A TEXT POST

When Hillary Clinton Labeled Syria’s Bashar Assad A “Different Leader” And A “Reformer”

Yesterday, tragic news broke on Bashar Al Assad’s use of chemical weapons which may have killed hundreds, including women and children:

The U.N. Security Council is to hold an emergency session Wednesday over reports from Syria’s opposition that hundreds of civilians – including many women and children – have been killed in chemical weapons attacks.

Activists and rebel fighters accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces of firing chemical-tipped weapons into rebel-held areas near the capital, Damascus, in the early hours.

In a March 2011 interview on CBS’s Face The Nation, just days after Syrian troops had opened fire on peaceful protesters, Secretary Clinton defended Bashar Al Assad as a “different leader” from his autocratic father and called him a “reformer.” 

At the time, The Washington Post editorial board chided Clinton’s poor judgment, saying she was being fooled by “wishful thinking” that Assad, despite his brutality, sponsorship of terrorism and close alliance with Iran, can somehow be turned into a Western ally:

“‘Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.’ Thus did Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton respond to a question on Sunday about Bashar al-Assad, the latest Arab dictator to respond with fusillades to calls by his people for democratic change. At the time she spoke, more than 60 Syrians had already been massacred by Mr. Assad’s security forces; others have since fallen. Ms. Clinton was only reflecting a piece of wishful thinking to which the Obama administration and its congressional allies have tenaciously clung: that Mr. Assad, despite his brutality, sponsorship of terrorism and close alliance with Iran, can somehow be turned into a Western ally.”

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