After speaking to the U.N. General Assembly meeting of 2006, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq found himself in a room with President Bush and former President Clinton. He embraced them both. "Thank you," he said to Clinton, "for signing the law that called for the liberation of Iraq. And thank you, Mr. Bush, for being the one to implement it." To rat on this would be one thing if you were, say, a Dennis Kucinich fan who had opposed all engagement with Iraq from the beginning. But for Sen. Clinton to do so would be a bit more than just re-ratting. It would be more like ratting pure and simple.
At stake, then, is not just the credibility of an ambitious New York senator who wants to be the next President Clinton. At stake, rather, is the integrity of the last President Clinton and of those in his administration who concluded that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was neither desirable nor possible. If the subject was less important, it might be amusing to watch Hillary Clinton trying to "triangulate" her way out of this and find a way of impugning the Bush policy that did not also impugn her husband's own consistent strategy. But the thing cannot be done and can't really even be attempted without raising the suspicion that a major candidate for the office of the presidency is, on the main issue of the day, not just highly unprincipled but also completely unserious.