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Hillary Clinton Attacks Foreign Policy She Helped Create And Implement

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton listens to U.S. President Obama speak during a meeting with members of his cabinet in Washington

In a new interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg,  former Secretary of State, and probable candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Hillary Clinton went further than she has to date in openly criticizing the foreign policy of the President that she served under from 2009 to 2013. Specifically, Clinton draws a direct line from the President’s failure to act in Syria to the rise of ISIS/the Islamic State and the problems it now poses for Iraq and the rest of the region and generally criticized the President for a having a foreign policy that had no clear sense of purpose:

President Obama has long ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army … fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the “failure” that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.

As she writes in her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, she was an inside-the-administration advocate of doing more to help the Syrian rebellion. Now, her supporters argue, her position has been vindicated by recent events.

Professional Clinton-watchers (and there are battalions of them) have told me that it is only a matter of time before she makes a more forceful attempt to highlight her differences with the (unpopular) president she ran against, and then went on to serve. On a number of occasions during my interview with her, I got the sense that this effort is already underway. (And for what it’s worth, I also think she may have told me that she’s running for president—see below for her not-entirely-ambiguous nod in that direction.)

Of course, Clinton had many kind words for the “incredibly intelligent” and “thoughtful” Obama, and she expressed sympathy and understanding for the devilishly complicated challenges he faces. But she also suggested that she finds his approach to foreign policy overly cautious, and she made the case that America needs a leader who believes that the country, despite its various missteps, is an indispensable force for good. At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters).

This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

She softened the blow by noting that Obama was “trying to communicate to the American people that he’s not going to do something crazy,” but she repeatedly suggested that the U.S. sometimes appears to be withdrawing from the world stage.

During a discussion about the dangers of jihadism (a topic that has her “hepped-up,” she told me moments after she greeted me at her office in New York) and of the sort of resurgent nationalism seen in Russia today, I noted that Americans are quite wary right now of international commitment-making. She responded by arguing that there is a happy medium between bellicose posturing (of the sort she associated with the George W. Bush administration) and its opposite, a focus on withdrawal.

“You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward,” she said. “One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.”

I responded by saying that I thought that “defeating fascism and communism is a pretty big deal.” In other words, that the U.S., on balance, has done a good job of advancing the cause of freedom.

Clinton responded to this idea with great enthusiasm: “That’s how I feel! Maybe this is old-fashioned.” And then she seemed to signal that, yes, indeed, she’s planning to run for president. “Okay, I feel that this might be an old-fashioned idea, but I’m about to find out, in more ways than one.”

Goldberg’s article is with reading, but it is long and defies excerpting. The quoted portion above, though, gives you a fairly good idea of the message that Clinton seems to be quite obviously be wanting to convey here, especially in the light of the events in Iraq over the past weeks and President Obama’s decision to join each of his three predecessors in engaging in military action in Iraq. In some sense, what she is saying here isn’t all that different from what she apparently says in her new book, and what she has said during her book tour this summer. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour to promote the book on CNN in June, for example, Clinton made several efforts to make clear that she and the President had disagreed about the proposals that had been floated in the Administration to arm the Syrian rebels when the civil war began in that country in 2011. In that interview and elsewhere, Clinton has made sure to emphasize that she favored the idea but that the President ultimately decided against it.

It’s hard to understate the significance of Clinton’s comments in this interview. She has gone further than ever before in distancing herself from an increasingly unpopular President on an issue where his public support continues to plummet, foreign policy. Granted, as Maggie Haberman notes in PoliticoClinton has always been more of a hawk and more of an advocate of a forceful foreign policy than President Obama. However, she does more than just point out policy disagreements here. In this interview, Clinton is not just pointing out the fact that there had been a policy difference between her and the President regarding arming the Syrian rebels, she really seems to be attacking the entire manner in which the President had conducted his foreign policy, both now and during the time that she was Secretary of State. In some ways, it is reminiscient of the attacks that her campaign launched against then Senator Obama during the 2008 campaign that culminated in the famous “3 a.m. phone call” ad, which was essentially intended to make the case that, unlike Clinton, Obama was not ready to make the decisions that a President would need to make in a dangerous world. It’s almost as if she intends to build her likely 2016 campaign around the idea that she can provide the leadership that America needs in a dangerous world, leadership that has been lacking for quite a long time. Frida Ghitis makes this point in an opinion piece at CNN, and also suggests that this interview is the clearest sign yet that Clinton is running for President. It’s hard to disagree with that.

