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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The New York Times Endorses…

posted by on January 24 at 18:26 PM

Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

I think their endorsement of Clinton is mostly fair—I happen to disagree with their take on the candidates’ health plans, but they’re right on about Edwards’s record in the Senate, and they have a reasonable, if conservative, assessment of who is better prepared to be Commander in Chief.

However, I must take exception to this claim:

We opposed President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and we disagree with Mrs. Clinton’s vote for the resolution on the use of force. That’s not the issue now; it is how the war will be ended. Mrs. Clinton seems not only more aware than Mr. Obama of the consequences of withdrawal, but is already thinking through the diplomatic and military steps that will be required to contain Iraq’s chaos after American troops leave.

That’s a serious misread, in my opinion. Here’s a little something from their own paper, which I quoted last weekend:

Senator Hillary Clinton has advocated that the United States rapidly draw down forces while retraining a residual force to fight terrorists, protect the Kurds, deter Iranian aggression and possibly support the Iraqi military. But it is striking that those assignments do not include the core mission of the counterinsurgency doctrine: protecting Iraqi civilians from sectarian violence, which she sees as involving American forces in a civil war.

She was asked in an interview to explain her thinking. “We would not be trying to insert ourselves in the middle between the various Shiite and Sunni factions,” she said last March in her Senate office. “This is an Iraqi problem — we cannot save the Iraqis from themselves.”

But that raises the question of whether American forces could really stay within the security of their bases if thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed outside the gates. It would probably not be long before the media and perhaps the troops themselves asked whether the nation that had taken the lid off Pandora’s box by invading Iraq had a responsibility to protect the defenseless.

Senator Barack Obama has pledged to withdraw combat forces, but perhaps not counterterrorism units or trainers, within 16 months of taking office. Mindful of the risk that such a wholesale withdrawal might lead to an escalation in sectarian killings, he has said that he would be prepared to send American troops back into Iraq as part of an international force to stop genocidal attacks. (That is hardly a far-fetched scenario; a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq issued in January 2007 by American intelligence agencies warned that the quick withdrawal of all American forces would probably lead to “massive civilian casualties and forced population displacement.”)

“It is conceivable that there comes a point where things descend into the mayhem that shocks the conscience and we say to ourselves, ‘This is not acceptable,’ ” he said in a November interview in his Chicago office. “We don’t know whether this is, in fact, a problem, but I acknowledge that you never know what could happen.”

But fighting their way back into Iraq in the middle of a raging civil war might well be far more difficult and dangerous for American forces than their current operations.

Obama is thinking ahead. I’m not so sure about Clinton.

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The New York times is considered the most unobjective news rag in the country.

Why wouldn't they endorse the senator from their very own state?

Posted by Obvious Guy | January 24, 2008 6:32 PM

They just endorsed the hometown girl. On the other hand, they slam Guiliani in their endorsement of McCain.

Posted by blaire with an e | January 24, 2008 6:35 PM

Waitasecond -- the NYT opposed the invasion? Or have they confused "opposed" with "uncritically printed every bullshit story floated by the admistration and its proxies to justfy the invasion as though it were indisputable fact?"

Posted by flamingbanjo | January 24, 2008 6:41 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the New York Times just a liberal rag run by terrorist loving humersexuals?
And doesn't Hillary Clinton have a vagina? That's right, everyone is affraid to say it, but I was watching some video of her and I am sure she has a vagina.
We are a young country, but we have always been right about one thing, Vaginas do not belong in the white house.

Posted by SlogWorthy | January 24, 2008 6:51 PM

What we really need to do in Iraq is install a brutal dictator that will frighten the Shiite and Sunni into cooperating with each other.

Oh wait, never mind.

Posted by Colton | January 24, 2008 6:59 PM

On returning to Iraq as part of an international force to stop genocide--

is the point that Obama and Clinton disagree on that?

We read that OBama supports it. Did Clinton say "no, I wouldn't favor that"?

Or is it that Obama showed better judgment by raising it first?

If the latter, this is pretty minor as a distinction. What would be nice would be if either one would actually develop the plan for such an international force before waiting on genocide.

Personally, I'd rather see an international force led by Turkey, Morroco, Indonesia and Pakistan and the like (need to correct that to get the right Sunni Shia balance btw).

Having the USA in it inevitably makes it look like we are leading it. Big Problem.

They don't like us infidels over there. They really don't. Might be a bad idea to have any of us infidels involved. It's a stimulus program for Al Q.

(Cue: those who **favor** awarding bulls ownership of china shops.)

