Explaining her hesitation to renounce her vote in favor of the Iraq War, Hillary Clinton said Monday that she didn’t want to “break faith with” the U.S. military.
The remarks gave a little more context to Clinton’s admission in her new book that voting for the Iraq War in 2002 was “wrong. Plain and simple.”
Backtracking on the vote earlier would have been the “smart political decision,” Clinton told a Toronto business group on Monday during her ongoing book tour. But she explained why she felt she couldn’t.
The Nation published a video and transcript of her statement in front of the Toronto Board of Trade.
“I had this sense that I had voted for it, and we had all these young men and women over there, and it was a terrible battle environment,” Clinton said. “I knew some of the young people who were there and I was very close to one Marine lieutenant who lead a mixed platoon of Americans and Iraqis in the first battle for Fallujah.”
“So I felt like I couldn’t break faith with them,” she continued. “Maybe that doesn’t make sense to anybody else but me, but that’s how I felt about it. So I kept temporizing and I kept avoiding saying it because I didn’t want there to be any feeling that I was backing off or undercutting my support for this very difficult mission in Iraq.”
Clinton wrote in her new book that she “got it wrong” on Iraq with her 2002 vote. But she said on Monday that her apparent hesitation to recant the vote was not a political calculation.
“I kept trying to say, ‘Well if we knew then what we know now it would not have ever come for a vote,’ all of which was true, but just sort of avoided the fact of my saying, ‘You know I just got it wrong, plain and simple. I made a mistake,’” she said. ‘I thought a lot about that, because people said well — ‘You’re not saying you made a mistake for political reasons.'”
“Well, in fact, in the Democratic Party at that time, the smart political decision, as so many of my colleagues did, was to come out and say ‘Terrible mistake, shouldn’t have done it,’ and you know blame the Bush administration,” she said.