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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

"Failing to prepare is preparation for failure."

-- John Wooden, Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach

One of the favorite right wing taking points spewed to defend and define the problems with the Iraq War is that "we made mistakes," immediately followed by "but mistakes are made in every war." But it wasn't Bush Administration mistakes that opened the door for far more deaths and a whopper of a money pit thousands of miles away. It was the failure to prepare for the aftermath of the invasion that set up the bloody debacle.

Most egregious, is that Bush and the boys failed to plan for the insurgency. That wasn't a mistake. That was homicidal irresponsibility. The right-wing echo chamber has attempted to exonerate Bush's decision to go to war based on misinformation by offering a litany of names, including Bill Clinton, who believed Saddam harbored WMD. But Clinton never took the country to war over the information. Bush did. That wasn't a mistake. That was a tragic misjudgment and mismanagement of gargantuan proportions.

Now as we look back over the Hillary Clinton failed presidential run that was to be a slam dunk, it becomes obvious that the same candidate who joined a minority of Democrats in giving the inept Bush administration the key to one deadly gas-guzzling Hummer of a war, learned nothing from her misguided vote. And while failure may not in itself be a sin, ignoring the lessons of that failure, sadly only paves the way for more failures.

Worse, it wastes the opportunities for what could have been.

In this battle for the White House, John Wooden could have seen it coming. Not Hillary.

She failed to plan for Obama.

Hillary's campaign was built on the base of predetermined success. Mission Accomplished declared with far more hostilities left to deal with. She underestimated the political machine Obama assembled and the new voters it would bring to the fight.

She expected Democratic electorate would greet her as a liberator from eight years of oppression under the Bush regime and would throw votes at her feet. Fundraising would be a cinch. Why with her insurmountable clout the campaign might end up paying for itself. All she need do was enter the fray and she would win. Why plan for a post-Super Tuesday? Why truly define the rationale for the run.

And in making her move, she didn't place near enough troops on the ground in Iowa. When she finally did send in more they didn't have near enough armor to protect them from the Obama insurgency

Her now infamous 16 words "My husband did not wrap up the nomination until he won the California primary in June," wouldn't have been all that bad if she didn't feel it necessary to follow it up with another 16 words..."We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June of '68 right after the California primary."

This isn't to say that her 16 words, "In Bosnia we ran to our vehicles with our heads down to avoid the sniper fire," was any better. You would think someone on her staff would have learned that it just might be a good idea for her to start using less words.

Hillary's intelligence failure was supplied by her generals on the ground -- McCauliffe, Penn, Wolfson, Rendell -- but for the curve balls they served up it might as well been Ahmed Chalabi doing the pitching, for no matter what she threw, Obama hit it out of the park.

The point is that she had plenty of time to learn from the mistakes, but she chose not to reassess and adapt, which is what a good leader does.

Clearly, one who does not learn from history is bound to repeat it.

And that is a failure with no success in sight.

Unfortunately, for Hillary, she didn't have the benefit of four years to come up with a surge.

Award-winning television writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (, Steve Young, is a former talk show host, writes ad finitum on talk radio. His "All The News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday (

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Albion Monitor   June 6, 2008   (

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