On some level, of course, there’s a certain amount of absurdity in Clinton criticizing the foreign policy of an Administration that she was not only a part of, but in which she played a key role in shaping that very foreign policy. No doubt, when she runs for office she will be relying heavily on her experience at Foggy Bottom to make the argument that she is ready to be President, indeed it would be extraordinary if she didn’t. If she’s going to claim her time as Secretary of State as an argument in her favor, though, then it seems to me as though she is going to have a hard time criticizing the Administration for policies that she played a role in developing. Even accepting the argument that she makes regarding the connections between the Obama Administration’s decision to not intervene directly in the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS/the Islamic State, the idea that it was merely the one thing she disagreed with the President about that led to the events we see unfolding today is simply absurd. There were a number of events that contributed to today’s state of affairs, many of which involve policies that Clinton favored, and if you’re going to make the argument that one failure by this Administration is responsible then you have to look at all of them, including the ones that Mrs. Clinton played a role in. You can’t claim the credit without accepting at least some of the blame, but that seems to be exactly what Hillary Clinton wants to do when it comes to the foreign policy of the Obama Administration.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Probably the strongest evidence to date that she’s running for the presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  2. President Camacho says:

    Whichever way the wind blows, she is for it.

    I really want world peace and for bad people to stop doing bad things. And hungry people should be given food. And mean people shouldn’t be mean.

    I guess when we keep putting the same people in important positions we keep getting the same results. I think I will go back to hitting myself in the head with this hammer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  3. Moosebreath says:

    I tend to agree with Kevin Drum’s take on this:

    “It so happens that I think “don’t do stupid stuff” is a pretty good approach to foreign policy at the moment. It’s underrated in most of life, in fact, while “doctrines” are mostly straitjackets that force you to fight the last war over and over and over. The fact that Hillary Clinton (a) brushes this off and (b) declines to say what her foreign policy would be based on—well, it frankly scares me. My read of all this is that Hillary is itching to outline a much more aggressive foreign policy but doesn’t think she can quite get away with it yet. She figures she needs to distance herself from Obama slowly, and she needs to wait for the American public to give her an opportunity. My guess is that any crisis will do that happens to pop up in 2015.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  4. stonetools says:

    On some level, of course, there’s a certain amount of absurdity in Clinton criticizing the foreign policy of an Administration that she was not only a part of, but in which she played a key role in shaping that very foreign policy.

    It’s not absurd at all. HRC is a different person from Barack Obama, and differed with him on how to approach the Syrian civil war. She advocated for her position, but Obama decided against it. I’m betting she wasn’t the only one who advocated that position.
    FWIW, I myself advocated the same strategy here. (All the liberals disagreed with me).

    If she’s going to claim her time as Secretary of State as an argument in her favor, though, then it seems to me as though she is going to have a hard time criticizing the Administration for policies that she played a role in developing.

    Why, if she advocated for a different strategy and the President decided against it?

    the idea that it was merely the one thing she disagreed with the President about that led to the events we see unfolding today is simply absurd.

    If the Administration had been able to foster a credible moderate opposition to Assad, it could have been a check to the rise of ISIS. That’s a big if, though. Obama didn’t think it was possible to foster such an opposition, and lots of people agreed with him.( Other people agreed with Clinton) Now, we’ll never know.

    The point is that this was an issue on which reasonable people could differ, and Hillary doesn’t lose anything by airing the disagreement. Liberals and non-interventionists will attack her for it, but people would like a more muscular foreign policy will be reassured. On the whole, it will be a wash.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  5. Rob in CT says:

    It’s not exactly a huge attack. She’s staking out different (and for her, well-worn) ground. She was and is more interventionist than Obama. It’s one of the things I dislike most about her, and the chief reason I voted for Obama over her in the primary in ’08.

    My point is that this isn’t new or shocking. Clinton is a liberal hawk.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  6. Jim R says:

    @Rob in CT:

    It’s not exactly a huge attack. She’s staking out different (and for her, well-worn) ground. She was and is more interventionist than Obama. It’s one of the things I dislike most about her, and the chief reason I voted for Obama over her in the primary in ’08.

    My point is that this isn’t new or shocking. Clinton is a liberal hawk.

