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Tilting at Windmills

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October 10, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CLINTON ON TORTURE....Yes, Andrew Sullivan suffers from Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but I'll still join him in gagging over this nauseating piece of evasion from Hillary:

Clinton was similarly vague about how she would handle special interrogation methods used by the CIA. She said that while she does not condone torture, so much has been kept secret that she would not know unless elected what other extreme measures interrogators are using, and therefore could not say whether she would change or continue existing policies.

"It is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn't doing. We're getting all kinds of mixed messages," Clinton said. "I don't think we'll know the truth until we have a new president. I think [until] you can get in there and actually bore into what's been going on, you're not going to know."

Politics is politics. Spin and ambiguity are part of the game. But if you can't even take a full-throated, non-weasely position against torture and abuse of prisoners in American custody, what the hell good are you?

UPDATE: Want to know how efficient the Clinton campaign is? Twenty minutes after I posted this I got an email from Peter Daou, their internet director, telling me that Hillary hadn't been fully quoted. He promised a transcript ASAP. I didn't get one, but Peter did send one to Greg Sargent, who posted Hillary's full answer on his site:

HRC: Well I think I've been very clear about that too, we should not conduct or condone torture and it is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn't doing, we're getting all kinds of mixed messages. I don't think we'll know the truth until we have a new President. I think once you can get in there and actually bore into what's been going on, you're not going to know. I was very touched by the story you guys had on the front page the other day about the WWII interrogators. I mean it's not the same situation but it was a very clear rejection of what we think we know about what is going on right now but I want to know everything, and so I think we have to draw a bright line and say "No torture — abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed," and then try to make sure we implement that.

Well, OK. I like the "bright line" comment, but "what we think we know about what is going on right now" isn't exactly a ringing denunciation. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we know right now.

Kevin Drum 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (98)

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Comments

Something about mammaries and boars comes to mind.

Posted by: steve duncan on October 10, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ms. Clinton handled the Monica thing well. You give her no credit for that? It was the vast right wing conspiracy that was to blame.

Posted by: mhr on October 10, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

She did OK when pumpkinhead Russert tried to pull one of his fast ones

Posted by: Mike on October 10, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The TRIANGULATOR should not be punished for TRIANGULATING.

Posted by: keith on October 10, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

if you can't even take a full-throated, non-weasely position against torture and abuse of prisoners in American custody, what the hell good are you?

Hell, authoritarian Bush Cultists like meathead republican, "ex-liberal" and the various incarnations of Al aren't shy avout taking a full-throated position in favor of torture and abuse of prisoners. Much to their shame.

Posted by: Gregory on October 10, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Just because Hillary is a slippery politician - doesn't mean that Andrew Sullivan isn't a fact-challenged cheap shot artist.

Yes Hillary consitently refuses to take a hard position on just about anything.

But Kevin's on-going need to cite Andy Sullivan on anything is pathetic. You're one of the fifth column traitors - don't you remember Kevin?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on October 10, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

As Mike pts out, HRC has made the required full-throated condemnation of torture elsewhere. It seems ridiculous to castigate her for pointing out the obvious -- that we don't know exactly how much and in what ways GWB has shit on the carpet, and until we do, we won't know exactly what we have to clean up. Looks like the MSM may be finally picking on the front-runner.

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

You're on a roll.

Next up:

"I disagree with Charles Johnson's genocidal tendencies. Nevertheless..."

"Alberto Gonzales isn't my favorite Attorney General, but...."

"Charles Manson can be a bit strident for my tastes, but when he's right...."

Posted by: A.P. Zment on October 10, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, if you want to bash HRC for something truly deserving, post on her unwillingness to join Obama and Edwards in calling for a nuke free planet.

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, "I'm going to pretend that what you really want to know is whether I'll change things rather than what my position is on the use of torture in interrogations. The answer is, I can't tell you if I'll change until I know exactly what the Bush administration is doing, which I can't know until after the election in which I am running. So please fantasize that I agree with whatever position you hold."

There is nothing in the world to prevent her from defining her position on using torture in interrogations except her desire to appear pro-torture to those who are pro-torture and to appear anti-torture to those who are anti-torture.

What a weasel-worded answer.

Posted by: cowalker on October 10, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

About the only excuse I can come up with is that she's behaving like it's already the general election (for which there are many good reasons), and as simple voting theory shows, in an electorate in which some voters may become disgusted and not vote at all, the optimum strategy is to move toward the middle and fudge your position. IOW, in the usual "race to the center," the candidate who is "all things to all people" does better than one whose positions are sharply defined.

Not that I approve...

Posted by: bleh on October 10, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary refuses to take a firm position on anything until she figures out which way the wind is blowing. And somehow she's seen as a "leader." Wake up Dems! Out with the old! In with Obama! You really want Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? That alone should disqualify Hillary.

Posted by: waka waka on October 10, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

A Hilary nomination is going to save me some money which I intend to donate to WBAI radio and other important causes both domestic and international. I can take no more of politics as usual and Hilary is the best example of that in this race. Tye Democratic party is becoming too much like the Republican party for me.

