Huffpost Politics
Sam Stein Headshot

Bill Clinton: I Was "For Giving Bush Authority To Take Out Saddam"

Posted: Updated:

While stumping for his wife in Iowa on Tuesday former President Bill Clinton claimed unequivocally that he had opposed the war in Iraq from the very onset. It was a much firmer declaration than any he had made prior to the March 2003 invasion. And Clinton's aides later clarified that he had restrained his pre-war criticism out of respect for a sitting president's military decisions.

The statement, nevertheless, caused a stir among reporters and opposing campaigns, both of whom saw a bit of revisionist history.

One notable example that has yet to make the rounds is a March 18, 2003, op-ed by Bill Clinton in the UK Guardian, titled "Trust Tony's Judgment." Clinton chastised the European states that had vetoed a resolution by ex-Prime Minister Blair justifying the use of force against Saddam if the Iraqi dictator did not meet several time-specific deadlines for weapons inspections.

More importantly, Clinton rationalized the impending war on grounds that it would be far less dangerous than doing nothing at all.

As Clinton opined:

"As Blair has said, in war there will be civilian as well as military casualties. There is, too, as both Britain and America agree, some risk of Saddam using or transferring his weapons to terrorists. There is as well the possibility that more angry young Muslims can be recruited to terrorism. But if we leave Iraq with chemical and biological weapons, after 12 years of defiance, there is a considerable risk that one day these weapons will fall into the wrong hands and put many more lives at risk than will be lost in overthrowing Saddam."

To read the entire op-ed click here.

Another statement has emerged busting a big-old hole in Bill Clinton's claim that he opposed the Iraq War from its onset; this one recorded from the speech he gave during the topping out ceremony of his presidential library.

"I was actually for giving President Bush the authority to take out Saddam Hussein," the ex-President says. "But I've learned one thing... we don't need to criticize those who dissent from us too harshly cause after 200 years when you look back at it, the critics turned out to be right about half the time. And then their position became the majority position and then we just kept on going."

Well... he was prescient in one regard.