Hillary Clinton Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Christopher Hitchens explains in great detail why Hillary Clinton will have a tough time backing away from her longstanding position in favor of war with Iraq. The crux of the case:

After speaking to the U.N. General Assembly meeting of 2006, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq found himself in a room with President Bush and former President Clinton. He embraced them both. “Thank you,” he said to Clinton, “for signing the law that called for the liberation of Iraq. And thank you, Mr. Bush, for being the one to implement it.”


At stake, then, is not just the credibility of an ambitious New York senator who wants to be the next President Clinton. At stake, rather, is the integrity of the last President Clinton and of those in his administration who concluded that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was neither desirable nor possible.

Quite right. That doesn’t preclude her arguing that the war could have been prosecuted with more competence or that, were she president, she would have done so. But it does rather mitigate against her banging the “Bush Lied” drum too loudly.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Iraq War, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I think the “war could have been fought with more competence” is likely to be the campaign slogan on both sides of the fence (absent a major breakthrough in the next 12 months). It will let Rudy/Mitt/John be ‘not-Bush’ and yet act like adults about Iraq. It will let Hillary/Barak/John move to the center for the general election.

    And I suspect the majority of the voters will eat it up.

  2. ken says:

    Right, the fact that Bush did indeed lie to us about Iraq does not exonerate Senator Clinton for her vote. Granted the legislation was NOT a declaration of war and therefore does not really incriminate anyone who voted for it in anything worse than poor judgement in trusting Bush with the discretion they were giving him.

    But still, intelligent people, and I am including Senator Clinton in this, knew, like I did, that Iraq did not comprise a threat to the US that rose to the level that even remotely called for military action.

    So she does owe us a better explanation of her past, and her current, positions regarding the Bush lies and his war on Iraq. Bush lied then, he is lying now, what is her position regarding his lies. That is what the American people deserve to know.

  3. LJD says:

    Aside from the generally accepted anti-war crowd’s run-up amnesia, and the fabrications of truth from those like Ken…

    …Clinton needs to pick a side of the fence to stand on. She is walking a razor’s edge, and following the prevailing winds will eventually paint her as a flip flopper a-la Kerry. It lost the Dems the last election, and may this one as well.

  4. Rick DeMent says:

    Yeah, anyone who actually bought that load of hooey from the Bush administration is disqualified to be president.