Clinton on the Surge

by: Matt Stoller

Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 12:34

( - promoted by Chris Bowers)

Since Drudge suggests that Clinton supports the surge (she does not), and Raw Story got a comment from the Clinton campaign, discussing Clinton's relationship to the surge makes some sense.

Hillary Clinton is upfront that she thinks Petraeus has made progress in Iraq with new military tactics, she's also upfront that she thinks that the surge can't work.  She also wants to leave troops in Iraq to continue the military progress Petraeus is making.  That's why I don't trust her on Iraq.  Here are some clipped comments from the AFL-CIO debate in which she nearly trips over herself discussing her withdrawal plan for Iraq, while offering a very confusing suggestion that we pursue Al Qaeda the way Petraeus is doing in Al Anbar province.

Matt Stoller :: Clinton on the Surge

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Heading Left James Boyce says (0.00 / 0)
"Simply put, every national poll and now every state poll favors her. There is no evidence to the contrary. She has a top notch campaign staff and while every candidate will stumble here and there, and she has had a couple of rough moments, I simply don't see her falling. "

"New war"? (0.00 / 0)
Clinton on the escalation on Monday: "We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar Province, it's working... We're just years too late changing our tactics. We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war; we have to be preparing to fight the new war."

I want to know what she means when she says we have to be prepared to fight "the new war." Especially coupling that with "the last war," it makes it sound like we're in an endless series of one war after another after another.

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The way I see it (0.00 / 0)
For some reason, I'm unable to get audio on this clip.  Still I have some thoughts on what Clinton said on Iraq in the debate and elsewhere on the Iraq War.

Hillary is telling us some hard truths about what it's going to take to get out of Iraq.  Powell said about Iraq, "If we break it, we buy it."  As much as I hate we're in this war, we've certainly broke Iraq and I believe we have a responsibility to at least keep some number of troops there to give our allies time to get out and we need to offer them asylum here or help them find a safe place for them and their families.  Such an operation will be near impossible and certainly can't happen in six months.  I hate that we're in Iraq, but I certainly don't want to see another scene like the choppers leaving the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975 with South Vietnamese hanging onto the skids.  We have to do better than we did back then.  Neither do I want this war to dribble around til we have 58,000 plus dead. 

We have to find some sort of middle ground.  I don't believe an immediate withdrawal is realistic.  It's so much easier to get in than to get out.  That's a reality.  At the same time, I think everyone knows we're not going to win, whatever winning means.  But we lefties want out and want out now but that's not going to happen no matter who we put in the White House.  I think we have to face this as an obvious truth and work from there to do the best we can by these people whose lives we have totally disrupted for the worse. 

Right now I'm very angry at the Iraq Parliament for going on vacation while American soldiers are dying for them.  They're not keeping up their end of the bargain and that pisses me off.  I wish George Bush would get as tough on them as he has been on our military. 

This is a complicated situation to say the least, but I don't see the reasoning in blaming Hillary.  She's willing to tell us something we don't want to hear.  Some candidates are willing to say nearly anything to endear themselves to the voters.  Hillary is telling the truth on how this war is playing out.  Her willingness to do so may cause her to lose the election, but the fact she's not making unrealistic promises makes me trust he more, not less.

I disagree with you (0.00 / 0)
What I am hearing is we will be in Iraq forever if you elect me as president.  I am sorry, but I think we need to get all our combat troops out ASAP.  If we start now it could be accomplished in a year.  John Edwards will only leave troops to guard the embassy.  He knows that keeping combat troops in Iraq is a losing proposition.  The Iraqis have to take the lead and postponing the inevitable will not change this.  The sooner the better.

[ Parent ]
Obama should talk more about this (0.00 / 0)
and less about who had the best judgment in October 2002. A lot of Iowans remember the political reality of that time, and a yes vote on the AUMF is not a deal-breaker for them.

Drawing more contrast between Hillary and other candidates on our Iraq policy going forward has the potential to erode her support, though.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Can you please clarify this statement: (0.00 / 0)
"Iowans remember the political reality of that time, and a yes vote on the AUMF is not a deal-breaker for them."

I, too, remember that period, but can find absolutely no reason why or how any reality at the time - political, or otherwise - can justify the US Congress shirking their constitutional duties by passing the "blank-check" that the AUMF so obviously was.

Precisely what "political reality" was existant in Iowa (  or any other state in the Union) that justifies voting for the AUMF without reading (or asking your staff to summarize) the pertinent NIE?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


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