When Madeleine Albright first arrived as the U.S. representative to the United Nations in 1993, she spent days, weeks, talking about Iraq.
The Gulf War had ended, and the U.N. was then charged with enforcing the myriad resolutions that came out of the conflict.
No more weapons of mass destruction. No more prisoners of war. No more torture.
"We talked about Iraq all the time," the former Secretary of State told a packed house at the Lied Center Wednesday. "So I have to say I understood the why of the war."
But even if Iraq did still have weapons of mass destruction in 2003 - none have been found - she still didn't see the threat Iraq posed to the U.S., Albright said.
"I understood the why, but not the why now. And I didn't understand the what next," she said.
"I think the war has been terribly mishandled," she said.
Or as she said in her new book, "The Mighty and Almighty": "I'm afraid Iraq is going to go down as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy."
Wednesday, Albright spent an evening speaking to Steven Jacques, the Dole Institute's first Democratic Senior Fellow, and a Lied Center crowd about dozens of topics, from Iraq and how the Clinton Administration responded to terrorism, to the high heels that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il wore during their meetings.
Albright was President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State - the first woman to hold the office - from 1997 until 2001.
During her talk about the Iraq war and U.S. foreign policy, Albright specifically referenced a leaked Iraq intelligence report that, in places, suggests the war there is strengthening terrorism.
"It's making things worse," she said of the Iraq war's influence on terrorism. "There are more and more terrorists."
Across town, Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a crowd that the leaked portions of the report shouldn't be taken out of context.
Myers said he had not read the report.
"It shouldn't be surprising that violent extremists, al-Qaida in this case, would rally to the sound of the cannon. They'll do that," he said.
"It doesn't mean that if we quit the sound of the cannon, there wouldn't be people rallying to the cause, nor would we be any safer."
Albright did say that she thought the Clinton administration did everything it could to battle and prepare for the threat of terrorism during its eight years in office.
"I personally feel we did everything we could," she said.
Former Clinton Administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's full conversation at the Lied Center Wednesday night. This includes questions from several audience members and an introduction from Dole Institute of Politics Director Bill Lacy.
She said that the administration never had "actionable intelligence" to strike at Osama bin Laden, and carpet bombing an entire area wasn't an option at the time.
And Albright insisted that Clinton administration officials, including herself, briefed the incoming Bush administration extensively on terrorism threats.
She then read a portion of the 9-11 Commission findings that detailed the terrorism strategy that the Clinton administration left for the Bush administration.
"They both were very surprised," Albright said of the terrorism threat in the world. "I don't think they saw it as that big a thing."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had previously challenged the Clinton administration on its terrorism record after Clinton defended his handling of the threat during a Fox News interview.
Rice said that the Bush administration fought terrorism in its first eight months at least as much as the Clinton administration.
"The record shows they actually didn't do a lot," she said.
But the bottom line, Albright said, was that the Iraq war hurt the U.S.'s standing in the world.
It hurt our moral authority and our tactical authority, she said, and bred terrorism where it didn't exist before.
"That's the story," she said. "That's what the problem is. The war in Iraq is making America less safe, not more safe."