(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said more Republicans need to join Democrats to force the Bush administration to bring an end to the war in Iraq, saying she was called "unpatriotic" for demanding the Pentagon prepare for an eventual withdrawal.
Clinton was asked whether Democrats had not used their majorities in Congress to order the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the 4-year-old war in order to avoid blame for an American defeat. The New York senator and former first lady said Democrats have "tried repeatedly" to win Republican support for setting a timeline for withdrawal, only to see GOP senators block the efforts in the Senate.
"In fact," she continued, "I asked the Pentagon a simple question. 'Have you prepared for withdrawing our troops?' In repsonse, I got a letter accusing me of being unpatriotic, that I shouldn't be asking questions. Well, one of the problems is that there are a lot of questions that we are asking but we're not getting answers from the Bush administration."
The letter, from Undesecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, told Clinton that "Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq." The senator, who has been criticized by Democratic activists for voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq in the first place, has used to controversy to engage in a high-profile fight over the war with the Bush administration.
She added, "It's time for the Republicans to join us in standing up to the president to bring our troops home."
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch