Birds Got to Fly, Fish Got to Swim

by Jonah Goldberg

and Bill Clinton’s got to lie. From today’s Washington Post:

 A former senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed Bill Clinton’s statement this week that he “opposed Iraq from the beginning,” saying that the former president was privately briefed by top White House officials about war planning in 2003 and that he told them he supported the invasion.

Clinton’s comments in Iowa on Tuesday went far beyond more nuanced remarks he made about the conflict in 2003. But the disclosure of his presence in briefings by Rice — and his private expressions of support — may add to the headaches that the former president has given his wife’s campaign in recent weeks.

Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was “shocked” and “astonished” by Clinton’s remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams “coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that ‘we have Clinton’s support.’ “

Leverett, a former career foreign service officer who said she is not involved in any presidential campaign, said the incident affected her because of her own doubts about the wisdom of an attack. “To hear President Clinton was supportive really silenced whatever questions I had,” she recalled. Leverett, who worked in the same office as Abrams at the time, said Rice and Abrams “made it a high priority” to get Clinton’s support, meeting with him at least twice. Abrams was tasked to answer Clinton’s questions and “took the responsibility very seriously,” Leverett said. “Elliott was then very focused on making sure that we followed up on Clinton’s questions to keep Clinton happy and on board.”

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