opposing the war from the start were a fairy tale. The Politico reports on a call received from Durbin disputing this and defending Obama:

“I’m really troubled by his questioning the sincerity of Barack Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq,” Durbin said. “I really think it is unfortunate to question Barack’s sincerity on the war. He has been there from the start, opposing this war.”

The unsolicited comments — in a phone call to Politico from Springfield, Ill. — were a sign that the Obama campaign is going to react aggressively to perceived attacks on the senator’s character…

Durbin suggested that the former president has been giving somewhat revisionist accounts on the way the Iraq war debate played out.

“It was not easy to be against that war back when we cast that vote in October of 2002,” Durbin said. “I was one of 23 who voted against the war. Barack was supportive — one of the few candidates speaking out strongly against it in Illinois.

“If President Clinton had opposed that war as strongly as Barack Obama at the time, it would have helped a lot of us who had voted against authorizing an invasion.”

Obama made his views on Iraq clear in a speech on October 2, 2002:

I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Clinton based his attacks on Obama on statements in which Obama avoided criticism of Kerry and Edwards for their votes in favor of the Iraq War Resolution before the 2004 convention, but Obama never wavered in his opposition to going to war. Bill Clinton made similar claims last March which were debunked by The New York Times:

In 2002, in the weeks before and after the Senate voted on the war resolution, Mr. Obama, then a state senator, took a strong antiwar line, popular in his liberal Chicago district, and repeatedly said President Bush ”has not made his case for going into Iraq.”

Bill Sargent at TPM Election Central also reviewed the statements by Obama that Bill Clinton took out of context to make his claims and concluded:

It’s perfectly clear that Obama was in fact against the war at the time. His position then — as now — was that the case for war had not been made and that the invasion wasn’t justified.

Bill Clinton has not only been telling fairy tales of his own with regards to Obama’s position on the war, but has also told fairy tales about his own views. In November The Washington Post questioned Clinton’s claims that he had “opposed Iraq from the beginning.” Hillary Clinton’s record isn’t very good either. Last month Foreign Policy in Focus reviewed her views on the war dating back to the pre-war days, which show a stark contrast from the anti-war views expressed by Obama above. Reviewing Hillary’s record shows why Bill Clinton might want to revise history, but his fairy tales do not change the past.

(Cross posted from The Carpetbagger Report)

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