Posted by: MsComment on October 10, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'll ask you the same question I asked Andrew. What do you know that we don't? If you truly know for certain about purported "torture" then it's yours as well as my responsibility to do something about it. We would know a lot more if we spent our time and efforts exposing the Administration's approved methods. So many have tried to no avail at this point. The new Prez, as she says, will most certainly know and as she stated-" does't condone torture". Dou you really believe Hillary condones torture? Really? I don't .

Posted by: fillphil on October 10, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Clinton did not say she would reveal the truth about the kinds of 'special' interrogation techniques used to the American people if she becomes president. I think saying she will expose the torture used by the W. Bush administration if she becomes president would help her campaign. To me she is protecting the president from liberals, but Sen. Clinton probably would explain it as preserving the dignity of the office and not being vindictive.

Posted by: Brojo on October 10, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, you guys (Kevin included) really do run the gamut of conventional wisdom from A to B.

She was asked if she'd continue what Bush is doing. She said, we don't know what he's doing. Nothing unreasonable in that, since she's already condemned torture, e.g, waterboarding, elsewhere.

'Spose that Bush's guys are telling particular jihadis that there's been a global war since they got locked up, that Mecca has been destroyed, and they're just pathetic losers along with... hey, didn't you run with this crowd, in Hamburg? Or that one, in Kabul? Shame about how ol' Abdullah Muhammad turned out. Yeah, the blue eyed guy...

THINK, already. They may not be hiding waterboarding (which we already know about) but other stuff -- that may actually prove useful in getting devout Muslims who don't fear death to nevertheless give up useful information, viz., the example of how the siege of Mecca ended.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 10, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

She said that while she does not condone torture, so much has been kept secret that she would not know unless elected what other extreme measures interrogators are using, and therefore could not say whether she would change or continue existing policies.

I hope that this indirect quote is inaccurate, because it it indefensible. We know enough about what Bush is doing for any responsible, intelligent, humane, law-and-order candidate to state with conviction that he or she will not continue to violate U.S. and international law as well as civil and military ethics by torturing prisoners.

Posted by: Boolaboola on October 10, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

What part of "Bill Clinton's Wife" does Kevin not understand?

There are times when people need to be careful about what they say. Especially little people, who did not go to Yale and did not marry Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Zathras on October 10, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

But then, if it's a Democrat who gets elected, maybe that will be the point that certain things stop getting shared with the president, at least as far as some people are concerned.

Posted by: Swan on October 10, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I'll confess to ignorance here.

What do we KNOW that the Bush administration is allowing to happen, even at this date, that clearly falls under the heading of torture?

I mean, if people are going to get on Hillary's case about this, it should be in virtue of what we know they are doing, not simply what we might speculate that they are doing, right?

I'll jump on her case here too if she's just pretending ignorance when in fact clear facts have been established. But what are those facts?

Posted by: frankly0 on October 10, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

>> Dou you really believe Hillary condones torture? Really? I don't .

Funny, that is the same defense offered up for Bush on the right. Claiming at this point that "we just don't know" what techniques are being used is beyond laughable.

Personally, I would take a stand on NOT ABUSING PRISONERS IN OUR CUSTODY, really, I would, but I'm not the President, so I can't.

This is your answer to Bush? Maybe Hillary can pick Joe Lieberman as her running mate. Wouldn't suprise me in the least, by the way.

Posted by: jim on October 10, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: if you can't even take a full-throated, non-weasely position against torture and abuse of prisoners in American custody, what the hell good are you?

None.

Which is what many of us non-friends-of-Hillary have been saying (and citing facts to support) for a long time.

Hillary or a Republican in 2008? How can you tell the difference?

Posted by: alex on October 10, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Nuance is the hemlock of the Democrats.

Posted by: Jim Strain on October 10, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with theAmericanist. She has stated she is against torture. No ifs, ands, or buts about that.

What she is saying here is that she doesn't know the levels that this administration has gone to. It's only evasive if you ignore past statements and ignore the context and details of the question. Something Kevin rarely does.

Posted by: gqmartinez on October 10, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. Read the full quote that the Wash Post didn't print at TPM.

Sounds very different. Respect the Geneva Conventions and all that.

Wow, who'd guess that the Post would take a cheap shot at the Clintons?

I'm not a Hillary fan, but boy does the DC establishment hate her.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on October 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, what makes this whole post basically wrong and therefore useless is a basic mistake of facts, and therefore all comments following it are erroneous as well, as is totlly, clearly obvious. Torture is not, as is commonly said nowadays, making someone feel like they are drowning, hitting with the hand or fist, humiliating, bad living conditions, etc. By this standard then even strangling with a length of barbed wire which would rip flesh off the throat would also then have to be considered torture. If you know anything about anything, torture is really as it is actually practiced, any of the cruel, maiming, techniques, including those employing sharp objects, as ordered by the Star Chamber and other medieval powers in medieval times, or, similar torture techniques as practiced by the ninja in ninjutsu. That is totally and fully, the total, full, length and breadth of torture, and anyone who thinks different or says different is totally a moron.

