CONFUSION….Is there a substantial segment of the population that has mixed feeling about withdrawal from Iraq? I think so, but Greg Sargent summarizes a new poll today that suggests otherwise: if you give people a clear choice between quick withdrawal and the Bush/Petraeus plan, a majority choose quick withdrawal. Not a huge majority, but still a majority.
Of course, some confusion in the ranks would hardly be surprising given the reluctance of many Democrats to take a clear stand on the issue. Here’s the LA Times today on Hillary Clinton:
“Are you ready to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home?” she called to the audience outside the New Hampshire statehouse over Labor Day weekend. A sure-fire applause line at Democratic rallies, Clinton works it into many of her speeches.
The New Hampshire crowd roared.
Later in her remarks, Clinton added that “we should end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home safely and responsibly and as soon as possible.” But she did not lay out how much time it might take to withdraw “safely and responsibly.” Nor did she mention something she had said in a debate one month earlier: that she thinks the U.S. would need to retain military forces to keep terrorists “on the run” in Iraq.
Bob Williams, 65, of Chichester, N.H., came out to the statehouse for Clinton’s address. Asked whether he came away with an idea of when a full troop withdrawal might happen if she were president, Williams said: “I’m not sure.” He later said he had heard little from Clinton in the way of “specific plans or commitments” for extracting the U.S. from Iraq.
Obama and Edwards are better on this score, but still not crystal clear about what they’d do. And Democratic congressional leaders have been hopelessly muddled. Frankly, with leadership like this, it’s surprising the public isn’t more confused than it is.