Debra J. Saunders

The smartest woman in America, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., declared that she was wrong to believe "the president when he said he would go to the United Nations and put inspectors into Iraq to determine whether they had WMD." That's odd because the congressional resolution for which she voted in October 2002 didn't promise to send inspectors to Iraq. A small hint that the resolution was not about inspections can be found in its title, "Joint Resolution for the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq."

Also during Thursday night's MSNBC Democratic presidential primary debate, former Sen. John Edwards said: "I was wrong to vote for this war. Unfortunately, I will have to live with that forever. And the lesson I learned from it is to put more faith in my own judgment."

Does that make any sense?

As the Senate voted 51-46 for a measure to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq no later than Oct. 1, an air of unreality permeated the debate. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson both pledged to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq -- the Senate measure would allow some U.S. troops to remain to pursue terrorist organizations and train and equip Iraqi security forces -- and then touted their plans to call on the international community to place international peacekeeping forces in Iraq.

Fascinating, but I have to wonder: After a U.S. pullout, which country would provide those fine international peacekeeping troops? France? The next time that Democrats debate, here are two questions I would like to hear: One, what will happen in Iraq if Congress wins its troop-withdrawal timetable? Two, will remaining U.S. troops be more or less secure? Not that I'd expect an honest answer.

Indeed, it ought to concern the voting public that the Democrats apparently don't have enough confidence in their stand on Iraq to speak plainly about it.

In a recent interview on CNN before the debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry ("the war is lost") Reid of Nevada, insisted, "I agree with Gen. (David) Petraeus," the U.S. commander in Iraq -- about the fact that the Iraq war must be won politically. And, "He's the man on the ground there now."

Reid not only misrepresented Petraeus' position -- Petraeus believes the war must be won politically, but that can't happen until Iraqis feel secure, hence the need for a surge in U.S. troop strength in Iraq -- but also, Reid then declared that he doesn't "believe" Petraeus when the commander says he sees progress in Iraq.

Debra J. Saunders

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