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Hillary’s (Latest) Flip-Flop On Troops In Iraq

An excerpt from the ABC News transcript of the Democrat’s New Hampshire debate:

TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Democratic Debate

GIBSON: So, I want to ask all of you: Are any of you ready to say that the surge has worked?

And Senator Clinton, let me start with you, because when General Petraeus was in Washington in September, you said it would take a willful suspension of disbelief to think that the surge could do any good.

CLINTON: And that’s right. Because, remember, the purpose behind the surge was to create the space and time for political reconciliation, for the Iraqi government to do what only it can do and trying to deal with the myriad of unresolved problems that confront it.

And as your report said, you know, we have the greatest military in the world. We send in more of our troops, they will be able to dampen down the violence.

But there has not been a willingness on the part of the Iraqi government to do what the surge was intended to do, to push them to begin to make the tough decisions. And in the absence of that political action, 23 Americans dying in December is totally unacceptable.

You know, there is no more cause for us to be there if the Iraqis are just not going to do what they need to do to take care of their own country.

So it’s time to bring our troops home and to bring them home as quickly and responsibly as possible.

And unfortunately, I don’t see any reason why they should remain beyond, you know, today.

I think George Bush doesn’t intend to bring them home. But certainly I have said when I’m president I will. Within 60 days, I’ll start that withdrawal.

Of course Hillary was and still is laughably wrong about the “surge.” Similarly, none of the Democrat candidates could admit that they were all wrong about it and that it has indeed work.

But for Mrs. Clinton to say she can’t see “any reason” to leave any US troops in Iraq “beyond today” only proves that her positions are so unimportant to her that she can’t even be bothered to remember them.

For this is what was reported by the New York Times last March:

Clinton Sees Some Troops Staying in Iraq if She Is Elected

By MICHAEL R. GORDON and PATRICK HEALY

March 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 14 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a “remaining military as well as political mission” in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced but significant military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.

In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain in Iraq after taking office would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.

In outlining how she would handle Iraq as commander in chief, Mrs. Clinton articulated a more-nuanced position than the one she has provided at her campaign events, where she has backed the goal of “bringing the troops home.”

She said in the interview that there were “remaining vital national security interests in Iraq” that would require a continuing deployment of American troops.

The United States’ security would be undermined if parts of Iraq turned into a failed state “that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda,” she said. “It is right in the heart of the oil region. It is directly in opposition to our interests, to the interests of regimes, to Israel’s interests.”

So I think it will be up to me to try to figure out how to protect those national security interests and continue to take our troops out of this urban warfare, which I think is a loser,” Mrs. Clinton added. She declined to estimate the number of American troops she would keep in Iraq, saying she would draw on the advice of the military officers who would have to carry out the strategy…

And even more recently, from Hillary’s lengthy exegesis on her foreign policy in the November/December 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs we have:

Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007

As we redeploy our troops from Iraq, we must not let down our guard against terrorism. I will order specialized units to engage in targeted operations against al Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorist organizations in the region. These units will also provide security for U.S. troops and personnel in Iraq and train and equip Iraqi security services to keep order and promote stability in the country, but only to the extent that such training is actually working.

I will also consider leaving some forces in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq in order to protect the fragile but real democracy and relative peace and security that have developed there, but with the clear understanding that the terrorist organization the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) must be dealt with and the Turkish border must be respected…

It sounds like Hillary has lots of reasons we should keep troops in Iraq beyond today.

But that was way back in November, and this is now.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, January 7th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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