Not that I can say that I blame her for her comments and for coming around, but it looks like we are hearing a new tone from now-official Democratic Presidential candidate and current Senator Hillary Clinton with respect to Iraq. Campaigning in Iowa over the weekend (and as reported in many news outlets), Senator Clinton had the following comments regarding Bush, the troops and an exit strategy:
It would be ”the height of irresponsibility” to pass the war along to the next commander in chief, she said.
This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy,” the Democratic senator from New York said her in initial presidential campaign swing through Iowa.
We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office” in January 2009, the former first lady said.
Well, yeah – if you don’t want to possibly have your Presidency bogged down with and tied up by an occupation that the American public and many of our troops soured on long ago.
Granted, out of the nine Democrats who have either officially or unofficially announced their intent to seek the 2008 nomination (Clark and Gore not included in this total), some of them can’t do more than continue to speak out against this occupation, and in favor of an exit strategy. Of course, they can develop a potential exit strategy or work with those who can help move the debate from an “if” to a “how soon” when it comes to bringing our troops home.
But for others, like Senators Dodd, Biden, Clinton, Obama as well as Representative Kucinich, there is more that can be done in order to bring this disaster to a conclusion. Not only will the campaigns and candidacies be judged by what actions were taken to not only avoid a continued escalation in Iraq, but also by what was done to prevent any military confrontation with Iran or Syria.
Additionally, it is pretty likely that the candidate who has actually taken bold action and demonstrated leadership will be the one who has a significant advantage come primary time.
So, call this the pre-campaign; a time where actions will not only dictate the success of presidential aspirations but also to show the country (and Democratic party) what you are really all about. We love to hear the tough words. We love to see the respective House and Senate committees meet and call administration officials such as Rice or Gonzalez on their lies and ill intent.
But make no mistake, and it couldn’t be any clearer: The public wants out of Iraq. And out well before it would impact the next President. The public doesn’t want to see troops dying for another two years. They are sick of this continued lack of direction and leadership. They are sick of the lies. They are sick of the continued wasting of hundreds of billions of dollars. They are sick of it all.
We already know that Bush doesn’t care what Congress has to say:
Speaking in a television interview last [week] on CBS's 60 Minutes, Mr Bush struck a defiant note: "They [Congress] could try to stop me from doing it. But – I made my decision, and we're going forward," he said, dismissing growing congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.
We also know the contempt that Cheney continues to show for Congress and the American people, as well as his intentions for Iraq:
"And Congress obviously has to support the effort through the power of the purse. So they've got a role to play, and we certainly recognize that. But you also cannot run a war by committee."
"This is an existential conflict," Cheney said. "It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term."
I’ll put it much simpler. They. don’t. give. a. rat’s. ass. what. anyone. else. wants.
There is not one but two proposals in Congress that deal specifically with an exit strategy. There will likely be another proposal in the Senate that will deal specifically with the continued funding of this occupation.
Nonbinding resolutions are nice. A censure resolution would be better.
But the administration has basically dared Congress to try and stop them from taking a disastrous plan and moving it forward at warp speed. The American public wants action. The administration is not going to stop unless they are stopped. It is your job to stop them.
If you don’t stop them now, one of you will have your presidency overrun with figuring out an exit strategy – only then the situation will be much bloodier and much more difficult to extract our troops from.
That is, if the American people would even want to elect a Democratic president who didn’t take enough action to stop this disaster of an occupation when they could have.