Should Hillary Clinton weigh in on Syria?
September 3rd, 2013
11:57 AM ET
9 years ago

Should Hillary Clinton weigh in on Syria?

(CNN) - As major developments unfold in Syria, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke her recent silence on Twitter to...congratulate Diana Nyad.

"Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks – but you actually did it! Congrats!" Clinton posted on Twitter Monday evening, referring to Nyad's record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage.

But Republicans were quick to pounce on the possible 2016 presidential candidate. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer argued Clinton should be speaking out about the crisis in Syria, where Obama administration officials say chemical weapons were used last month.

"On Syria, what does Hillary say? Walker, Christie, Cuomo, O'Malley too. Would-be leaders should take a stand," he wrote Tuesday on Twitter, but then added a specific slam against Clinton. "At least Governors can say they're focused on other issues/don't have all the facts. Hillary has no right to remain silent."

The group that's behind "Stop Hillary 2016"–a campaign to tarnish Clinton's reputation as she considers a presidential bid–pushed out an email Monday night with a BuzzFeed article highlighting the fact that Clinton's first tweet in two weeks was about Nyad's swimming feat, not Syria.

But Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, who was also a senior political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, said he's not surprised by the criticism.

"Of course, given that it's Hillary, everything she says – or does not say – is going to be criticized. She'd be getting grief if she were weighing in, for Pete's sake," he said. "We can only have one Secretary of State at a time, and I don't think folks should attack her for letting Secretary Kerry lead the department he now runs."

In addition to pushing for diplomatic efforts to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, Clinton backed a proposal last year to provide weapons to Syrian rebels when she served as secretary of state.

Clinton also issued warnings in January shortly before leaving office about Iran's involvement in Syria, saying the country was supplying al-Assad's regime with military supplies. She urged Iran, as well as Russia, to reconsider their aid to war-torn country.

Clinton further defended her role as the nation's top diplomat in the situation.

"I've done what was possible to do," she told reporters.

She could have a chance to publicly comment on Syria this month. Clinton has a speech scheduled next week in Philadelphia, where she has said she'll talk about national security. The annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City also takes place later this month–an event that focuses on global issues.

Should she decide to run for president in 2016, Clinton is well aware that anything she says now can be used for or against her in the next few years.

Clinton was one of 29 Democrats who voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which gave President George W. Bush's administration the go-ahead to eventually send U.S. troops to Iraq.

That vote came back to hurt Clinton years later, as she was battling then-Sen. Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Even now, America Rising, the political action committee behind the Stop Hillary 2016 effort, made a blog post Tuesday highlighting her Iraq War vote.

"In justifying her vote for the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton invoked Saddam's pursuit of chemical and biological weapons," read an email advertising the blog post. "Given intelligence indicating Assad's use of them, would Hillary use the same justification to support action in Syria? To date, she has avoided the topic altogether."

Syria vote could have consequences for 2016

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Syria
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. TomGI

    Why not? She's no different than all the 'experts' on this forum. She just has a bigger audience.

    September 3, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Disgruntled Liberal

    Yea she should. She voted for the iraq war and loves a good fight.

    September 3, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Clarke

    I don't think it really makes a difference if she weights in or not. She retired, she doesn't need to say aword. Besides it really isn't her place and she is smart enough to know that.

    September 3, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. come on now

    Nobody cares what Hillary Clinton thinks or says.
    Cankles is Tammy Wynett, "Stand by Your Man and has no self esteem or pride.
    Her husband is a tool who the press claims 'everyone likes', but American's either hate him or think he is a joke.
    Clinton can't weigh in on Syria, because her failure as Secretary of State got it to this point.

    September 3, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. just saying

    hillary clinton supported going to war in both iraq and afghanistan. she's another war mongering leftist and would surely go to war in syria. the left never met a terrorist organization they didn't want to help.

    September 3, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Todd

    She isn't in the position where she needs to make the decision. This is a loose loose proposition. Say Yes, then you end up looking like a war monger. Say no you end up looking like you either don't care or are too hippy to make the big decisions.

    September 3, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts but reality bites

    Only leaders take positions.... political hacks like Hillary Clinton never take positions and then later take pot shots at those that did. She already failed her 3am phone call test with Benghazi. I doubt she is looking for another opportunity to blow it in the eyes of the nation
    "Only leaders take positions....political hacks ...take pot shots...." Thanks for offering up one explanation for the bizarre behavior by the Republicans in the Congress, most especially the House.

    September 3, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. A Kickin Donkey

    A well run state department would PROACTIVELY have contingency plans for alternate leaders movements in countries not friendly to us and cerain among the Axis-of-Evil countries of Iran, Syria, North Korea. These plans should not be "politically' originated but the braintrusts of CAREER government professionals that are in place regardless of administration.