You should consider that Hillary and all of you and the Democrats would benefit a lot and know a lot more if you considered some of the basic lessons and elements of ninjutsu. These are totally secret, highly lethal theories and techniques that are only proper for the properly initiated to know, and I know all of them, which tells you what about me (that I'm a ninja). If these easy, basic, lessons were understood, would skip a lot of the arguing who-ha that goes on on a lot of these websites nowadays, but apparently a lot are too ignorant and foolish to want to begin the study that even a few basic handholds could begin to reveal.

Enough, I'm out.

[Knock this crap off, Swan.]

Posted by: Ulitmate Hayseed Commando on October 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not a Hillary fan, but boy does the DC establishment hate her.

Au contraire. The DC establishment is fully backing her, along with most of the MSM. But the MSM wants a horse race to cover, has apparently realized that they crowned her a little too early and, as I mentioned above, now need to bring her down just a bit. Thus the mis-contexted paraphrased quotes against HRC that they've been doing to Obama and Edwards the entire time.

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Basically you are all talking without even knowing what you are talking about.

[Knock this crap off, Swan.]

Posted by: Ultimate Hayseed Commando on October 10, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't agree more. I will not vote for any candidate who can't bring him/herself to take a strong stand on torture being wrong.

It sickens me that this is even an issue.

Posted by: tmv on October 10, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ulitmate Hayseed Commando: Hillary and all of you and the Democrats would benefit a lot and know a lot more if you considered some of the basic lessons and elements of ninjutsu. These are totally secret, highly lethal theories and techniques that are only proper for the properly initiated to know, and I know all of them, which tells you what about me (that I'm a ninja).

Last time that any ninja were our enemies, we find that their secret and lethal theories were of little value against nuclear weapons. We won. Case closed.

Posted by: alex on October 10, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimate Hayseed Commando: Basically you are all talking without even knowing what you are talking about.

What happened to "enough, I'm out"? I can't respect someone who doesn't keep their promises.

Posted by: alex on October 10, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

By this standard then even strangling with a length of barbed wire which would rip flesh off the throat

Such as attacks with the "chain and sickle" weapon used in ninjustsu which is not and implement of torture, but a weapon of war (just so you follow my rationale).

[Knock this crap off, Swan.]

Posted by: Ultimate Hayseed Commando on October 10, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

This pretty much sums up why I have no interest in a Hillary presidency

Posted by: Simp on October 10, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Predator v Ninja!

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I was dismayed by this, too. But Greg Sargent has more, as Kevin should discover through trackbacks.

Posted by: r. on October 10, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Last time that any ninja were our enemies, we find that their secret and lethal theories were of little value against nuclear weapons. We won. Case closed.

Then I guess you also think Gen. Erwin Rommel was a bad panzer general, which proves my point. If nuclear weapons are so powerful, why are they not being employed against the Iraqis in Iraq? When the truth is that the ninja arts of infiltration as practiced by a true ninja master could defeat the whole insurgency in a day if not in a day and a half if only used properly. Rather, ninja techniques similar to what is being practiced by the insurgent Iraqis against us keep a superior force at bay, in the true tradition and spirit of the ninja.

Idiot.

Posted by: Ultimate Hayseed Commando on October 10, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Talking Points Memo blog just put up the transcript of the interview that included parts not published:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/horsesmouth/2007/10/did_washington.php

[quote]

Q: Can I ask you a follow up? You mentioned Blackwater, you’ve said that at the beginning of your administration you’d ask the Pentagon to report. When it comes to special interrogation methods, obviously you’ve said you’re against torture, but the types of methods that are now used that aren’t technically torture but are still permitted, would you do something in your first couple days to address that, suspend some of the special interrogation methods immediately or ask for some kind of review?

HRC: Well I think I’ve been very clear about that too, we should not conduct or condone torture and it is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn’t doing, we’re getting all kinds of mixed messages. I don’t think we’ll know the truth until we have a new President. I think once you can get in there and actually bore into what’s been going on, you’re not going to know. I was very touched by the story you guys had on the front page the other day about the WWII interrogators. I mean it's not the same situation but it was a very clear rejection of what we think we know about what is going on right now but I want to know everything, and so I think we have to draw a bright line and say ‘No torture – abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed,' and then try to make sure we implement that.

[unquote]

Posted by: TK on October 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

ninja ninja ninja

Yahoo!

Blackwater USA rocks!

BTW, ninja employ more strangling techniques than anyone I know of or can think of. FYI.

[Knock this crap off, Swan.]

Posted by: Ultimate Hayseed Commando on October 10, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

But if you can't even take a full-throated, non-weasely position against torture and abuse of prisoners in American custody, what the hell good are you?

Good for not handing your enemies ammunition to use against you?

I suppose you think she wants to keep her waterboarding options open?

Posted by: Horatio Parker on October 10, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of others have already pointed out the more complete transcript available at TPM.

I'll just direct Kevin's attention to his own post, directly above this one.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 10, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly in the light of the full quote, I don't see how much of anything sticks to Hillary.

Really, when even the big gotchas don't getcha, you're running a pretty excellent campaign.

