Hillary: We cannot negotiate with individual terrorists

Geraghty’s alarmed, as he should be. Like I said Friday, contra Obama, the Glacier’s always careful in her foreign policy rhetoric not to commit too strongly to any one position. As such, the rather pointed qualifier in this passage from her new big bag o’ bromides isn’t there by accident:

Use our military not as the solution to every problem but as one element in a comprehensive strategy. As president, I will never hesitate to use force to protect Americans or to defend our territory and our vital interests. We cannot negotiate with individual terrorists; they must be hunted down and captured or killed. Nor can diplomacy alone stop the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity in places such as Darfur. But soldiers are not the answer to every problem. Using force in lieu of diplomacy compels our young men and women in uniform to carry out missions that they may not be trained or prepared for. And it ignores the value of simply carrying a big stick, rather than using it.

This may be an allusion to Bush’s plan to designate the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, a measure Hillary herself voted to support two weeks ago and for which she’s been getting grief from the left ever since. If it’s a reference to Iran then there’s no sense hollering about it: Bush’s own ambassador to Iraq has met with the Iranians twice so she’s only guilty of following a Republican precedent.

But if this is all about Iran, why not specify it in the passage I quoted? E.g., “We must never negotiate with terrorists, but thanks to the president’s foolhardy polices in Iraq, we have no choice at this point but to make an exception for Iran.” Why broaden it to “terrorists” generally? Geraghty thinks he knows why. I’m inclined to agree.

Update: Please note — this isn’t Hillary speaking off the cuff. Follow the link and you’ll see it’s from an article in Foreign Affairs magazine. She put a lot of thought into this formulation.