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Clinton on the Surge: "It's Working"

3:08 PM, Aug 20, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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The Veterans of Foreign Wars is holding its 108th annual convention in Kansas City this week. Senators Clinton, McCain, Obama, and Thompson will be addressing the group today and tomorrow. With both Democratic contenders opposing the new Baghdad security plan, and its accompanying surge of forces, while instead supporting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, it's not surprising that "McCain received a warmer reception, and louder applause during his remarks," according to the AP. On the other hand, the Iraq portion of Hillary's speech was met with "silence."

This might be because the organization backs the troop surge, which they argue is producing results, as evidenced by the statement from the VFW commander-in-chief upon his recent return from a visit to Iraq:

"Everybody I spoke to over there felt the surge was working, that we have the right strategy," said Gary Kurpius, the VFW's commander in chief, who recently returned from Iraq. "Everyone from the top man down ... said if there's one message to bring back, it is to let Congress and the American public know we want to be successful over here. We are making progress. Give us enough time to finish the job."

But Clinton also acknowledged that the surge had produced some results: ''It's working. We're just years too late in changing our tactics...We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war.'' And then she told the crowd that "the best way of honoring their [those currently serving in Iraq] service is by beginning to bring them home and making sure that when they come home, that we have everything ready for them."

Maybe it was the dissonance between her statement that the surge was working and her subsequent call for withdrawal that left the crowd silent...and confused. But either way, it's good to see that Hillary is aware of the recent military progress in Iraq, even if she's pandering to her party's base in the same breadth.