I take the Krauthammerian line on Hillary, that she has no principles beyond her own political preservation, so the fun of reading a speech like this is figuring out precisely what percentage of it is abject bullshinola, designed to help her squeak through the primary but otherwise rescindable as circumstances warrant. Will she really order the withdrawal of U.S. troops within 60 days of being inaugurated? Depends. Will she maintain sufficient combat troops in the region for targeted strikes on Al Qaeda, a la Baker-Hamilton? Depends. Will she, in fact, hand the whole endeavor over to the UN, relying on them to “engage countries around the world” to secure Iraq knowing that no one but no one will be equal to that task? Depends; what do the polls look like? This is why she has those “new conservative friends” of hers: When Obama talks about this stuff, we believe him. When she talks about it, we wink.
Anyway. Let’s focus on what he and she have in common: The “tough love” approach to occupation by which withdrawing the thin green line between basic order and total chaos is somehow an inducement to reconciliation. Wake me when we try this approach with Karzai and the Taliban:
Now, withdrawal is not risk-free, but the risks of staying in Iraq are certain. And a well-planned withdrawal is the one and only path to a political solution. The only way to spur the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future and to ensure that we don’t bear that responsibility indefinitely. The only way to spur other countries to do their part to help secure stability in the region. The commitment to staying in Iraq has driven President Bush’s foreign policy. It looks like it would drive Senator McCain’s foreign policy as well, but it will not drive mine. My foreign policy will be driven by what is in America’s national security interests…
The most important part of my plan is the first step, to bring our troops home and send the strongest possible message to the Iraqis that they must take responsibly for their own future. No more talk of permanent occupation, no more policing a civil war, no more doing for the Iraqis what they need to be doing for themselves. As president, one of my first official actions will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my Secretary of Defense and my National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to start bringing our troops home within the first 60 days of my taking office. A plan based on my consultation with the military to remove one to two brigades a month, a plan that reduces the risks of attack as they depart.
She’s also planning to crack down on the black market in oil that’s funding the insurgency, which surely hadn’t occurred to Petraeus until the Smartest Woman in the World floated the idea. Exit question via Captain Ed: Now that the Democrats’ foreign policy debate has devolved into a debate between Hillary and Sinbad, would it be bad form to point out that she’s likely lying again? If it’s any consolation, Obama thinks she’s a liar too (although he’s not the one who benefits from it!):
Update: How far is she willing to go to get U.S. troops out of the country? This far. One year ago, almost to the day:
In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain in Iraq after taking office would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.
Asked if Americans would endure having troops in Iraq who do nothing to stop sectarian attacks there, Mrs. Clinton replied, “Look, I think the American people are done with Iraq. I think they’re at a point where, whether they thought it was a good idea or not, they have seen misjudgment and blunder after blunder, and their attitude is, what is this getting us? What is this doing for us?”
“No one wants to sit by and see mass killing,” she added. “It’s going on every day! Thousands of people are dying every month in Iraq. Our presence there is not stopping it. And there is no potential opportunity I can imagine where it could. This is an Iraqi problem — we cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. If we had a different attitude going in there, if we had stopped the looting immediately, if we had asserted our authority — you can go down the lines, if, if, if.”