Time Magazine political columnist Joe Klein recently called Hillary Clinton the most knowledgable Democrat when it comes to national security.
He's probably right.
He noted that when asked how she would disengage from Iraq, Sen. Clinton "gave a precise, nuanced and up-to-the-minute answer." As Klein paraphrased it, Hillary would "withdraw the troops from the areas of sectarian conflict like Bahgdad, keep a small force fighting al-Qaeda in al-Anbar province, move some troops to the Turkish border, protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and other civilian facilities, maintain a special operations capability" and perhaps leave some forces for training "if there seems a chance this Iraqi government will get any better."
We think that's about right. As we've said before, we favor starting a drawdown of forces immediately, and we oppose getting in the middle of an Iraqi civil war. But we don't think the U.S. can get completely out of Iraq for a number of years, unfortunately. What we can do is get to something more like our presence in Afghanistan.
We respect Hillary for not simply pandering to the Democratic left wing "completely out of Iraq now, regardless of the cost" mentality.
We're also encouraged that head-to-head polls of Sen. Clinton and Barack Obama against Guiliani and McCain are now favoring the Democratic candidates.