Wrinkling time

  1. If order hadn’t been restored in Baghdad by the end of the summer (much less by January 2009), the U.S. will doubtless begin moving troops into positions very much like Hillary has proposed.
    I just don’t see it. For reasons I explain in the post, it’s just an untenable position. You can’t have an external army in the middle of a war zone trying to carry on its own finite mission while ignoring their surroundings. If we’re in Iraq with troops, the troops will naturally be a part of what’s going on in Iraq.

  2. The Big Election may be in November 2008, but the primary for many states this time around will be on February 5. So for the first crucial voting, there is less than a year to get your positions out there.

  3. Polimom,
    I agree with both you and James Joyner.
    (You first.) I agree it is silly for aspiring politicians to be issuing pronouncements on what they would do if they were in charge 2 years before they can possibly be making the decisions. Either they 1) project today’s reality into the future unchanged (which is the same thing as saying what they would do if they were in charge now) or 2) they make assumptions about what reality will look like 2 years from now and how they would respond to that reality when they take charge (in 2 years). The first is useless except as an emotional device to rally the faithful, i.e. “Yeah! He/she thinks like I do! Good for him/her!” The object is to plant the idea that if they think “like I do” now then if I vote them in, they will still think like I do then. There is no other benefit to the “what I would do now” type statements.
    Option 2) is more subtle, and that is what I believe Hillary has done. However, she did not describe her assumptions about what the future will look like, so friend and foe alike are just going off about it. Her comments are utterly insane if the future looks like today, and since I do not believe she is insane, just what is she assuming the future will look like?
    (Now to James Joyner.) IMHO, she believes The Surge is going to work (mostly). The US forces will provide enough cover and time for the Iraqi army to grow into the security challenge and the Iraqi politicians to strike a deal (which may not hold up over the long term, but that’s another problem . . . ) In that scenario, what Hillary proposes is transparent good sense. If however, she were assuming abject failure of The Surge and the Iraqi army and politicians, then Captain Ed and James Joyner are right–she’s a strategic and tactical dunce, as well as amoral, since she would be willing to ignore a genocide taking place within a day’s drive of several US divisions of troops.
    With this statement, IMHO, Hillary is buying insurance against success of the Bush Administration’s revised strategy and objectives in Iraq. She is also putting her Democratic rivals in a bind. They must either reiterate their pledges (to their base) of full withdrawal from Iraq come what may, or make their own future assumptions and state their policies based on them. Since all the leading Democrats are “out now” or “out ASAP with safety for the troops”, they run the risk of looking both opportunistic and strategically clueless come the first primary votes next year.
    Very crafty . . . . not the work of a strategically inept thinker at all! 😮

  4. It’s interesting that she would have the troops avoid getting involved if things descended into “ethnic cleansing” – if she thinks our troops would be able to stand by and watch that happen, then she might as well just bring ’em home and cede the area to the bad guys – because any shred of credibility we had left would certainly go down the toilet. (And besides, I am not sure the trouble wouldn’t come looking for the troops in that event.)

  5. Well, there’s Kucinich, who would withdraw everyone immediately, consequences be damned. He is in favor of putting UN troops there.
    Of course, Kucinich will get elected the day New Orleans gets Cat 5 levee protection.

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