    There is no good alternative to Assad. There was no good alternative to Saddam. There is no viable alternative in Iran to the Ayatollahs. It takes time, and carefully planning to forment an alternative but this is what I expect CAREER professionals to do in the State Department. We should have had a contingency plan in Yemen and Egypt. When I hear the political types {Mccain. Graham, Boehner, Cantor, Grayson, Cruz} speak proactively about these topics instead of REACT to the topic of the day, then I'll be impressed.

    September 3, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. SpreDave

    Hillary should weigh in. By answering this blog, just like me!
    Hillary most likely will not have an opinion until something happens, then she can side with whomever makes her look better. She is the ultimate politician. Why anyone believes her line of garbage and votes for her really baffles me.

    September 3, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Linda

    As his former Secretary of State she should speak privately with Obama. No need to enter the fray or go on public record at this point. But, I wouldn't doubt the media will hound her for a statement.

    September 3, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. BDub

    Since she accomplished very little during her time as Secretary of State...what value would any comment form HC be.

    September 3, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Who cares? The question is as irrelevant as she is.

    September 3, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Sam

    She would be a fool if she does. This is Obama's downfall, just as it was George W.

    September 3, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Steve


    September 3, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Greg Munro

    IT doesnt matter what Hilary does, some one is going to make a case against her. When all this started happening, I asked if people would have reacted differently had Hillary still been the Sec. of State, Kerry seems to be handling him self well ( people will agree or disagree ) But, I still have much more faith in Hilary vs Kerry.
    If Hilary doesnt speak out, I certainly understand it ( if she says anything remotely different from what Kerry has said) the media will be all over it, and it will be heard around the world in minutes. I would like to know what her opinion is, I hope she is available to Obama should he have questions ( with it being off the record of course). I trust Hilary, and I am apt to take her word/ assessment/ opinion over Kerry's ( not knocking him) . I think Hilary built an image/ feeling of trust, and understanding with the world. She is a tough act to follow. I know I would feel better, about this mess, if Hilary was involved - and I totally understand if she says nothing!

    September 3, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. NameFrank Deery

    Comment on Syria? She won't even face up to the mess she and Obama brought to Libya, where the oil ran safely, but our Ambassador and others died due to poor security.

    Syria, not oil rich, but linked to Iran and Russia, unlike Libya, is another matter. The
    "proxy" Islamic-sect war there began-under her watch-while Obama fundraised endlessly and enjoyed his "perks".

    Hillary Clinton is cunning, but not stupid. She saw this Syria fiasco coming. Baled!
    Poor Kerry, egg on his botoxed face, Sunday. He will leave soon. Yacting Season

    Republicans know HOW to handle Islamic
    Terrorists better than coddling, ambitious an
    golfing Liberals. Unpopular, maybe, but Respected! Gone under Obama.

    Bombing Syria now is futile-even dangerous. Obama and Clinton could have acted wisely two years ago, saving such a mess. They blew it! Just get the hell out of the way, and
    maybe another route is there.

    procrastinated badly.

    September 3, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Why should Hillary try to upstage Obama who is the president just to make the GOP idiots happy,you will hear from her in 2016 when she sends the GOP back to the horse and buggy days where they didn't have healthcare.i think that's where they belong, in the last century!!!!

    September 3, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Larry Lurkster

    I am so tired of this woman. I'm sure she's smart enough to handle the position of leader of the free world but she comes across as abtrasive. Let's see, wife of the governor, then wife of the President, now Senator... Go do something in private life again and give the rest of us a breather. Geez!

    September 3, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. In My 20's

    She won't. That way she is protected if she decides to run for President of the USA in 2016. There are people who decide to do the right thing, then there are others that do whatever they have to in order to get elected.

    September 3, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Brian

    "What difference does it make?"

    September 3, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Should she decide to run for president in 2016, Clinton is well aware that anything she says now can be used for or against her in the next few years.

    Understatement of the day.


    September 3, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. GreyBeard

    Why should she? She doesn't hold any political office. Why doesn't the GOP idiots ask what Sara Palin would do?

    September 3, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Pandamonius

    She should keep quiet, as should we all. This is Syria's mess. If Syrians want freedom that badly, they need to earn it themselves, even if tens of thousands die in the process. That's the only way true Freedom can be earned and respected.

    September 3, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. doublevenom

    Hell NO! How many more people will she let get slaughtered like Benghazi?

    September 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "This is Obama's downfall"

    Yawn. We've been listening to that refrain for 5 years and it still hasn't happened and he won the last election by a landslide. Keep dreaming that the GOP/Teatrolls can manage to arrange for it...whatever floats your boat.

    September 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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