"Early War Critics of the World Unite!"
Kevin Drum makes an argument worth responding to regarding Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy views, but that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. Instead, let me note this post by Ambassador Joe Wilson in support of Clinton. Clearly, securing the support of some prominent war opponents like Wilson has, for Clinton, been an important part of the effort to defuse anger over her position on Iraq. And it really is to her credit that she has the support of several such figures. That said, claims like this from Wilson don’t really fly:
Many of the most prominent early opponents of the war, including former General Wes Clark and former ambassador to the United National Richard Holbrooke support Senator Clinton for President, as do I.
Needless to say, Holbrooke didn’t oppose the war at all. He was a fairly prominent advocate for war, not as influential as Kenneth Pollack, but part of the group of former Clinton administration officials who helped sell the war to Democratic politicians and citizens. The inability or unwillingness of Clinton and her circle to give an accurate account of what she and her allies were up to in 2002 and 2003 really bothers me. I’m willing to forgive people for their errors, but I’d like to know what Clinton et. al. think the moral of the story is (contrast her handling of this issue to the deft way in which she’s plausibly argued that her participation in the failed health reform effort of the 1990s makes her uniquely prepared to grasp the pitfalls and find the path to progress) and what they’ve learned.
Instead, you keep hearing that she was actually opposed to the war! Or if she wasn’t, maybe Bill was! Or maybe Dick Holbrooke was! Or, or, or, or … who knows? It’s an odd way to behave and it makes it hard to clear the air. John Edwards has, by contrast, acknowledged error in a straightforward way and then laid out a compelling vision of American engagement with the world that clearly reflects a new, post-Iraq understanding of how the country should conduct itself on the world stage.