Monday, May 18, 2015

Knowing What You Know Now

Having spent a little time recently watching CNN and other media outlets it appears the most important issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign is what Republican candidates think of the decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003 "knowing what you know now".  While THC admits finding some amusement watching the fumbling of Jeb Bush as he attempts to formulate precisely the right response, it also strikes him as a rather odd inquiry.  Perhaps a better one would be "given America's experiences in Iraq since 2003 what lessons do you draw for the future?".

The other curious aspect of the recent media inquiries is that none of the Republican candidates voted on the Iraq War resolution or were in significant and relevant policymaking positions at the time.

However, there is one announced candidate who not only voted on the Iraq war in 2003 but also played an important role in the other two key decision points regarding Iraq - the debate over whether to adopt the strategy known as the Surge in 2007 and the decision to completely withdraw from Iraq in 2011.  That candidate is Hilary Clinton. CBS News)

Ms Clinton was a United States Senator in 2003 and 2007 and Secretary of State in 2011.  Therefore THC anxiously awaits a surge of media inquiries along the following lines:
“Senator Clinton, in 2003 you voted in favor of the Iraq War and later admitted it was a mistake.

In 2007, you led the opposition in the Senate to the Surge and called those who developed the strategy liars.  Four years later President Obama remarked: “We remember the Surge and we remember the Awakening -– when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation“. Based on what you know now would you have still opposed the Surge?

In 2011, as Secretary of State, you supported the President’s decision to withdraw American forces based upon his assessment that Iraq was now “stable and self-reliant” due to the success of the Surge. Based on the rise of ISIS, the collapse of the Iraqi Army and what you know now would you still have supported the withdrawal and the President’s assessment?”
Let's start a countdown clock until the media starts asking.  If Ms Clinton is smart (and we already know she's "likable enough") she'll respond: "what difference at this point does it make?"  The media can then nod approvingly and start attacking Republican candidates for being fixated on the past and not having a positive agenda for the future.  Sounds like a win-win strategy.

In the meantime, this is The Official Position Of This Blog on the 2016 election - No more Bushes, no more Clintons.


  1. No more Bushes, no more Clintons. Agreed!

    Every candidate, including Dem. O'Malley, should insist when asked the "Based on what you know now..." question, should refuse to accept the premise and reply, "Why aren't you asking Secretary Clinton these questions." Why should I answer that hindsight 20/20 gotcha question, when no one in the media will ask her that.

    Of course, at that point, someone in the media may just because they're being called on it. And she'll be ready for it....more ready than Jeb was.

    BTW, my feeling is O'Malley will not insist, at least now, that Clinton be asked that, because he's treading very lightly around her candidacy..and other matters as well. Example: insisting George Stephanopoulis' awful dishonesty is no cause for concern. Really, Governor? Hahahaha!

  2. Knowing what we now know, the decision for OIF was correct on the law and justified on the policy.
    Explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    1. Nice piece you wrote. Thanks for the link