March 19th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton: 'We will not protect' Iraqis without political progress

 Clinton marked the 5 year anniversary of Iraq Wednesday.
Clinton marked the 5 year anniversary of Iraq Wednesday.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) – On the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, Hillary Clinton re-emphasized her plan to withdraw U.S. forces from the country and said “we won’t protect” the Iraqis if the their government fails to make meaningful political progress.

The New York senator was asked by an audience member here, on her first campaign stop in West Virginia, about her strategy to end the war.

Clinton explained that her three-part plan begins with finding the best way, in consultation with top military advisers, to withdraw American troops in 60 days. Iraq’s future, she said, should be up to Iraq’s political leaders.

“The Iraqis have not done what they had to do to secure their own future,” she said. “And I have said I don’t believe our men and women should stay there to fight their civil war.”

“So we will start bringing them home and we will tell Iraqis the ball is in their court,” she continued. “Now, we will help them, we will support them, but we will not protect them if they refuse to do what we want them to do.”

Clinton said that she is “of course” worried that Iraq could disintegrate if U.S. forces withdraw, but stated: “If the Iraqis are not ready to take responsibility for themselves, it’s not going to make a difference.”

A strong diplomatic effort in the region is also required to bolster Iraqi security, she told the audience.

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Veterans for Obama

    If you love this country and support our troops Vote for OBAMA.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. hiitsme

    GO HILLARY YOU THE HOPE ,THE LIGHT, THE LEADER,
    THAT OUR NATION NEED IN THIS TIME.
    WE ARE WITH YOU

    GGGOOOOOOOOOOOO HILLARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY

    March 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. AJ, IL

    Tough talk but empty talk.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Kate

    Finally, some productive plans to bring our troops home. I understand that we can't pull everyone out at once but the truth is that if the Iraqi people don't want our help, what more can we do to help them?

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Belle

    Sometimes to get "change" you have to be tough, and hold to your principles.

    Kind of like not letting kids watch television or have their cell phones if they don't clean their room. Once the Iraqi leaders SEE a President is SERIOUS about troop withdrawal...it will prod them into making a stance for freedom.

    America HAD to go through a Civil War...Perhaps Iraq may have to as well.

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Geoff Smith

    It's time for Hillary to GO HOME!!!
    She can't win (look at the numbers) and she's only helping the Republicans at this point. I've always been a big fan of Ms. Clinton, but her arrogance and thirst for power is becoming more and more evident by the day.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Amy in Iowa

    Hillary called herself today the most transparent candidate. Does she mean we can see through her lies?

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Belle

    PS
    Where is all that "OIL" revenue President Bush said WOULD PAY for the war, by the way?

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Sara

    Just brillant, Clinton. You know nothing about military affairs.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Jay

    Hillary is our only Hope!!! Wake up America!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Jon, PA

    "...we will not protect them if they refuse to do what we want them to do.”

    That's awesome. Why not just fax a picture of your middle finger with the American flag behind it to their entire country?

    I'm no fan of this war either, but saying- do what we want you to do or, essentially, go die in a fire- is not the way to conduct foreign policy. No wonder the rest of the world laughs at us.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Ellie

    HA! HA! Protect who?

    Sen. Clinton, you couldn't even keep Billy boy from cheating on you repeatedly, how are you going to protect this country? Are you serious?

    It really comes down to basic common sense. If YOU are unable to manage your household, YOU certainly can't expect Americans to believe that you can manage the WHITE HOUSE!!!!

    I'm sorry. It's time people start dealing with common sense and stop believing all this nonsense and hype that the Clinton camp keeps dishing out. Shameful.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Vincent

    she voted for war

    March 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. TheLeftNut

    How about this instead, stupid:

    "We will no longer sacrifice the blood and bone of our brave men and women of the US Military in order to babysit a unresponsive, dysfunctional government."

    March 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Nathan

    This is an incredibly foolish and irresponsible position to take. Senator Clinton "won't protect Iraqis"??? Does that mean she is comfortable with genocide taking place? Does that mean that after she enable Bush to invade and occupy their country illegally, and after we installed a government of exiled crooks and criminals, that we have no responsibiliy to the civilians of Iraq whose lives we have ruined?
    And then she has the audacity to say, "we will not protect them id they refuse to do what WE want THEM to do". ANd here I thought Iraq was an independent nation!
    Shame on you Senator Clinton. You voted to authorize a war that destroyed the lives of millions of people and you refuse to take responsibility. Clinton is not only an incompetent, flip flopping politician that does what is politically expedient at the moment, she is also a cruel and terrible person.

    March 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. JP

    When George W Bush and Dick Cheney asked Hillary to vote for war authorization, she put a big smile on their faces by voting "yay."

    She does not deserve to be commander-in-cheif.

    March 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    Right on! Get the hell out ! Why is it our problem if the Iraqis won't help themselves? Let them kill each other off - who cares?

    March 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. TheLeftNut

    How about this instead:

    "We will no longer sacrifice the blood and bone of our brave men and women of the US Military in order to babysit a unresponsive, dysfunctional government. SUBSTANTIAL progress must be made on the part of the Iraqi leadership to warrent our continued support of their goverment. The Iraqi people and our military have suffered enough, both under Saddam and this wrongful invasion by the Bush administraion. Let neither suffer any longer!"

    March 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Jim

    Little callous.

    March 19, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Grif

    I believe everything you say Girl!! Who say's a Woman can't be as
    strong as a Man.... Carrying a Baby around for Nine months.

    Can't be no easy Chore........ Go Hillary...

    America! Needs You!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Mike, Houston, TX

    And that,people, is the mentality that the world community has with respect to Darfur.

    Mrs. Clinton will accept responsibility for the genocide that may occur when she pulls the troops out. She doesn't care about them.

    Don't expect her to care about America either.

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. nick

    You mean just like "We won't count the results of Michigan and Florida?"

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. MCNEIL

    HILARY FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA IS A LITTLE STRESSED OVER HIS PASTOR.............HELLO HE IS RUNNING FOR THE HIGHEST JOB IN THE UNITED STATES.

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Elena

    She is right! What an amazing concept, Hillary is right. Obama is a liar and a hypocrite (he would make a wonderful preacher though) and McCain is.... well ....maybe he should move to Florida in a nice Condo, Oh make that Arizona.

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. bradley

    Has anyone been to her website and read her 3 part plan...it is basically a bumper sticker that says end the war? Her plan is to have her top advisors come up with a plan. To me that is not enough. I like a lot of the things that she supports but she does not have a clear plan at all about the war.

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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