August 22nd, 2007
07:50 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton: It's time for Maliki to go

Clinton called for the removal of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House frontrunner Hillary Clinton called for the ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday afternoon, hours after President Bush expressed confidence in the embattled leader.

"The Iraqi government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders," the New York senator said in a statement given exclusively to CNN’s Jessica Yellin.

Clinton went on to say she "hope[s] that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks."

Clinton's comments come two days after Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, recently returned from Iraq, said he had lost confidence in the al-Maliki government. Levin is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Clinton also has a seat on the panel.

But President Bush expressed confidence in the Iraqi leader during a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention earlier Wednesday.

"Prime Minister Maliki's a good guy, good man with a difficult job and I support him," he said. “And it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position.”

Clinton, who came under fire from some of her Democratic White House rivals earlier in the week for saying the surge policy was "working" in some areas, also reaffirmed her position that there is "not a military solution in Iraq."

"Progress will only come from political reconciliation and compromise from the Iraqis themselves," she said in the statement. "Given that reality, the President’s escalation strategy is not succeeding."

TIME.com: After Maliki, Few Good Alternatives

– CNN's Jessica Yellin and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • President Bush
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Jonathan, Pittsburgh, PA : August 23, 2007 8:04 am

    Since you say "proof" of her lying, manipulating and pandering is never shown, read below from a speech in December of 2003:

    After the capture of Saddam Hussein, the senator from New York laid out her own views on Iraq, in speeches and in interviews. She articulated sharp criticisms of the Bush administration while staking out an unapologetically hawkish position on Iraq.

    "I was thrilled that Saddam Hussein had finally been captured," she said in a Monday speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "Like many of you, I was glued to the television and the radio as I went about my daily business. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our troops, to the president, to our intelligence services, to all who had a hand in apprehending Saddam. Now he will be brought to justice, and we hope that the prospects for peace and stability in Iraq will improve." Clinton made four key points: She doesn't regret voting to authorize the president to go to war; she's "delighted" that Saddam Hussein was captured; American troops should stay in Iraq for as long as they're needed, and at higher levels than present, if necessary; and the postwar fight to secure Iraq is crucial.

    August 23, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. David, Salinas, CA

    The conflict here isn’t between left and right, or between honesty and hypocrisy. It’s between simple and complex, or even worse between pre-digested sound bites and nuanced solutions. There are adherents of both on either side of the aisle.

    President Bush has a nice simple message: Stay the course. Three words. Easy to remember. All the Republican candidates seem to agree with this position.

    There’s a simple version from the anti-war crowd, too: Bring the troops home. Four words. Simple. Several of the more left-leaning Democrats are sticking to this sound bite.

    The problem with the first course is that it isn’t working, and the problem with the second is that it won’t work. Honest members of both parties have positions of far more subtlety. Sound bites don’t solve problems, statesmanship does. I will defend Senator Clinton on the charge that her position has been inconsistent. It hasn’t. It’s just too complicated to stuff into a slogan.

    Tom of Dedham, Mass (a worthy adversary) criticizes Senator Clinton on four points, and since I agree with her on all of them, I’ll defend them one by one:

    1) “She doesn't regret voting to authorize the president to go to war”
    Right. She didn’t encourage Bush to go to war. In fact she said it was a bad idea. (Read the speech). She voted to give the President a tool to use against an enemy. That Bush completely misused that tool is not her fault. Bush bungled the war, not Clinton.

    2) “she's "delighted" that Saddam Hussein was captured”
    As am I. As are all freedom-loving people. But that doesn’t mean it was worth thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and the turmoil in Iraq right now. There were better ways of dealing with Saddam than this madness.

    3) “American troops should stay in Iraq for as long as they're needed”
    Right. We shouldn’t have gone to war, but we did. It’s (partially) our mess and we need to help clean it up. They’re our troops and we need to support them.

