While the Hillary Clinton campaign hammered at Democratic rival Barack Obama’s Iraq voting record recently, a candid 2003 video of Clinton explaining her favorable vote to use military force against Saddam Hussein seems at odds with her current stand on the issue.
“We have to disarm this man (Hussein),” Clinton tells members of the anti-war organization Code Pink in a video captured in Washington March 6, 2003.
Videographer and student Kirsten Michel, 40, of Modesto, Calif. recorded Clinton addressing the group during a week of protesting in Washington.
Michel said she put the more than 15-minute unedited video on YouTube.com in January 2007 after she failed trying to make DVD copies on her computer.
“It is a valuable video,” Michel said in a telephone interview. “It was not related to the fact that she (is now) running (for president).”
During an explanation of the New York Senator’s vote supporting a resolution allowing for military force in disarming the Iraqi dictator, Clinton said she studied the issue for 10 years and relied on “people she trusted” to make her decision.
“(The decision) was based on my own assessment and understanding of the situation,” Clinton said in the video.
Clinton compared taking such action to what her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had to do to end ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.
“I do not believe, with the given attitudes in the world, (other nations) would take on the situation without U.S. leadership,” Clinton said in the video. “(In Bosnia) the U.S. had to do it alone.”
The video now seems at odds with Clinton’s promise to end the war in Iraq during several televised debates.
The Clinton and Obama campaigns did not return several calls seeking comment on the video.
“Her position has shifted since the war became more and more unpopular,” Code Pink spokesman Nancy Kricorian said. “Of course (the video) is troubling (to us).”
According to Kricorian, the organization is “bird dogging” Clinton by attending campaign events and fundraisers to bring attention to its cause and to elicit a promise to end the conflict.
“(Clinton) didn’t even read the (2002) 90-page report (on Iraq) before voting,” Kricorian said. “She is getting more money from the defense industry than any other candidate (in either party).”
Michel, who was only loosely attached to the organization during the 2003 protest in Washington, said the video was being in the right place at the right time.
“I take documentary footage,” Michel said. “I capture life as it happens.”
She said that she recently allowed the video to be taken from YouTube and embedded on other web sites because she feels the information is important and should be made available to voters now.
“(Clinton) is a politician like everyone else, she will say anything to get elected,” Michel said.