Saturday, February 10, 2007

Clinton's Iraq Problem

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday her 2002 vote for a resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq was "not a vote for a pre-emptive war," but instead a show of support for further United Nations weapons inspections.

-- as reported on UnionLeader.com

And so continues Senator Clinton’s slow tiptoe away from her vote authorizing the Iraq War. Rather than taking a page from John Edwards and just flat out admitting she was wrong to vote yea, Clinton has spent the early part of the 2008 campaign rationalizing why her vote was right. I guess it all depends on what the meaning of “was” is.

Part of me appreciates the fact that Clinton admits that the Iraq situation was and continues to be incredibly complicated. She has shown political maturity in her willingness to talk both about the grave mistakes made and the serious responsibilities that still remain. But, at the same time, she seems to be ever so slowly giving in to the Democrats’ left flank – only a few rhetorical steps away from denouncing any previous or continued involvement in Iraq.

How Clinton navigates these difficult waters will very likely determine whether she can sail cleanly to the nomination or whether she’ll be sunk by the less-equivocal voices to her left. It’s easy to be steadfastly pro-war or unwaveringly anti-war. It’s much harder to be pro-reality and acknowledge that a solution to Iraq rests neither in blind optimism or wholesale retreat.

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