"Tim Russert would never question [Hillary Clinton] about her role in Somalia. But in her book For Love of Politics Sally Bedell Smith reports that it was Hillary who overrode Bill's concerns that his decision to withdraw all American troops within 6 months" following the deadly incidents depicted in the film "Black Hawk Down" (above), "would send the wrong message to US enemies," writes Judith Apter Klinghoffer, adding "It is disconcerting to realize that Hillary has learned nothing from the experience."
We let loose with an uncontrollable barrage of expletives that roused a sleeping Tuck -- who was not amused -- early morning as we heard Miss Hillary in "Meet the Press" reruns tell Tim Russert that any success we were having in Iraq was due primarily to her own cut-and-run rhetoric:
I know very well that they follow everything that I say. And my commitment to begin withdrawing our troops in January of 2009 is a big factor, as it is with Senator Obama, Senator Edwards, those of us on the Democratic side. It is a big factor in pushing the Iraqi government to finally do what they should have been doing all along.
Russert had asked the "Smartest Woman on Earth" what she would say to General Petraeus, now that the surge is working, in light of her having attempted to humiliate and discredit him -- to his face! -- last fall by asserting that his progress report required "a willing suspension of disbelief." As Judith Apter Klinghoffer writes at the History News Network, "Everything you need to know about the way Hillary Clinton will govern" can be found in her response:
Tim, I'm going to go back to what the whole point of the surge was, and the testimony that we heard last fall. The point of the surge was to push the Iraqi government to make these tough choices. Now, if we put in 30,000 of our finest young men and women, who are going to go after the bad guys and quell violence in certain parts of Iraq, there's no doubt that can be done . . . The point of the surge was to quickly move the Iraqi government and Iraqi people. That is only now beginning to happen, and I believe in large measure because the Iraqi government, they watch us, they listen to us.
It was the ignorance and arrogance and hubris of her words -- especially the ones dismissing the hard-fought success of General Petraeus's groundbreaking counterinsurgency strategy as something that 30,000 troops could accomplish with ease -- that had precipitated our above-mentioned profanatory outburst. Klinghoffer's summary is crisp and to the point:
She takes credit for American success achieved despite her opposition and plans to wrangle defeat from the jaws of victory if elected president. Yes, Al Qaeda is watching, and she has just informed them that she had learned nothing from Somalia, where she insisted Bill withdraw precipitously [the weak-horse response that would embolden Osama] to force Somalis and the UN to take responsibility.
'Wonder whether Mrs. Clinton ever even read the General's September report which had caused her to roll her eyes in disbelief? For that matter, has she read his Counterinsurgency manual released in December of 2006? We know she didn't read the 90-page, classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before her 2002 vote to authorize war, as she explained with a straight face to Russert:
Well, actually, not very many people read the whole thing because we were getting constant briefings.
We suggest she get some remedial briefings on how "the experience in Iraq is transforming the miilitary into the force required to help with the Long War," as Marine Eric Swabb explictes in a WSJ Commentary:
The Iraq war is also dramatically improving the military's understanding, training and capabilities in irregular warfare . . .
The blunders of the early years are well-known. Trained for conventional warfare, the Army and Marine Corps were unprepared for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Commanders emphasized killing or capturing insurgents not securing the population as counterinsurgency doctrine emphasizes . . .
Pre-deployment training now includes realistic scenarios that test units' ability to build relationships with local leaders and partner with host-nation forces . . .
Commanders, from the small-unit level to the general ranks, increasingly understand that population security, political reconciliation and economic development create legitimate government, which saps insurgents' strength. As a result, conventional forces are now performing counterinsurgency missions at a level that many experts thought impossible.
The former First Lady's apparent "understanding" that the mission of the surge is to "go after the bad guys and quell violence" isn't even close.