Posted by: frankly0 on October 10, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Can you sic Inkblot on Ultimate Hayseed Commando? S/He is getting a tad tiresome.

Posted by: optical weenie on October 10, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I do sort of think Kevin owes everybody a comment on the actual transcript. The WaPo, predictably, printed the nuanced stuff, in which she understandably says she doesn't know what the Bush folks are up to, but left out the "no torture" and "follow the Geneva convention" stuff.

Hillary's not my choice, but this seems a bum rap.

Posted by: David in NY on October 10, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

That moron is tiring no matter what handle it uses.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 10, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, who'd guess that the Post would take a cheap shot at the Clintons?

I'm not a Hillary fan, but boy does the DC establishment hate her.

Today's Daily Howler is about Hillary and the Wash Post.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on October 10, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

The full question and its answer pretty much exonerate Clinton, at least as far as the pro-torture charge goes. I'll be interested to see if folks like Matt and Kevin comment on the new info.

Posted by: NCProsecutor on October 10, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Reporter made a mistake; this was actually an Obama quote.
Blogosphere says, "Obama against torture but not bold enough to attack Bush admin."

Oops, it was actually an Edwards quote.
Blogosphere: "Finally, a real Democrat promises to get to the bottom of Bush's secret torture chambers."

Posted by: apm on October 10, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yo, Kevin: the full quote shows that you did her wrong. Admit it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 10, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

If you read the whole quote on the TPM site, you'll notice that Hillary unequivocally stated she would discontinue torture and abide by the Geneva Conventions. This means she would end all torture.

The remainder of her comments about wanting to know exactly what Bush is doing before she makes any specific policy promises doesn't contradict her pledge to abide by the Geneva Conventions.

Mr. Drum and Mr. Sullivan are both getting carried away here.

Posted by: Bob C on October 10, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

There is certainly a lot of anectdotal evidence that suggests executive wrongdoing at the highest levels of government on almost any issue of importance. but given this administration's maniacal penchant toward secrecy about its actions, does anyone save those inside the White House inner circle really have a firm grasp of the full extent of this administration's institutional deviancy? Unless and until Congress itself forces a confrontation over this very issue, we're hardly likely to learn much more about what's been going on than we currently know.

Therefore, I won't disagree with Sen. Hillary Clinton's rather sober assessment about the current situation, nor do I find her caution a "nauseating bit of evasion."

It's always been easy for politicians to pander to popular opinion by giving "full-throated, non-weasely" validation to whatever they perceive the public's current but always fickle desires to be -- the seriousness of the topic at hand (torture)notwithstanding. Conversely, it's never been necessarily easy nor always popular to do what is ultimately right and / or in the best long-term interests of everyone.

Sen. Clinton has already denounced, in no uncertain terms during a recent nationally-televised Democratic Party debate, the use of torture as an instrument of government policy. Really, what more do you want from her? A silly pledge, a la Sen. John McCain, to relentlessly pursue those responsible to the Gates of Hell?

I've become truly weary of the relentless political hyperbole that has enveloped our country over the past decade or more, most particularly since the onset of the Lewinsky melodrama, and I'll bet most other rational Democrats are, too. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to suffer my shorts constantly twisted -- by my own side, no less! -- over Mrs. Clinton's oft-stated refusal to be baited by a cheesy American media's emotive hypotheticals.

Thus, I will decline to take part in any Democratic circular firing squad. Rather, I would hope that we would prefer to channel our mutual anger toward more effective efforts to remove and hold accountable those manifestly reckless Republicans who have brought us to this most regrettably absurd and utterly avoidable juncture in our nation's history.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 10, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

If she came out and said, "We know that Bush is torturing people" she would get jumped on by the press and asked to offer proof which she could not do because they are operating in secret. She gave a good answer, but those bozos at the Post are trying to tank her campaign.

Posted by: Teresa on October 10, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
I think we have a pretty good idea of what we know right now.

Oh, come on Kevin. You know, there are known knowns, sure, but also unknown knowns.

But, really, I thought this line was even more priceless: "I think once you can get in there and actually bore into what's been going on, you're not going to know."

Really, though, the problem with Hillary's quote is that she spends too much time blurring things into mush in the middle of it. All she really needed to say was this:

Well I think I've been very clear about that too, we should not conduct or condone torture. It is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn't doing, we're getting all kinds of mixed messages, which is not what we should be seeing; instead we have to draw a bright line and say "No torture — abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed.

The excess verbiage weakens the message and doesn't add anything.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 10, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary's my least favorite of the Dems (although I'll vote for whatever Dem is nominated) but the Washington Post has done a number of editorial mangling of stories lately - in some cases changing the reporter's original story in an unconscionable way. I really think the wrath should be directed at the Post's editors. Hillary wasn't as concise as she should have been, but she has come out firmly against torture, and I think what she was also saying was that we need more transparency in the interrogation process.

Posted by: Diane on October 10, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

That moron is tiring no matter what handle it uses.

A statement that applies to all of Kevin's dishonest Bush Cultist trolls: "ex-liberal," Hack, "harry," the various incarnations of Al....

