Residual Forces

It's too bad The New York Times's Patrick Healy has decided to report on Bill Richardson's point that "Senator Clinton’s comments are a stunning flip-flop — she’s been saying she would keep troops in Iraq for five years, until 2013, and now she comes up with an inconsistent, incredible turnaround" purely through the lens of Richardson's alleged vice presidential ambitions. Clearly, forward-looking Iraq policy is one of the most important issues on the table in this election. What's more, unlike health care or global warming, the new president will just get to implement his or her preferred policy by fiat.

I'd like to know what's going on. Of course, if Clinton really has flip-flopped away from her old position that I disagreed with and adopted a new, better position I'm not going to condemn her for that: being open to persuasive arguments and new evidence is a good thing. But I do want to know what her position is since she's had a pattern of misleading rhetoric on this score, promising to "end the war" but leave tens of thousands of soldiers in the war zone.

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign fires back with this rebuttal that, I think, does effectively rebut the charge of flip-flopping. Clinton has consistently said that, in office, she'll act swiftly to remove one or two brigades a month until we're down to a "vastly reduced" residual force. That's a little vague, and given that the incentives during the primary are to shade your position to the left I doubt it specifies a policy I agree with, but it's one she's consistently adhered to.