(At least, I hope) She says things like this:
But as Sen. Hillary Clinton privately told a senor military adviser, she knows there will be some troops there for decades.
Which, yeah, no. That's not going to fly with the Democratic base. Which is probably why Clinton (And, indeed, most other quote unquote serious Democratic contenders) goes to great lengths to avoid saying it at, you know, debates and press conferences where people are actually listening.
Realistically, it's likely we're going to have some troop presence in the area for a long, long time to come. Like Korea or German we're there for the foreseeable future. But it's an open question as to how much and where, exactly, those troops will be. We have plenty of bases already in the region. Like in Saudia Arabia, although that's a thorny issue in and of itself what with their neolithic attitude towards women and that whole “infidels in our holy lands” that for some reason, seems to piss the locals off. Go figure. So, I'm not that surprised to hear Clinton admitting this, at least in private.
My problem, however, is that when I hear Clinton say “some troops” I hear a very different figure than I do when, say, Bill Richardson or Barack Obama does. Madam Clinton's progressive credentials are already tenuous. She's in the unenviable position of being a staunch liberal when she's really a pragmatic (Some might even say opportunistic) moderate. The right already hates her and she's really not left enough for the left. Certainly not for me but, you know, I'm one of those swirly eyed ultra liberals. But where she's really vulnerable, as far as winning over that Democratic base, is the Iraq War. It's not just that she voted for it. I get the distinct impression that she and the rest of the DLC, third way Democratic apparatus aren't really sorry they did. Just that they're disappointed in the way it turned out. Our apparent goal of permanent occupation in the Middle East seems to be a-okay with her. She quibbles with the way it's been managed. But once she's in office she probably figures she can do a better job.
And that's where I get off the Clinton train. Because, let's be honest, there's not going to be any movement on the situation in Iraq until we have a little regime change of our own in this country. By the time January 2009 rolls around we're going to be even further and deeper in trouble than we already are. The person I vote for isn't someone I want to draw down troop levels and mess around with the flowcharts. It's someone who's going to radically alter our course. To something sane. I'm not convinced that Clinton is that person.