WASHINGTON - In a frank admission, Hillary Clinton, a potential presidential candidate, says she ‘got it wrong. Plain and simple’ when she voted as a U.S. senator to authorize the war in Iraq, according to her new memoir.
Mrs Clinton’s support, in 2002, for the Iraq War Resolution dogged her unsuccessful 2008 run for President against Barack Obama, who opposed the war from the start. Clinton has distanced herself from her vote — but never in such forceful terms as in her book, ‘Hard Choices,’ which will be officially released on June 10.
‘Many senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution. I was one of them,’ she writes, according to CBS News, which obtained an advance copy and posted excerpts on its website. ‘As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake (became) more painful,’ Clinton adds.
‘I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.’ Clinton also says that the Obama administration demanded the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the recently freed American soldier, in every discussion it ever held with the Taliban about prisoners.
In her book, she recommended that President Barack Obama end the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba to force Fidel and Raul Castro into democratic change. Clinton writes that she raised concerns about a swap of Taliban prisoners when she was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state and disagreed with his decision not to arm Syrian rebels.
With controversy swirling over Obama’s move to swap five Taliban militants held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for captive Bergdahl, the book discloses that a much earlier discussion about him took place among top foreign policy advisers, including Clinton. ‘I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war,’ she wrote. The excerpts published by CBS News also reveal Clinton’s disagreement with Obama over his decision not to arm Syrian rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
‘The President’s inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels. No one likes to lose a debate, including me,’ Clinton wrote.
In a speech last week, Obama said he would increase support for the Syrian opposition, but he did not provide details. Clinton’s book, a memoir of her tenure at the State Department, is being published by Simon and Schuster, a unit of CBS’ parent company, CBS Corp. She will then launch a high-profile book tour across the country.
As the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, Clinton also acknowledged making a linguistic misstep in declaring a ‘reset’ in American relations with Russia. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March has raised questions about the so-called reset. In the book, Clinton calls Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘thin-skinned and autocratic, resenting criticism and eventually cracking down on dissent and debate.’
In March, she drew parallels at a closed-door fundraiser between Putin’s actions and those of Adolf Hitler before World War Two. She later backtracked from those comments. Asked in an interview on Wednesday about Clinton’s comments comparing him with Hitler, Putin said: ‘It’s better not to argue with women.
‘When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman,’ he added.
Clinton also addressed her experiences surrounding the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, saying: ‘There will never be perfect clarity on everything that happened.’ Republican critics have condemned her handling of the incident, in which four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.