Not Hillary, but Bill:
KING: On an international level, do you think the surge is going to succeed? What do you expect to hear in a couple of weeks?
CLINTON: My guess is that General Petraeus will ask to give it more time. And he will say it is succeeding. What I think is a little more complicated than that. Look at what is indisputable, where has it done well?
There are a couple of places in the Sunni section of Iraq where the American military has allied with Sunni insurgents that previously fought against us. Why have they allied with us?
Because we are now helping them to do something they want to do. They have decided they need to beat the al Qaeda in Iraq because it is controlled by non-Iraqis, and they don’t have an Iraqi agenda.
They are basically trying to wreck everything. You know, if they are trying to kill as many Americans as possible, and if they have to kill Iraq Sunni sympathizers and people that don’t adhere to their very severe interpretation of Islam, they don’t have a problem in the world doing it.
And the Sunni insurgents that are homegrown, they have a political agenda. They want a piece of the governance of the country. They want a piece of the oil revenues. They want a piece of Iraq’s future.
So that is fine. But in a way, the fact that we have now succeeded with this strategy also shows its limits, because we don’t have the troops to do this all over the country.
And it shows you that ultimately this is a political problem that has to be solved by the Iraqis themselves. Furthermore, I don’t see any alternative consistent with the responsibilities for national security to a substantial withdrawal of troops this year, because the military is so overstressed.
If we had a big national security emergency now, we would be virtually compelled to meet it with Naval and Air Force forces, because the Army, the Marine Corps, the National Guard, the Reserves are all overstretched, all deeply stressed.
There are Naval personnel now, substantial numbers of them who have been trained in weapons fire, infantry tactics, even guerrilla warfare, trained, in effect, to be a second army because we are so overstressed.
So I don’t think, given the problems we have got in Afghanistan with a resurgent Taliban and the al Qaeda and the imperative of defeating them there, I still believe that we will have to have a substantial drawdown of troops this year.
No wonder we (by we, I mean Republicans, although it would be grossly inacurrate to, at this point, call me a Republican- I am one in name only at the moment) hated him in the 90’s (and I was a full-fledged Clinton hater). His accurate description of reality gets in the way of our fantasy. No worries, we have an actor running now, and hopefully Fred Thompson will keep the dream alive.
As a side note, does anyone else have any information about the Navy now teaching their sailors how to perform an infantry function? (Update – More info here.)
*** Update ***
James Joyner has more on the Navy issue. His analysis- Clinton is stretching the truth slightly.