I sometimes wonder if honest conservatives who may kurk here are ever pained by these clowns' tacit admission -- or in "ex-liberal"'s case, proud insistence -- that the right has no honest arguments to offer.

Posted by: Gregory on October 10, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think we have a pretty good idea of what we know right now.

Then why haven't you mentioned it anywhere in this post? What do we know?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 10, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

She was answering the question, ". . . the types of methods that are now used that aren't technically torture but are still permitted, would you do something in your first couple days to address that, suspend some of the special interrogation methods immediately or ask for some kind of review?"

Posted by: JPGarland on October 10, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

A statement that applies to all of Kevin's dishonest Bush Cultist trolls: "ex-liberal," Hack, "harry," the various incarnations of Al....

Well, we may have gotten rid of "harry"; he ran after I outed him as tbrosz yesterday. I must say some of us enjoyed a hearty laugh over Tom ("I'm the only stable and rational one here") Brosz getting busted using nine sock puppets to try to back himself up in a conversation (psycho much?).

Some of these wingers are not doing well with the death throes of the Bush presidency/serious illness of the GOP. They're having a little trouble coping.

Posted by: shortstop on October 10, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I don't support Clinton for president. I'd much prefer Edwards. Nevertheless, there are some people (Drum, Kleiman, and Sullivan) who, for any number of reasons, are foaming at the mouth for excuses to drive a stake through the heart of Clinton's drive for the Democratic nomination. And they are perfectly willing to misrepresent her statements, jump to conclusions based on news reports they know are going to be filled with omissions and deceptive editing, and to express faux outrage over very reasonable statements.

And this is the perfect example.

Saying we "pretty much know" what is going on is not actually knowing what is going on.

Would Kevin have supported invading Iraq because we "pretty much know" what WMDs Saddam has?

Well, he did and he was wrong.

And he's wrong about Clinton's comment to.

"Pretty much knowing" is not a valid basis on which to draw definitive conclusions about exactly what should be kept and what should be rejected.

Posted by: anonymous on October 10, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

There needs to be a Truth Commission established in January, 2009, which will investigate and expose to bright sunlight, all the excesses of the Bush Administration. Obviously, this includes the torture paradigm, the domestic surveillance, and all the bureaucratic abuses that have occurred at DOJ and elsewhere. We need to know the details and ensure that this abuse cannot be allowed to happen again.

Posted by: clipperclp on October 10, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Kev. Might wanna check the whole transcript over at TPM's 'Horse's Mouth'. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Noam Sane on October 10, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think whenever the US resorts to military violence, a Nuremberg-like council should be automatically convened to investigate the conduct of everyone involved. This is the kind of institutional change that might prevent the next W. Bush from abusing American power.

Posted by: Brojo on October 10, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: I will decline to take part in any Democratic circular firing squad.

I have a suggestion for a campaign slogan:

Vote for Hillary - she's not quite as bad as a real Republican.

Posted by: alex on October 10, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think whenever the US resorts to military violence, a Nuremberg-like council should be automatically convened to investigate the conduct of everyone involved.

That'd be an obvious overreaction in the case of the US using military force under UNSC authorization or in response to a genuine attack, as in the US attack on the Taliban that sheltered the perpetrators of 9/11.

Besides, the US simply handing Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest of that stinking crew to the Hague -- where, since the premature of Slobodon Milosievec, they could become the first national leaders to be convicted there of war crimes -- would be deterrent enough.

And oh so satisfying to those who love justice, I might add.

Posted by: Gregory on October 10, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

UPDATE: Want to know how efficient the Clinton campaign is? Twenty minutes after I posted this I got an email from Peter Daou, their internet director, . . . —Kevin Drum

So, Daou's gone over to the Dark Side. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as my former knight in shining armor, Jay Inslee, D. WA, is heading up her campaign here.

Posted by: JeffII on October 10, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Vote for Obama - he's only slightly less arrogant and self-righteous than Bush.

Looks like anyone can play this game.


Posted by: anonymous on October 10, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, the US simply handing Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest of that stinking crew to the Hague -- where, since the premature of Slobodon Milosievec, they could become the first national leaders to be convicted there of war crimes -- would be deterrent enough.

And oh so satisfying to those who love justice, I might add. Posted by: Gregory

I agree Gregory, but can't I at least knee Shrub in the nuts, just once?

Posted by: JeffII on October 10, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Want to know how efficient the Clinton campaign is? Twenty minutes after I posted this I got an email from Peter Daou . . .

Damn those Clinton people for trying to set the record straight, thereby undermining Kevin's perfectly good argument based on an erroneous and false reading of Clinton's comments.

They should have just let Kevin have his strawman.

Posted by: anonymous on October 10, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard that The Hague is lovely in 2009.

Posted by: clipperclp on October 10, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

a genuine attack

The original attack against the Taliban in Afghanistan may have been performed without crimes being committed. If so, an investigation into that attack would exonerate. The subsequent occupation probably has not been crime free, though. I see no reason not to hold the political and military leaders that represent the nation to the same standard we held the defeated leadership of Germany after WW II. What I am searching for is an institutional way to limit the abuses of national power. Knowing all military action will be investigated for ethics and law violations may prevent some of them from occurring. Without such a domestic investigation, I do not understand how W. Bush and his henchpersons will be brought to trial in the Hague.

