Doubtless General David Petraeus has more pressing things on his mind this week, but one imagines he must have indulged in some gleeful reflection upon hearing about Hillary Clinton’s Bosnian adventure.
He more than most. For it was Hillary Clinton, among all her colleagues, who dared to insinuate that General Petraeus was lying in his September 11, 2007 testimony before Congress about the progress of the troop surge. After he gave an up-to-date assessment of the situation in Iraq, Hillary said that his version of the military and political dynamic required “a willing suspension of disbelief.” Who would stoop so low as to lie to the country about their experience in a war zone!
There are at least two reasons that Hillary was the only person to challenge Petraeus in such an undignified way that day, and we can see evidence for both of them in her Bosnian fantasy. The Clintons assume that every person in a position of power lies as naturally as they do. So, when the Lewinsky scandal broke it was a web of lies, when the Iraq War got tough that was because George Bush lied her into voting for it, and when Petraeus offered his inconvenient truth that too was, naturally, a lie.
The other aspect of the Clinton M.O. that links her shoddy treatment of General Petraeus to her outlandish story about Bosnia is an irresistible impulse to gild the lily. The Clintons don’t leave well enough alone. For Bill in November 2007 it wasn’t enough to tell a crowd of Iowa supporters that he opposes the Iraq War like most other Democrats these days. Here’s how far he had to take it: “Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers,” he said, and added that he “should not have gotten” the tax cuts that deprived our fighting men and women of what they needed. A threefer!
Similarly, when the question of drivers licenses for illegals came up in the Hollywood debate against Barack Obama, Hillary said she had decided to “try to support my governor despite my personal opposition[.]” Why take one position when you can take both?
So when everyone else in Congress treated General Petraeus’s report with respectful opposition, she went whole hog and called him a liar. And instead of pointing out that she, unlike Obama, had met with dignitaries in a cooling war zone, she figured what the heck and threw some bullets in to bolster her image. And once busted, she and her husband never cut bait and say, “You got me.” No: that’s when the parsing begins and the dictionaries come off the shelf.
The situation in Iraq is too serious for General Petraeus to worry much about Snipergate. But it would be nice if he had a moment to himself during which he could smile about the fabulations of the Senator who accused him of telling lies.