    Exactly. Which is why, if anything remains of the anti-war left, HRC should not be treated as anything close to inevitable in 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. socraticsilence says:

    She’s just underlying the obvious: That for progressives and really for most Democrats and moderates- she’s worse on the things Obama has been disappointing on– more corporate, more hawkish/interventionist but that she lacks nearly all of his strengths from charisma and strategy (getting your opponents to always appear to be irrational isn’t a coincidence) to perseverance (she would have rolled in a heartbeat on healthcare reform), if she wins in 2016, its hard to imagine it being anything better than the first Clinton Adminstration- nice, but without any real lasting positive achievements (you could argue that much of Obama’s job has been undoing various Clinton/Bush missteps from the deregulation of Wall Street, to DADT, to Iraq).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  8. Tyrell says:

    The missteps, mistakes, unclear, unfocused and detached “policies” of President Obama and Sec. Kerry are really making Hillary look very good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  9. Tillman says:

    This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

    Bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  10. stonetools says:

    @socraticsilence:

    Hey, she’ll be appointing more liberal judges (especially Supreme Court ones) and she’ll be fully implementing the ACA. If she does those, I’m good. I’ve gotten to the stage where I expect a low bar for my Democratic Presidents. I also expect her to be very good on women annd children’s issues.
    As for FP, she ain’t running against pacifists. She’ll be running against this jackalope from Texas firing his gun in the air, or Ted Cruz, or some other warhawk Republican. She’ll look quite reasonable compared to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  11. Tyrell says:

    What we have seen in the last several months has been the worst bungling and job performance by a US secretary of state in modern times. I had high hopes that Kerry could accomplish something. Now we are in a terrible situation with this ISIS group, all the while Putin continues to romp free .
    Read “Clueless in Gaza”, a thoughtful, timely article by Charles Krauthammer.
    “Stopping the ISIS carnage” CNN Some of the photos and videos are enough to stand your hair on end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  12. edmondo says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Probably the strongest evidence to date that she’s running for the presidency.

    Was there really ever a doubt? The Clintons are drawn to power the way a whore goes after money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  13. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @Tyrell:

    Read “Clueless in Gaza”, a thoughtful, timely article by Charles Krauthammer.

    Intriguing.That would be a first.

    Kerry seems not to understand that the Arab League backed the Egyptian cease-fire-in-place, which would have left Hamas weak and isolated, to ensure that Hamas didn’t emerge from this war strengthened and enhanced.

    Yeah. A brilliant plan on par with the Versailles treaties. Because we all know if there are two parties shooting at each other, a plan proposing to “weaken and isolate” one of them, backed by all its domestic enemies is very likely to be accepted and to result in a stop to the killing.

    I mean come on. You never tried “You know what? I’ll kick you in the nuts for free.” as a bargaining ploy at the flea market? Works e.v.e.r.y. time. People just love it when you try to give them nothing for their concessions.

    Moreover, the fire from which Hamas will not cease consists of deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli cities — by definition, a war crime.

    Really? Attacking civilians is a war crime? I must have missed those trials for Arthur Harris and Paul Tibbets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Guarneri says:

    A difference of opinion? no way. She’s obviously a racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  15. Lounsbury says:

    Madame Clinton, the Al Gore for the new Century?

    Else, yes, anything Krauthammer writes on MENA must immediately be dismissed. His speciality is wrongness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. michael reynolds says:

    My spidey sense says this will prove to be a dumb move by Hillary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  17. Jeremy R says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/08/11/would-arming-syrias-rebels-have-stopped-the-islamic-state/

    Would arming Syria’s rebels have stopped the Islamic State?

    The academic literature is not encouraging. In general, external support for rebels almost always make wars longer, bloodier and harder to resolve (for more on this, see the proceedings of this Project on Middle East Political Science symposium in the free PDF download). Worse, as the University of Maryland’s David Cunningham has shown, Syria had most of the characteristics of the type of civil war in which external support for rebels is least effective. The University of Colorado’s Aysegul Aydin and Binghamton University’s Patrick Regan have suggested that external support for a rebel group could help when all the external powers backing a rebel group are on the same page and effectively cooperate in directing resources to a common end. Unfortunately, Syria was never that type of civil war.

    Syria’s combination of a weak, fragmented collage of rebel organizations with a divided, competitive array of external sponsors was therefore the worst profile possible for effective external support.

    Had the plan to arm Syria’s rebels been adopted back in 2012, the most likely scenario is that the war would still be raging and look much as it does today, except that the United States would be far more intimately and deeply involved. That’s a prospect that Clinton frankly acknowledged during her interview, but that somehow didn’t make it into the headline. As catastrophic as Syria’s war has been, and as alarming as the Islamic State has become, there has never been a plausible case to be made that more U.S. arms for Syrian rebels would have meaningfully altered their path.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Jeremy R says:

    @stonetools:

    The point is that this was an issue on which reasonable people could differ, and Hillary doesn’t lose anything by airing the disagreement.