Posted by: Brojo on October 10, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

One more reason NOT to vote for Hillary. Good God, the Democratic Party is it's own worst enemy...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 10, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kleiman: "The CIA just announced that it would no longer do waterboading. That clearly implies that the CIA was doing waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture. If HRC can't say "No waterboarding," her "No torture" isn't worth the spit behind it."

Bush: Saddam had WMDs in 1999. Therefore, the invasion in 2003 was justified. If the opponents of the invasion of Iraq can't say "no WMDs" then their criticism isn't worth the spit behind it.

I'm glad that Kleiman and Bush finally found something to agree on - the same use of false logic to justify their attacks on the objects of their hatred.

Posted by: anonymous on October 10, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one fed up with these anonymous posts? How many people are posting under that handle, anyway? Mods!? (Don't I sound like Norman?)

It's not that I mind people posting on the QT, but I beg you, choose a catchy fake handle so we can distinguish among the herd of anonymizers.

Posted by: shortstop on October 10, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK
Besides, the US simply handing Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest of that stinking crew to the Hague -- where, since the premature of Slobodon Milosievec, they could become the first national leaders to be convicted there of war crimes -- would be deterrent enough.

The US prosecuting those involved under its own war crimes laws would be a better deterrent, and a better signal to the world. The ICC exists as a forum of last resort when individual states lack will or capacity to take care of their responsibilities to enforce the laws of war.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 10, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that the Bush administration announced in 2002, no doubt in preparation for the war crimes it by then planned to commit, that it would not participate in or cooperate with the ICC.

Posted by: shortstop on October 10, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but anybody who read even just the truncated quote in the Post and took it to mean that Hillary was waffling on torture is nuts in the head. And I'm not a big Hillary fan; I'm just tired of the unfair treatment she's getting from the left.

She was using her answer to the question to make a point about administration secrecy, for pete's sake, implying that they were hiding the techniques they were using because they were unacceptable. She's already said--and repeated in the full quote--that she's against torture.

Posted by: Swift Loris on October 10, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: Not to mention that the Bush administration announced in 2002, no doubt in preparation for the war crimes it by then planned to commit, that it would not participate in or cooperate with the ICC.

That's absurd - no one in the Bush Administration is capable of planning that far in advance.

Posted by: alex on October 10, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please.

Hillary: "[I]t is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn’t doing, we’re getting all kinds of mixed messages."

"Mixed messages?" As in "mixed" photos of hoods, dogs, human pyramids? Those mixed messages?


Moreover, here's exactly what Hillary really said to the New York Daily news last October.

Hillary: "I have said that those are very rare but if they occur, there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that. And, again, I think the president has to take some responsibility. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don't mind if it is some reporting within a top secret context. But that shouldn't be the tail that wags the dog, that should be the exception to the rule. And that if we deviate in the first instance from very disciplined interrogation methods, that are clearly lined out, and that have validation evaluation that goes forward.”


Yes, Hillary flip-flopped.

After several generals & assorted brass assured Clinton she was morally, legally, militarily bonkers (wrong).

Posted by: veritas on October 10, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Dems are forgetting how much in lock-step Bill Clinton was with Bush - "those 16 words were just a mistake" my ass, Bill Clinton KNEW Bush was lying and Bill didn't mind lying either.

Hillary is saying in one breath that she will get out of Iraq - and in the other "we'll protect our vital national interest" which means STAYING in Iraq and Hillary signs ALL of Bush's bills pretty much.

She vote FOR the bankrupcty bill before she voted against - when she knew the voters were looking. The DLC is a lying, for profit same ugly sordid control that Bushie does - for campaign contributors ONLY - a "fuck the voters" agency that Bill Clinton created and Bill pradoned Marc Rich because Hillary got a whole house of free furnishings while Bill sold out for a law library.

Hillary is just another Bush. Because, in the end, Bill Clinton saw nothing wrong with lying, saw nothing wrong in making shit up either.

Why vote for someonw WHO WILL NOT GET US out of the war in Iraq and will keep right on going with Bush's torture policies and all of Bush's lies? Hillary won't be a Bill Clinton redux - it's going to be another Bush redux the minute the Clinton's step into office. Murdock will be quite happy.

Vote for the Clinton and you'll be wondering why she never listens to voters, just like Bush never listen to them either, and you'll be wanting to impeach her six months into office - because she will NOT end the war in Iraq. You watch. Nato won't do anything for Hillary because they know, Hillary is simply the second coming of Bush. Same ugly policies, same ugly lies, same ugly greed.


Posted by: Me_again on October 10, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Q: What kind of Democrat talks like Hillary?

A: a Republican


John Edwards for President -- Real Leadership!

Posted by: MarkH on October 10, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

You can't get so down on Hillary that she's fuzzy on torture. In fearful, cowardly, Southern-infused, Me Generation America, many Americans like torture. She, and any other reasonable politician, has to let this fearful, vicious element of America think she might be on their side. If she gets enough of the votes of the fearful and vicious, she can get in office and implement reforms.

