And please - don’t get the idea that I prefer Hillary or agree with her hawkishness. I don’t. But I want to make just this small point that Hillary is not responsible for the cluster fuck that Iraq became.
But here is what Hillary should say, “ Yes, I voted to allow the president to go to war. I didn’t tell him to fuck it up.”
That’s right. Republican operatives are now trying to put the entire blame for the Iraq debacle on Hillary Clinton. It might work because the people (voters) are lazy and stupid. That is, too lazy to do the research needed to find out the truth, and too stupid to draw the proper distinctions.
Let’s go back before the war started. I hope someone remembers when General Shinseki testified before Congress that we needed for more soldiers than Rumsfeld proposed to do the job properly. If you don’t remember, you should look it up. The General was belittled and marginalized and so we sent in an expeditionary force that was really a joke. (The disorder that broke out soon after conquest was partly the consequence of having too few soldiers to maintain order.)
Then we had the last few weeks before war, when the US decided not to allow Hans Blix and his team to continue to look for weapons. The US chose to claim that diplomatic means had failed. Had we given them a few more months, it is possible that the rationale for war would have evaporated. It is even possible that when the Iraqi people found out that Saddam Hussein did not have WMD, that they would have started their own rebellion. The start of the shooting war ended that chance.
Again - Hillary’s vote did not include a command to the president to use a too small force for the job, nor did it obligate the president to start the war too soon.
And then there is the war itself. A quick and seemingly easy victory was at hand when news reports circulated that key Iraqi generals were ready to surrender. The assumption by reporters who had done reporting in the region was that the US would find a willing military partner and so simply end the fighting and turn Iraq over to a new military dictator. It was never spelled out, but that is the way to do what we were doing - depositing a monster and hoping for a better future.
Instead, the president disbanded the Iraqi army - thus leaving thousands of armed men out of work and now angry. (Again, not Hillary’s idea.) Then there was the purging of Ba’ath party members.
At that point, the US had completely disassembled the structures that made Iraq an orderly society.
None of this was Hillary’s idea.
Yes Hillary is a hawk, and so anyone who votes for her should remember that when they vote. She is a corporatist too.
But she did not lead the charge to war.