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Hillary wants desperately to recreate those glory days when she could rant about a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and people would care. This past Sunday she ran the rare network trifecta (with emphasis added):
FACE THE NATION CBS TV, DECEMBER 7, 2003
JOHN ROBERTS: So just back to my original question. You have suggested that there's a political imperative here to try to get the troops out. One of the places you made that claim was while you were on the ground in Iraq and people accused you of playing politics - taking that moment to criticize the president.MEET THE PRESS NBC TV, DECEMBER 7, 2003
SEN. CLINTON: Well actually that
MR. ROBERTS: In hindsight would you have criticized the president while you were on the ground in Iraq?
SEN. CLINTON: Well let me correct the record that it didn't happen. I know that's the latest flaming charge by the right wing but that's not what happened. What happened is that when I was in Afghanistan and Iraq speaking with a lot of our soldiers who I think are doing an extraordinary job under dangerous and difficult circumstances. They asked me on one particular occasion well you know what will people think of us and we're doing back home? Now I'm not going to lie to an American soldier particularly a soldier from the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, New York. And what I said is I think you have universal support among the American people. They cannot be prouder of you and there are questions being raised about the administration's policies. Now they know that. They get the Internet. They get the media. They're well aware of that.
TIM RUSSERT: There has been some reaction to comments you made on the ground in Iraq, and let me go through that. This is the dispatch from the Buffalo News: "'The morale of the troops," Senator Hillary Clinton said, "is very high,'" but she said the military personnel with whom she spoke in meetings and wanted to know, quote, 'how the people at home feel about what we are doing.' 'Americans are wholeheartedly proud of what you are doing,' Clinton said she replied, 'but there are many questions at home about the Bush administration's policies.'" Was it appropriate for you to criticize the president while in Iraq?Far from negative publicity, the vast right-wing majority virtually ignored Ms Clinton. Which is even worse for her, and why she's running herself ragged hitting all three networks to defend herself against the few pundits who bothered to briefly note the obvious un-patriotic, un-American, but un-surprising aspects of her overseas histrionics. There is an issue here; and although Ms Clinton may be truly unable to comprehend it, Mickey Kaus nails it down:
SEN. CLINTON: You know, I find this so interesting that this has now become an issue, and largely fueled by a lot of the talk shows and the other sort of right-wing apparatus. You know, when a soldier asks me a very direct question, you know, "How do people feel about us and what we're doing here, senator?" -- especially a soldier from the 10th Mountain Division, which as you know is based in Fort Drum, New York, I wasn't going to lie to that young man. And what I said is what I believe. We are wholeheartedly supporting our troops, and that is exactly as it should be. The American people I think understand that they are performing superbly under difficult and dangerous circumstances. But you know these young men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are on the Internet, they get the media. They know very well that there is a debate about our policies. That's part of being an American. And from my perspective it is fully appropriate in talking with our soldiers to have that kind of conversation with them.
The problem is she smarmily "wanted to have it both ways," pretending her trip was in part a morale-building visit to the troops ("I wanted to come to Iraq to let the troops know about the great job they're doing") while she "griped about" the mission the troops were on. Here's a home state paper account:What I've told troops confronted with "protest" is a bit more simple: "America is with you. As far as the protestors, don't sweat it. You're making history; they're making noise."Bet that fired them right up!?... [Links via Lucianne and Instapundit]
The morale of the troops, she said, "is very high," but she said the military personnel with whom she spoke in meetings and during "two turkey dinners" wanted to know "how the people at home feel about what we are doing."
" "Americans are wholeheartedly proud of what you are doing,' " Clinton said she replied, " "but there are many questions at home about the (Bush) administration's policies.' "
Update: Howard Owens and Bill Herbert take issue with the above post, largely on the grounds that a) what Hillary said was accurate--there are "many questions" at home and b)?"military people aren't too fragile to be given straight talk" or to hear Hillary's criticisms of current U.S. policies. All true, but that's not the point. Even if military people are quite strong enough to hear antiwar criticism, surely at some point that criticism, however frankly expressed, can't be portrayed as morale building. If you went to Iraq and told the troops, say, that they were doing the "bidding of Halliburton" and "imposing alien Western values" in a way calculated to increase terrorism directed at Americans, that might be admirable "straight talk" but would be hard to honestly portray as letting "the troops know about the great job they're doing."
That's not the anti-Bush criticism Hillary made, of course. But what she did say struck me as neither as supportive nor as honest as it should have been. It would be one thing to tell the troops, "We're all proud of you, though there are many questions at home about whether we are withdrawing too fast or too slow, or becoming bogged down." It's another to say there are "many questions about the administration's policies." The first is the perspective of a citizen. The second is the perspective of a Democratic partisan. The first says that we're all in this together and we're all worried and we can disagree on how to do it and this is how I would improve things. The second says "this isn't America's policy, it's Bush's policy." It implies that whenever a policy comes in for criticism from voters, Hillary--who voted for the war, after all--will disavow any connection to it.
Yessiree, Hillery is FOR the troops, but AGAINST what the troops are doing. Yup. Real morale-builder there. Truthful. Straight-forward.
Dees-gusting!Posted by SharpShooter at December 14, 2003 06:46 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)