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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Hillary Insists War Vote Was Not a Mistake, But We Must Begin Leaving in 90 Days



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Hillary shared her thoughts on Iraq with me… and thousands of other folks on her e-mail list. 

Right now, there isn’t one of us who isn’t thinking about Iraq. That’s why I went there recently: to meet with the commanders on the ground, to talk with Iraqi leaders, and to speak to the men and women who are fighting this war so heroically.

They’re fighting this war heroically… which is why we must stop.

When she spoke to the Iraqi leaders, did she happen to mention, “And hey, don’t get too comfortable with those bodyguards, Nouri”?

I came back even more determined to stop the president’s escalation of troops into Iraq and to start the redeployment of troops out of Iraq. So I outlined a plan, and on Friday, I introduced it to Congress as the Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act.

My plan accomplishes a number of goals. It stops the president’s escalation.

“In related news, General David H. Petraeus, who I voted to confirm, does not exist.”

It protects our troops by making sure they aren’t sent to Iraq without all of the equipment and training they need. It puts an end to the blank check for the Iraqi government.

I find myself in the odd position of approvingly quoting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman: “From the part of Hillary’s proposal, the part that really baffles me is, ‘We’re going to teach the Iraqis a lesson.’ We’re not going to equip them? O.K. Cap our troops and withdraw support from the Iraqis? That’s a real good idea.”

It calls for an international conference to bring other countries together to help forge a stable future for Iraq.

Good news, Senator. The Saudis are talking about supporting the Sunnis, the Turks still periodically talk about invading the Kurdish region, and I’m sure you’ve heard about the help and equipment that the Iranians are sending across the border. The whole region is on board!

(Jim’s really cynical observation: Oh, sure, now everybody in the region wants to send funding, troops and military equipment to Iraq. Where was this attitude back in 2003?)

Finally, my plan would begin a phased redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. I’ve been pushing for this for almost two years.

Coindidentally, this is exactly when a majority of public opinion started shifting against the war.

For more details about my plan, please watch Friday’s HillCast, the first of what I hope will be a regular series of web broadcasts.

On ordinary campaigns, this is called a webcast, but hers is special.

The Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act is a roadmap out of Iraq. I hope the president takes this road. If he does, he should be able to end the war before he leaves office. But let’s not kid ourselves. From everything we’ve seen, this president is going down a very different path. He’s fighting to escalate the war, not to end it.

Why does Hillary speak as if the Commander-in-Chief can unilaterally end a war? (I suppose you can, it’s called “surrendering.”) A war ends when one or both sides give up. And the escalation is a two-way street. If the insurgents would put away the bombs and get real jobs, then the killing in Iraq would be over real fast.

I know we’re at the start of a presidential campaign, but I think all Democrats should be focused on working together to push the president to change course. We have to end this war in a smart way, not a Republican or a Democratic way, but a way that makes us safer and gets our troops home as soon as possible. That’s what I’ll be fighting for.

What about the Iraqis? To hell with ‘em? 

But let me be clear, if George Bush doesn’t end this war before he leaves office, when I’m president, I will.

Because, as she said earlier, she resents that she might assume the presidency of a country at war. It’s very inconvenient, and bothersome.


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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