    While that is likely true, others do lose something. She’s doing it at the expense of her party and President, while they’re in the midst of tackling ongoing foreign policy crises. She deliberately reinforced a Republican (and beltway) critique of the President’s Syria policy in such a way that it would dominate the DC news cycle. Unsurprisingly, today she’s being cited by the GOP and media alike, as the Dem administration insider who’s telling it like it is when it comes to Obama’s Syria “failures”. She also has made Democratic politician’s lives harder, as every time they’re commenting on current ME events they’ll now be asked if they agree with Hillary’s critique (so do they join in undermining their current leader, support their potential future leader or are forced to equivocate and look indecisive).

    The right answer to a number of these questions should have been, as a former SoS of the current Administration, “I must respectfully decline from inserting myself into unfolding foreign policy crises or prejudicing ongoing negotiations with my personal opinions.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    My spidey sense says this will prove to be a dumb move by Hillary.

    Mine says it will hardly be her last.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. Ben says:

    Great, so our choice for president in 2016 will be between a neocon and a crazier neocon? Fabulous. That sure makes me feel empowered to have my voice heard on the direction of our nation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  21. Blue Galangal says:

    @stonetools: And she’ll probably veto any “personhood” bills that get past the Senate & House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. stonetools says:

    @Ben:

    Well, if you think FP is the ONLY reason to vote for a presidential candidate…
    Note that we liberals mock right wingers all the time for single issue voting. It’s a dumb way to vote in either direction.
    Basically, Hillary is SLIGHTLY more hawkish than Obama . The problem here is that liberals are contrasting Hillary with fantasy pacifist Obama, not the Obama that presided over the Afghan surge, greenlighted the Bin Laden kill, helped topple Gadafi, and continued and expanded the drone campaign.
    If you think of HRC as slightly more hawkish Obama, then you can be calmer about supporting her against someone like Rick Perry or Ted Cruz- folks who would truly be a menace in the Presidential chair.Once again, the two parties are NOT the same here.Let’s not rerun 2000 again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  23. Tillman says:

    @stonetools: The reason people favored Obama over her in the ’08 primaries was precisely because she was more hawkish. Her vote for the Iraq war and ensuing equivocation/defense of it was one of the biggest contrasts between the two. And calling her more hawkish while noting the slightly more dovish president we got expanded the drone wars doesn’t cast her in a flattering light.

    What kept her from using the formulation Jeremy R penned?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Ben says:

    @stonetools:

    I didn’t say that FP is the only issue I’ll be voting on. I’m saying that on that issue, people who don’t like neocon foreign policy are screwed.

    Telling me she’s only slightly more hawkish than Obama doesn’t help either. Obama has done so many things that he was directly against in the 2008 campaign that it’d take a while to list them all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Kylopod says:

    @Tillman: People favored him because she chose a more hawkish route at a particular moment in what became one of the most disastrous wars America has ever fought.

    The basic problem with dividing everyone into hawks and doves is that it reduces all foreign policy conflicts, not all of which merit the same response, to a matter of contrasting temperaments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Joan Walsh on this:

    Clinton also can’t be blamed for the timing of its publication – the weekend Obama ordered U.S. airstrikes in Iraq to set back ISIS, which enraged the right and the left for different reasons and satisfied practically no one. President John McCain, making a rare appearance on the Sunday shows, was certainly not impressed. But Clinton gave the interview before the crisis escalated.

    I agree BTW, that for the good of the party, it might have been better for Clinton not to air the disagreement. But there really isn’t anything new here and various critics are vastly exaggerating the differences between Obama and Clinton.

    Walsh again:

    As someone who supported Clinton in 2008 and who anticipates supporting her again in 2016, assuming she runs, I found the interview sobering. So far, my approach to 2016 is to say that Clinton may not be perfect, but she’s the not-perfect candidate we know, very well. I would rather not see progressives set up someone who seems perfect (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, perhaps?) who will turn out to be not perfect — whether on Israel, Iraq or some crisis that hasn’t emerged yet — as Sen. Obama did. Especially since I don’t see anyone on the horizon with Obama’s politics, charisma or capacity to unite the party.

