Clinton's no Gore on Iraq

Stephen W. Stromberg
June 22, 2004 2:35AM (UTC)

Exactly what does former President Clinton think about the war in Iraq? His position is what his detractors might call characteristically slippery, although one thing is clear: It's decidedly more conciliatory than Al Gore's. Clinton told Time magazine: "I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over."

Yet to Dan Rather on 60 Minutes, he said: "There have been more terrorists move into Iraq in the aftermath of the conflict. I still believe, as I always have, that the biggest terrorist threat by far is Al Qaeda and the Al Qaeda network."


While he believes the timing of the invasion was wrong, Clinton told Time he wants the war to be ultimately proven the right thing to do. "We've got a big stake now in making it work," he said. How long will that take? He told the Der Spiegel German news weekly it would take at least five years before Iraq can be considered stable and secure and that the June 30 handover wouldn't halt violence in the country. "I hope that the whole process has led back to a foreign policy that we should have followed to co-operate wherever we can, and only to act alone when we have to," he said, in a jab at Bush's unilateralism.

Clinton said that was the major difference between his opinion and Bush's policy. "My view is that in an interdependent world most problems do not lend themselves to unilateral solutions," Clinton told Time. Not exactly the ringing denunciation of President Bush Al Gore perpetrated recently in his fiery talk at NYU, but still something for the neocons to chew on.

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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