"Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called today for President Bush to 'extricate our country' from Iraq by the time he leaves office in 2009," the New York Times reports from Davenport, Iowa, where Mrs. Clinton was campaigning for president:
Mrs. Clinton . . . took issue with President Bush's recent statements that he did not expect to have the troops out of Iraq by the time he leaves office.
"I think it's the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it--this was his decision to go to war, he went with an ill-conceived plan, an incompetently executed strategy, and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office," the senator said this morning.
Let us think this through, shall we? If withdrawing from Iraq is in America's interests, why doesn't Mrs. Clinton--who by the way voted for the war--simply urge President Bush to do so on that ground, or promise to do so herself if elected?
Her demand for withdrawal by Jan. 20, 2009, has a logic to it, though, if she believes it isn't in America's interests. Even the Iraq Study Group acknowledged that premature U.S. withdrawal carries with it "the potential for catastrophe." If Bush withdraws and catastrophe ensues, then President Clinton 44 will not bear any of the blame for it.
If Bush stands firm, the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would present Clinton 44 with a choice between continuing an unpopular war or doing the politically expedient thing and withdrawing: between doing what is right and doing what is popular. If she does what is popular and catastrophe results, the public, fickle beast that it is, would blame her.
I really resent it, she says. "Height of irresponsibility" indeed.