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Romney and the War

David Freddoso:

Romney may be leaving a door open, in case he wins the nomination, to say that while America still cannot run from Iraq, he would probably not have become involved to begin with, knowing what he knows now. Such a position would be invaluable when debating Senator Clinton, who spoke out for and voted for a war that 57 percent of Americans now say was a mistake.

Future presidents, like the current one, will face agonizing choices over whether to become involved in foreign wars. For that reason, the eventual Republican nominee will be forced to answer the “hypothetical” question about this war. He may need to give an answer that many Republicans don’t want to hear.

You could take this as evidence of Romney's possible crypto-realist tendencies, or of his eye for the main political chance (or both). Either way, though, I think Freddoso's broader analysis of the political dynamic facing the GOP is pretty astute - as is his point that Newt Gingrich's latest take on the war on terror amounts to a sotto voce rejection of the original push to invade Iraq.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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