The problem with current discourse is that people don't seem to realize that the America that won WWII and built a middle class has been overwhelmed by a Southern, fearful, vicious, submissive clan that is wholly opposed to the best ideals of America.

The Greatest Generation is dead. The Me Generation is in control. The Democrats carry the flag of the Greatest Generation, even if they wobble in trying to hold it high. But they are the only hope for the best of America.

It is stupid to scold Hillary for a certain vagueness on torture when the Me Generation Republicans all are screaming in favor of torture.

Posted by: McCord on October 10, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Torture by the US military and the CIA is clearly sporadic and/or used only in very extraordinary cicumstances such as when a 'Top Ten' terrorist is caught. Had the Oval Office the support of the military and the CIA on this issue there would have been a parade of generals and CIA officials supporting the policy. The Oval Office tried and tried and tried to establish torture as US policy, that effectively the US was a nation that tortures to torture. Press briefings by Dana Perino show that the US military and the CIA have stopped offering information to the Oval Office on this issue. Dane Perino gives no information because the Oval Office is offered no information by the US military and CIA. The Oval Office has to ask appropriate questions or guess what is going on.

Posted by: zed on October 11, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

alex: "Vote for Hillary - she's not quite as bad as a real Republican."

Thank you for underscoring my earlier point about gratuitous political hyperbole. But all snarkiness aside, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Mrs. Clinton, as I -- who supported Jerry Brown in '92 -- was by her husband once he took office.

I'm going to support John Edwards in the primaries, but I'm quite sober about his prospects at this point, and in that regard I certainly don't fear Hillary.

In fact, I do hope she would be magnanimous in victory, and consider Edwards for Attorney General. He's the kind of person the Justice Department so desperately needs right now in the top spot. I'd also hope she'll consider Bill Richardson for Secretary of State, and perhaps even Dennis Kucinich as UN Ambassador.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 11, 2007 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

Both Kevin and Andrew seem to get their kicks by kicking Hillary. Their default position is set in attack mode and their contempt is obvious. Even a complete transcript does not convince them, such is their certitude. It has now become a predictable act and does them no good. It calls into question their intellectual honesty and their display of an open prejudice.

Posted by: Alan on October 11, 2007 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

GET REAL...are you so rabidly "left" or "liberal" that you can't understand the reality of "thinking that we know what we think we know is going on"...of course HRC is completely correct (as has been every thinking candidate for the presidency in the past) in saying that until one is fully briefed on what is ACTUALLY GOING ON one cannot continue with these hypotheticals! Any candidate today that has had to deal with the "GOTCHA" mentality of media/bloggers when commenting on every remark they have made would be NUTS not to be a bit vague and careful about PROMISING things that will come back to bite them. The behaviors and policies of this administration have so muddied the waters of discourse in America that there is no longer any TRUTH or clearly defined position that can be defended...EVERYTHING is up for attack...

Posted by: Dancer on October 11, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

There is something odd about the way people from all sides react to Senator Clinton. I think it's cuz she's a grown up in a largely infantile biz.

Mark Shields makes a good point that many folks forget: candidates have earned respect, just by being candidates. You can't have a democracy without 'em. It's easy to overdo, but it IS a noble self-sacrifice to simply say "Look at who I am and what I've done because I am asking for your vote".

And Lord, how we make 'em pay for it.

For all the incredible suspicion focused on Senator Clinton for every sin in the calendar, it's difficult to look at pretty much anything she's ever done and not conclude that shes' basically a grownup: from 'scandals' like Whitewater, the cattle futures, the billing records, the travel office, to policy disputes like health care or the obviously unfair treatment Kevin gave her cuz the Post quoted her selectively, like that's HER fault.

Even the worst scandal attached to her, Lewinsky+, is frankly a sign that she's a real person in a real marriage -- who really loves her flawed husband, and is really making it work.

Yet I didn't see word one from Kevin about Clinton's ballsy move to defend marriage in the immigration debate in the Senate.

Not. One. Word.

Folks who write about politics for a living oughta remember that Gresham's Law applies to THEM, too: if you don't want so much bullshit in the biz, stop producing it. If you don't want our elections to be about bogus symbols and gotcha! quotes, stop focusing on 'em.

If you want us to elect a grown up, ACT like it. I bet if you looked for it, Senator Clinton's candidacy is not the only grown up politics out there -- but the more you try to make being a grown up a political liability (and why not pick on the front runner for it? I mean, what ELSE ya got?), the less of it you will see if only cuz you're not looking for it, now are you?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, do you think this kind of thing has ever happened before with regard to Hillary? Does it kind of make you wonder if our view of her has been shaped and manipulated just a teeny bit by what reporters and editors have chosen to include and leave out over the years? Does that moment of doubt ever sneak into your consciousness that maybe the persona of Hillary that we treat as consensus reality might be a little bit the creation of a mainstream media that decided fifteen years ago that they did not like her and that she might be a force to be reckoned with in the future?

