The media have had great fun asking the Republican presidential candidates whether they would have gone to war in Iraq had they known there were no weapons of mass destruction. Whenever the media can corner Hillary Clinton, they might ask some what-if questions:
▪ If you had known the Islamic State would rush in, would you have negotiated the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, or would you have insisted on a stay-behind force of the type the military recommended?
▪ If you knew how it would affect public perception of your honesty, would you have wiped the server at your home clean?
▪ If you knew Russia would invade Ukraine, would you have embarked on a Russian “reset”?
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▪ If you knew the Clinton Foundation would come under scrutiny, would you have accepted donations from countries that abuse women?
▪ If you knew that 200,000 people would be murdered, that millions would become refugees and that the Islamic State would take root in Syria, would you have pushed harder for early action against Syrian President Bashar Assad?
▪ If you knew Assad would keep using chemical weapons and Iran would be emboldened by the president’s refusal to enforce the red line, would you have cheered the president when he walked away from the red line?
▪ If you knew how hostile U.S.-Israel relations would become, would you have condemned Israel for settlement activity? Would you have ambushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the 1967 “borders” issue?
▪ If you knew how much the president would give away at the Iran negotiating table, would you have applauded the Joint Plan of Action? Opposed sanctions? Spoken out about the necessity of stripping Iran of its nuclear infrastructure?
▪ If you knew sequester would be used, would you have warned the president not to sign the 2011 Budget Control Act?
▪ If you knew the race-based violence that would occur, would you have called for criminal justice reforms years ago?
▪ If you knew how successful the Iraq surge would be, would you have opposed it?
▪ If you knew the political furor it would create, would you have corrected the record immediately after then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV appearances about the role the anti-Muslim video played in the attacks on our facility in Benghazi, Libya? Mentioned the video at the service greeting the caskets of slain Americans? Allowed yourself to be questioned by the Accountability Review Board?
You see that there are plenty of probing questions for Clinton that would highlight the many rotten judgments she made over the past seven years. Moreover, whereas virtually all intelligence agencies and members of the Senate (including her) believed there were WMDs in Iraq at the time we decided to go to war in 2003, the errors Clinton made were far worse and the outcomes far more predictable. At the time she made her calls, many people were warning of the obvious results (such as that the Islamic State would fill the vacuum in Iraq) and yet, time and again, she made the wrong call.
Perhaps the better question is for Democrats: If they knew what a terrible candidate she would be and how untrustworthy she would seem to voters, would they have tried harder to persuade other capable candidates to run?
Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post.