Our local public radio station was replaying the most recent Hillbama debate, and so I listened to a piece of it that had slipped under my radar the first time. It’s actually quite funny, despite the scary implications of what Hillary is saying she’ll do regarding Iraq if she’s elected President. Here’s what she said, with my little interlineations:
MR. GIBSON: Let me just add a little bit to that question, because your communications director in your campaign, Howard Wolfson on a conference call recently was asked, “Is Senator Clinton going to stick to her announced plan of bringing one or two brigades out of Iraq every month whatever the realities on the ground?” And Wolfson said, “I’m giving you a one-word answer so we can be clear about it, the answer is yes.”
So if the military commanders in Iraq came to you on day one and said this kind of withdrawal would destabilize Iraq, it would set back all of the gains that we have made, no matter what, you’re going to order those troops to come home?
SENATOR CLINTON: Yes, I am, Charlie. And here’s why: You know, thankfully we have a system in our country of civilian control of the military. And our professional military are the best in the world. They give their best advice and then they execute the policies of the president. I have watched this president as he has continued to change the rationale and move the goalposts when it comes to Iraq. [Garbled, but she seems to be saying that Bush has been receiving the best military advice available, and he's been ignoring it so that he can continue to stay in Iraq.]
And I am convinced that it is in America’s best interest, it is in the best interest of our military, and I even believe it is in the best interest of Iraq, that upon taking office, I will ask the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and my security advisers to immediately put together for me a plan so that I can begin to withdraw within 60 days. I will make it very clear that we will do so in a responsible and careful manner, because obviously, withdrawing troops and equipment is dangerous. [However, when I, Hillary, am President, I won't bother to listen to any advice at all, and then ignore it. Instead, without going through boring channels, based upon my civilian understanding of events in iraq, I'll simply demand that we start withdrawing troops. Hah!]
I will also make it clear to the Iraqis that they no longer have a blank check from the president of the United States, because I believe that it will be only through our commitment to withdraw that the Iraqis will begin to do what they have failed to do for all of these years.
I will also begin an intensive diplomatic effort, both within the region and internationally, to begin to try to get other countries to understand the stakes that we all face when it comes to the future of Iraq. [Because really, those idiot leaders currently have no idea how dangerous it is to have Iran building itself up.]
But I have been convinced and very clear that I will begin to withdraw troops within 60 days. And we’ve had other instances in our history where some military commanders have been very publicly opposed to what a president was proposing to do. [Note how she doesn't say the numbers she'll withdraw. If she removes 10 people, she's kept her promise.]
But I think it’s important that this decision be made, and I intend to make it.
MR. GIBSON: But Senator Clinton, aren’t you saying — I mean, General Petraeus was in Washington. You both were there when he testified, saying that the gains in Iraq are fragile and are reversible. Are you essentially saying, “I know better than the military commanders here”? [He's absolutely right. That is what she said in the first paragraph above.]
SENATOR CLINTON: No, what I’m saying, Charlie, is that no one can predict what will happen. [True, but our military commanders, armed with massive amounts of facts and experience, are presumably in the best position to make some predictions.] There are many different scenarios. But one thing I am sure of is that our staying in Iraq, our continuing to lose our men and women in uniform, having many injured, the Iraqi casualties that we are seeing as well, is — is no way for us to maintain a strong position in the world. [So, again, she's saying precisely what she said before: I'm not only going to ignore the military commanders, I'm not even going to bother asking for their advice because, in an unpredictable situation, I clearly know better than anyone else what's going on and what to do.]
It’s not only about Iraq. It is about ending the war in Iraq, so that we can begin paying attention to all of the other problems we have. There isn’t any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected. It has not gotten the resources that it needs. We hear that from our military commanders responsible for that region of the world. And there are other problems that we have failed to address.
So the bottom line for me is, we don’t know what will happen as we withdraw. We do know what will happen if we stay mired in Iraq. The Iraqi government will not accept responsibility for its own future. [Bottom line: I have no idea what's going to happen; I'm going to ignore the commanders who warn of a blood bath, and I'm going to withdraw. So there!]
Our military will continue to be stretched thin, and our soldiers will be on their second, third, even their fourth deployment. And we will not be able to reassert our leadership and our moral authority in the world.
And I think those are the kind of broad issues that a president has to take into account.
What’s really scary is that Hillary is less wacko on this subject than Obama.
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