Hillary triangulates just like a real politician. Does she do it more than the people she is competing against? Hard to say, isn’t it, when you start to wonder if the stream of “news” about her that we have consumed over the years might have been shaped by the same brand of editorial judgment displayed here in the Washington Post? Drip, drip, drip…

Maybe you don’t trust her. Maybe you have a special distrust for her beyond the skepticism you should, of course, have for any politician. Are you still so confident about the origins of those particular, strong, negative feelings about Hillary?

Posted by: jedermann on October 11, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Sullivan, Drum, and Kleiman suffer from Hillary Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: anonymous on October 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's curious to me that Samuel Knight can read the full quote and amend his response accordingly, but so many commenters cannot.

Posted by: jackohearts on October 11, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Reporters from the supposedly liberal Washington Post selectively edit quotes, and, surprise surprise, bloggers get lathered up by the edited quotes. Skepticism is the first requirement for being a media observer.
Every candidate in the Democratic field is far better for the country than any candidate in the Republican side.

Posted by: Mike on October 11, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

jackohearts: It's curious to me that Samuel Knight can read the full quote and amend his response accordingly, but so many commenters cannot.

It is hardly surprising that people who have proclaimed Gore to be Republican-lite would do the same with respect to Clinton.

Self-righteous partisans who demand absolute loyalty to a narrow set of idealized political principles are not found only within the GOP.

Which is why Gore lost in 2000. Because those same self-righteous partisans proclaimed him to be GOP-lite and voted for Nader or stayed home.

Demands for ideological purity have a cost and that cost is in the hundreds of billions of dollars and countless American and Iraqi lives.

And the cost has been imposed by both right and left wing ideologues who support arrogant, self-centered elitists who demand personal loyalty and no deviation from their self-proclaimed "correct" values.

Posted by: anonymous on October 11, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is getting ridiculous. anonymous at 1:07, just sign your real handle if you're going to repost your previous comments more or less word for word. Christamighty.

Posted by: shortstop on October 11, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: This is getting ridiculous. anonymous at 1:07, just sign your real handle if you're going to repost your previous comments more or less word for word. Christamighty.

If my posts are "word for word" then surely your 10/10 6:24 PM and 10/11 1:10 PM posts are also "word for word" and "anonymous" is every bit my "real handle" as "shortstop" is yours.

However, if you prefer, just call me "Independent-Minded Texas Who Thinks Nader Is A Doofus And That Anti-Hillary Dems Are Going To Blow The 2008 Election Just Like They Blew The 2000 And 2004 Elections And Give Us Guiliani As President Just Like They Gave Us Bush After Which They Will Vociferously Proclaim That He's No Worse Than Hillary Would Have Been In Order To Defend Their Stupidity".

I don't believe any other anonymous is using "nunyabiz@nunyabiz.com" so if that isn't a clue maybe I can come up with something like "centerfielder" that would suit your sensibilities.

Posted by: anonymous on October 11, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

just call me Independent-Minded Texas

Wow, you're everyone in Texas who's independent-minded?

As for the rest of it, I stand corrected. You apparently are anonymous full time. It does get hard to tell who's permanently anonymous and who's momentarily anonymous, but I will refrain from even trying in future, and thus will abstain from commenting about it as well.

Posted by: shortstop on October 11, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Boy is this fun.

THe Post writers and or editors left out a key part of what HRC said. They are the ones who should be taken task. Kevin Drum and oters need to do a little research before slamming a candidate as well.

Liberals have to learn how to respond to what are in effect attacks by the media and take the papers to task. The Post and others have been slimming Democrats for at least 20 years. It is time to fight back and let them have it and lighten up on each other.

Posted by: BabaCambridge on October 11, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think the answer within 20 minutes is brilliant and hope the other Demo candidates are doing the same. How else to keep from getting gored this time around?

Posted by: Rebecca on October 11, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Just wish that mr. duncan would do some proper reporting and post what she said and let us be the judge if was vague about special interrogation methods used by the CIA. Which it was not.

Posted by: Allen Stepro on October 11, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton doesn't know what the administration is doing because she doesn't want to know. The leading light of the Democratic party has spent zero time or effort attempting to uncover the administration's abuses and put them to an end. Iraq, FISA, torture - the answer is always the same - elect me and I will do something about this. Meanwhile more people are killed, spied on and tortured.
Triangulation does not equal leadership.

Posted by: get back to me in 2009 on October 12, 2007 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton doesn't know what the administration is doing because she doesn't want to know.

Riding a crest in her political appeal, Senator Hillary Clinton now leads former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani 48% to 41%. She also claims a stunning double-digit lead of 52% to 37% over former Senator Fred Thompson.

You gotta get elected before you can do something, unless you have some plan to get around the filibuster and veto, which you don't.

Clinton seems to be dong a better job at getting elected than Gore or Kerry did, so why not quit your moping, your disingenuous and pathetic attempts to undermine Clinton, and your counterproductive whining, which will mostly (like Nader supporters did to Gore in 2000) prevent a Democrat from winning the White House in 2008 and end up giving us 8 years of Guiliani, Romney, or Thompson, all of which would be worse (despite the fevered rantings of Clinton haters) than a Clinton presidency.

Posted by: anonymous on October 12, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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