    4) “and the postwar fight to secure Iraq is crucial.”
    See #3. We shouldn’t be an occupying force, but we can’t just pretend we didn’t invade. If we let Iraq disintegrate into total civil war the world will blame us forever. We need to get out, but we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

    It’s easy to shout simple slogans. It’s harder to offer real world solutions. I think Senator Clinton is trying to do the latter. I think Senator Obama is, too. Frankly, at this point I think Senator Biden has the best plan in his concept of soft-partitions in a federated Iraq and I encourage you all to look at his ideas, but you can see how far his subtle complexity has taken him in fund-raising and the polls.
    Senator Clinton has enough political skills to know she’d be better off just trashing the Bush administration and calling for total withdrawal. That she hasn’t done so isn’t hypocrisy, it is political courage. She hasn’t flipped positions. She’s refused to reduce a complex issue to a simple sound bite, and sadly she’s paying a price for doing so. Senator Clinton is being subtle for the good of the nation. I hope it doesn’t cost her the Presidency.

    August 23, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. ReadBtwthlins

    So now Hillary is advocating overthrowing another Iraqi government? A democratically elected government this time??

    August 23, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Correction David, I am critical of her on this, but the distiction is that they are not my words, but hers.

    August 23, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Tom Dedham, Mass

    David, my opinion is critical of her words, but the words themselves are owned by her.

    You are not justifying or contradicting those words as being my thoughts, as they were wholly hers.

    August 23, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Reply Tom Dedham Mass.

    You commented:

    "Since you say "proof" of her lying, manipulating and pandering is never shown, read below from a speech in December of 2003:"

    I appreciate your time in posting Senator Clinton's Speech. I hadn't heard it and didn't have the opportunity to read it previously.

    I do see this issue through another window however. And that is, I believe every politician and every citizen would have a very different view of any situation over the course of a four year period. And given the issue at hand is a Very Complex and Controversial War, situational changes take place at a very fast and steady pace. And assessments of the situation change accordingly.

    Therefore I really don't believe it is fair to expect that an experienced politician would hold the same view on an issue four years later. In fact, if they did wouldn't we be criticizing that politician's credibility and leadership? And wouldn't we be suggesting that they should be re-evaluating the situation on a day to day basis or at least on a more current level?

    August 24, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  7. sonya, atlanta, ga

    HRC being subtle. She just said a leader of a democratic country should be overthrown. Malki responded by saying he doesn't need the us he has other friends (ie Iran). She called Obama naive for his remarks on Pakistan. By her standards she is also engaging in further destablization of Iraqi. My problem with HRC is her excuse for authorizing Bush to go to war. She didn't know he was planning on going to war. How stupid does she think Americans are? And how stupid was she to think that Bush wasn't planning an invasion. This woman is twisted.

    August 24, 2007 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  8. Mary, Beaver, PA

    There are 1,000 opinions regarding Iraq, and Clinton has all of them (depending upon who the audience is).

    August 24, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. C, Sacramento, CA

    To David, Salinas, CA

    I have read most of your blogs and tend to agree with most.

    Regarding your latest, I disagree with #3.

    To stay in Iraq "as long as needed" seems open-ended and infinite. Unforunately we don't have an infinite # of troops. How will we (America) recognize the end game and know when the "war" is over?

    August 24, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Tom Dedham, Mass

    David, those are not my opinions that you are pointing out and supposedly correcting, but your candidates ACTUAL WORDS and THOUGHTS.

    What is this, Rosie and Lizzy all over again?

    Hillary says one thing 4 years ago to seem tough and because of the political climate at the time, and others 4 years later are spinning her words like she said something else.

    Since I am part of the right wing conpiracy, I will remind all of you nostalgic Clintonistas that every word and DEED she has uttered and done will be used in ads against her.

    Looking forward to it.

    August 24, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Mary, Beaver, PA

    There are millions of people around the Globe who believe the world is going to – in a Handbasket.
    And no matter who the audience is the majority all give credit to the Republican party.

    August 24, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Sean, Richmond VA

    What is the "Malkik government?" In order to have a government you must govern. Why are our troops in the street dying while the parliment takes a vacation, without passing any meaningful legislation? Why does Maliki support the shiite militias, who actively seek to kill American troops? Why did Maliki visit Iran, when he can't even bring himself to Visit Fallujah.

    I'm sorry if people feel that we shouldn't meddle in the Iraqi "government", but we need to if we ever want a stable Iraq. The man is anti-sunni, and pro-militia. His military officials are corrupt, and stuck in their ways, and I have yet to speak to an Iraqi citizen of any sect who thinks he is doing a good job.

    September 2, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  13. whosewho, san francisco, california

    This is funny -we say give 'em democracy over there, and them we say, well ... so and so is not doing what we want, so we must undermine them.

    Who do we think we are?

    September 3, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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