Hillary’s Hawkishness an Endorsement of the Surge?

The Drudge Report is currently leading with a headline entitled: Hillary on Surge? ‘It’s working’ . . . While Mrs. Clinton is certainly one of the more hawkish Democratic candidates I was surprised that she had come out in support of the surge when any reports of its success are dubious. Obviously, should one of the Democratic candidates endorse the surge, it would be easier to put forth an uncritical appraisal of General Patraeus’ coming report.

In context, Mrs. Clinton said: “It’s working. We’re just years too late in changing our tactics,” she said. “We can’t ever let that happen again. We can’t be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war.” While Mrs. Clinton’s words are certainly hawkish, with talk of “the new war,” they are not an endorsement of the current strategy. Instead, while she admits some tactics are having success, especially outside of Baghdad, she also condemns our current strategy, and she talked of bringing troops home in other portions of her speech.

The situation in Iraq is a disaster and there are no easy solutions. As violence drops in some provinces it rises in others; attacks are still deadly and increasingly sophisticated, as evidenced by the recent coordinated car bombings. And our debate has already been over simplified by vilification and distortion, as well as attempts to capture complex policy decisions with simple slogans. Mrs. Clinton’s remarks should lead to more questions about what she truly meant; the debate is not served by mis-characterizing her position.

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