Today is the fifth anniversary of President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama released statements about ending the Iraq war.
Obama promised that as president, he will end the war, “Five years after George Bush declared ‘mission accomplished’ and John McCain told the American people that ‘the end is very much in sight’ in Iraq, we have lost thousands of lives, spent half a trillion dollars, and we’re no safer. It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s false promises and failed judgments on foreign policy, so that we can finally ease the enormous burdens on our troops and their families, and end a war that should’ve never been authorized. I am the only candidate in this race who opposed the war in Iraq when Washington was falling in line with George Bush, and as President I will end this war.”
Hillary Clinton chose to highlight the ineptitude of the Bush administration. “The fifth anniversary of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech comes the same week as a chief architect of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq conceded “We were clueless on counterinsurgency.” That statement confirms what we have all known: the planning and strategy was flawed. Our troops deserved and deserve better…The path forward is to use American diplomacy and our allies to allow U.S. forces to come home, and turn responsibility back to Iraq and its people.”
One of the hurdles that Hillary Clinton has never been able to overcome with many Democrats is her previous support for the Iraq war. In her statement today Clinton was limited to blaming the Bush administration’s competency in Iraq, and promising that she will be better.
This is a clear difference from Obama’s ability to attack all supporters of the war. On Iraq, Obama is clearly the better candidate to go up against McCain. With Clinton, Republicans can say that she was for it before she was against it, but Obama has a clean slate on the issue.