'Irraqtional' Exuberance?

Yesterday brought high drama to Capitol Hill, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reluctantly appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) asked him why anyone should trust his remarks on the situation in Iraq, given his previous, "unfulfilled" assessments.

Rumsfeld responded this way:

"Senator, I don't think that's true. I have never painted a rosy picture. I've been very measured in my words. And you'd have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I've been excessively optimistic."

Clinton promised to submit "rosy" statements on Iraq into the record — and because we here at Mixed Signals didn't have a "dickens of a time" to spend looking for them, we asked Clinton's press secretary for the ones she meant, with citations. Among the highlights:

· "The level of support from the international community is growing" (June 2005)

· "The Iraqi security forces could, for the most part, deal with the problems that exist." (March 2006)

· "We do not expect to have 115,000 troops permanently deployed in any one campaign." (February 2004)

· "We know where [the WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." (March 30, 2003)

It's worth reading these for yourselves to make your own judgment on whether Rumsfeld was "excessively optimistic" — and it's also worth noting Clinton is running for re-election this fall in New York, a liberal state — and is also preparing for a likely bid for the Democratic nomination for president in two years.

Rumsfeld statements after the jump...

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