When a policy fails, or the public turns against it, admitting that you wouldn’t vote for it doesn’t exactly make you Bonhoeffer. If you or I knew what we know now, then we’d be (almost) perfect. And apologies are not a exemption from accountability. The problem with Hillary Clinton’s position is that none of us ever “know what we know now” when we make decisions. Her job, then, was to challenge the executive branch and remain duly skeptical of its case—which she was not.
But even if we suspend our disbelief and believe her initial vote wasn’t driven by political expediency (remember, voters supported an invasion in big numbers) or that her so-called apology wasn’t driven by political expediency (by that time she switched, a big majority of Democrats believed Iraq was a mistake), how does a voter know the next time Hillary is faced with one of those hard choices, she won’t make another mistake? The Iraq War vote was the most consequential the former New York senator would ever take and, by her own admission, she failed. Isn’t that the way voters judge candidates who run on their experience and wisdom? Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone has to be president.
And Hillary wasn’t just fooled by faulty or misleading intelligence, or led astray by a dishonest administration. In her floor speech defending the vote to invade, she made a passionate case for intervention little different from the one the administration was making for the long term prospects of teh region.