    I’d rather progressives start out realistic, elect Clinton, let her appoint two Supreme Court justices, do some good things on economic policy, and continue with at least 98 percent of Obama’s foreign policy — while progressives work to change the House and Senate.

    I still think that’s the most realistic approach. Liberals, however, tend to love choosing the perfect liberal candidate which the rest of country will just love , once they get to know him. McGovern ’72, Mondale ’84, Dukakis ’88, Nader 2000…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Tillman says:

    @stonetools: Honestly, she’s getting the backlash (if there’s any beyond this humble commentariat) because she’s presumed inevitable, and because every other possible candidate is waiting on some formal declaration from her.

    @Kylopod: I suppose, but I imagine there’s a good chunk of voters who decide their vote based on temperament. It’s not exactly cut-and-dried.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. bandit says:

    @Tillman: The reason people favored Obama over her was because he was a blank slate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  29. Tyrell says:

    Hillary is looking kind of old. Old and and tired.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  30. MR X says:

    i like it. She must be right if Obama and Axelrod are so pissed off. I think im going to vote for her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  31. rudderpedals says:

    This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

    Don’t do stupid shit is a continuously applied filter, not a principle of organization. Hilary missed the point :( The interviewer wasn’t bound and gagged and should have followed up on this point and the implication that Clinton trusts in forcing everything through prepackaged off the shelf one size fits all schemes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. Katharsis says:

    @Tyrell: Kind of like your line of criticism!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  33. Katharsis says:

    Forgive me if this sounds chauvinistic, but this sounds like the years of being a strong and capable woman in a man’s world, who was (and is) constantly hounded to show that she ‘can do everything a man can do’ has given her a forced bravado reflex. Sometimes when you’re forced to conduct your daily life among the asinine and obtuse, you pick up a little crazy along the way. Unfortunately, proving that you ‘can do what a man can do’ sometimes becomes acting just as stupid and half-cocked. (I will probably still be voting for her either way).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Eric Florack says:

    Most Democrat policy is designed to minimize consequences for favored individuals or groups… usually shielding them from their own poor choices.

    This is simply more of the same. She was in this policy swamp up to her neck when it served her purposes. How typical that she reacts this way now that the gators have shown up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Your capacity for projection is astounding. How do you do it so consistently?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  36. Eric Florack says:

    @Grewgills: whereas your own capacity for defense of the indefensable is nothing short of astounding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    What exactly am I defending and how is it indefensible?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  38. Eric Florack says:

    @Grewgills: Hillary Clinton, in this context

    Oh, BTW, gang, I note Obama trying to lie his way out of the braodside Clinton issued….

    http://conservativetribune.com/obama-lies-leaving-iraq/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    I haven’t taken a position on Hillary in this context, just on your ridiculous assertions.
    She probably did argue for a more forceful foreign policy behind closed doors and implemented the decided policy in public. I think we’d have been worse off if she’d gotten her way, which btw is much closer to yours than Obamas. Your reflexive dislike of anything that comes out of a Democrats mouth has you backed into corners when Democrats fundamentally disagree with each other on policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. Jeremy R says:

    @Eric Florack:

    We’re back to parsing politicians’ upbeat, congratulatory Iraq withdrawal statements? This one always takes the cake for me:

    https://twitter.com/SenJohnMcCain/status/21547931717

    Sen. John McCain: “Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. Eric Florack says:

    Yikes…

    @Jeremy R: Clearly, youve not noticed my comments on McCain, here.

    @Grewgills: It interests me watching the usual suspects trying to walk a tightrope between Obama and Clinton. I wont say it would have been worse had she gotten her way, if for no other reason that one should never challange worse.

    But either way that falls out, she was Sec State when these policies she now descries were enacted… which makes her attempts to seperate herself from the consequences of those policies laughable, were they not so tragic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Tyrell says:

    Maybe the president needs to listen to her advice on foreign policy. Or even Condi Rice. He could do worse. Such as Sec. Kerry.
    “The worst foreign policy of a president since Chester Arthur”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack decries is too strong a term. She disagreed with some decisions, like Colin Powell disagreed with some decisions that he carried out when in office. They both have a right to reveal those when they are out of office. There is very little there here. You are just doing your standard partisan dance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Eric Florack says:

    @Grewgills: No, it’s too gentle a term.
    She clearly is trying to lay out some flags to refer back to during the upcoming presidential campaign.
    (See, I said Obama’s policies were stupid”. (Pay no attention to my S/S tenure behind the curtain) And mark it well, because this is going to come up again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0