Posted by unPC | January 24, 2008 7:06 PM

If those are the nominees, it'll be President McCain, so it doesn't really matter what Hillary's plan is. Also: people (like ECB) act like some tiny healthcare policy nuance is more important than character and vision. The president doesn't just get to sit down and say, "Here's healthcare policy, America." Any policy has to be vetted and watered down in congress. This is why the ability to reunite the country is more important than wonky-wonk policy details. It doesn't matter what the details are if you can't work with enough people to implement them. Hillary has too many enemies. But she'd have to win the general election first, which isn't gonna happen anyways.

I will say this about Obama, though: He's utterly failed to make Clinton's pro-war vote an issue. I realize he's trying to be noble, run a high-minded campaign, blah, blah, blah, but the pro-war vote is Clinton's biggest weakness with the democratic base. Wouldn't he rather be talking about that vote than having petty spats in the media about the Clintons' cryptoracist comments?

Posted by Mr Me | January 24, 2008 7:23 PM


Yeah, especially when she keeps reaming him on petty shit like his "present" votes in the Illinois Senate. As a Senator, she should know better. Obama could pull the exact same shit on her.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 24, 2008 7:44 PM

Agreed @7-8.
Also the Wal-Mart board. The photos of Hills with that bunch of fat white men are priceless.

Posted by Johnny Rigor | January 24, 2008 7:56 PM

I have recently acquired a huge dose of realism about all this. I don't know if I'll show up for the caucus here on Feb. 5 or not. If I do, I'll stand in Hillary's corner. But it doesn't really matter much - it's non-binding. The situation with the general election is even worse. In the 33 years I've lived here, Colorado has NEVER gone for a Democrat for President. I might as well vote for Mickey Mouse for all the difference it will make. Nevertheless, you folks enjoy your bickering - it's more entertaining than anything on the boob tube.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 24, 2008 8:48 PM

McCain, McBain, whatever.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | January 24, 2008 9:06 PM

@1 "The New York times is considered the most unobjective news rag in the country."

REALLY? Congrats to the NYT for finally beating out The Stranger!

Posted by Wow! | January 24, 2008 9:40 PM

"Big Media Loves Hillary." Film at 11.

Posted by DOUG. | January 24, 2008 10:04 PM

Obama will re-establish Hammurabi's code uniting greater Mesopotamia in a new Babylonian Empire.

Posted by Obama SuperFan | January 24, 2008 10:11 PM

Did I miss something?
Didn't Judith Miller & Michael Gordon work for the NY Times?
I really shouldn't sniff poppers when I read the 'paper of record'

Posted by Shawn Fassett | January 24, 2008 10:52 PM

I'd feel better about this if Hillary would tell Bill to shut the fuck up. And tell Bill that Obama isn't Newt Gingrich, it's important not to divide the party, because if you do, you won't be able to govern even if you win.

But she won't do that because to the Clintons, Obama is Newt Gingrich: someone in their way. Anyone in their way is the enemy.

She might win. She won't be able to govern.

Posted by Seamus | January 24, 2008 11:03 PM

the reason obama doesn't bring up hillary!'s 2003 pro-war positions is because since becoming a member of the u.s. senate himself, he's voted exactly like her on iraq. they'd just bring up (like they have before) that his words and actions don't mesh. i understand it's not that simple; that ridiculous amendments and attachments were added by the Republicans, forcing him to vote a certain way, and that he voted for additional funding so the troops were at least minimally supplied, etc.

i'm a huge obama fan, but i see this as one of his biggest challenges against her.

i agree with 7 -- if mccain's the gop nominee, she'll lose. she inspires a dangerous combo -- unenthusiastic dems/independents not voting/voting for mccain + huge anti-Hillary GOP turn-out to vote against her (like us in 2004 -- we voted against Bush, not for Kerry). and the GOP is desperate for something to get frothy about. hillary will be that something if we're so dumb as to nominate her.

Posted by Judith | January 25, 2008 1:59 AM

@3. Totes! Unless I'm way off, the NYT SUPPORTED the invasion (like basically every other uncritical paper), then in about 2005 retracted their support for it in an editorial. Am I way off here?

Posted by fawxer | January 25, 2008 7:08 AM

There will be no mass bloodshed in Iraq if the US pulls out troops as Obama suggests. There'll probably be fighting, but it will be no worse than what we've already seen and it will settle down quickly.

The reason the US hasn't done that is that the results are not likely to be pro-US. This is our big problem in Iraq - the only solution we can accept is one that suits us, but that ain't nevva gunna happen.

Pulling out then having second thoughts and sending them back in would be a disaster, simply aggravating the situation. I hope Obama's not seriously holding this as a trump card, as its a stupid idea.

Posted by blank12357 | January 25, 2008 9:57 AM

@10 - Clinton won Colorado in 1992.

Posted by Medina | January 25, 2008 11:24 AM

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