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. CB

    "but we will not protect them if they refuse to do what we want them to do" Clinton at her best. What a freaking joke. This women is hungry for power. I thought we as a country we're better than this!

    March 19, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Steve

    Thats my girl! She will bring an end to this war and our soliders will come home with pride.

    March 19, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. carliss

    this is the biggest flip flopper since george bush himself its time for change

    March 19, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. josh

    60 days? Who believes this stuff? She's out of control!

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. Dan

    The iraqis politics of revenge will have to stop, The shia's have had their revenge when they hanged Sadam Now if they can't be Iraqis first then let it be, nothing but political will can fix this country.

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. aliou salam, Jacksonville FL

    She would say anything to win elections.

    Obama O8

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Dan from Michigan

    Ooh. I'm not sure that she should have said that.
    You know, every time she makes a political speech act like this it seems as though she is trying to make one last ditch effort to somehow magically regain control over what is seemingly becoming impossible. Everytime she opens her mouth, it solidifies Barack Obama's chances for the nomination of the Democratic party.
    As soon as we leave Iraq, we all know it is going to break up into sectarian groups with local Mullahs politically in control of power on a local level. That's why Obama wants to do a phased withdrawal, and make sure that power is being distributed evenly. Think things through before it erupts into perpetual chaos.

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. Brian

    Go back to the kitchen and make me a pie!

    March 19, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Conan

    60 days?!?!? Count down to Armageddon!

    Mark my words, on the 61st day the Kurds will seize Kirkuk and Mosul, Baghdad will implode, and Iran will send troops into southern Iraq to "protect" the Shia. This will draw in the Saudis and Syrians to fight a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war. Turkey will move into the KRG to prevent the Kurds from getting stronger. Turkey's move will piss off the Chinese who are heavily invested in the KRG. Russia might decide to weigh in to be "the peace maker". And what better time for Israel to smack Hamas in Lebanon with Syrians attention diverted to Iraq. Of course all this will screw up the oil flow from the Middle East causing $400 dollars a barrel oil, ruin the worlds economy and draw China, Russia and the US into armed conflicts over dwindling oil supplies.

    Goodbye Iraq! Hello World War III!

    How is it that the Democrats always mange to be in charge during World Wars?

    March 19, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Karlo Hernandez

    You go girl!

    Show what you got! Show everyone that you are the only one that knows what's going on!

    This is not American Idol, this is a vote for the President of the United States of America.

    Takeit seriously people!

    Hillary 2008!

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Texans for Hillary

    A coherent plan, a voice of reason. I am loving watching her poll numbers in Pennsylvania!

    Meanwhile Obama has managed to make himself repugnant to most of the voting public.

    March 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Yeswecan

    Yes, you are so right. We will vote Hillary only. CNN is BIASEd and trying to trash you with the same way Wright trash this country. But we love you. Hillary will win!

    March 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Sanjay

    So let me get this straight...you authorize a vote to go over there, bomb the hell out of the country, and dismantle their current infrastructure/govt. against the will of the majority of the Iraqi population, all in the name of brining them democracy and now you want to bail?

    Clinton says:

    “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.”

    Ummm....don't we have an obligation here?

    March 19, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. jen in cali

    She has the best policy on how to get us out of Iraq. You just cant leave like Obama wants us to believe. The fact is that we are there and need to get out in the safest and best way. Obama has lied about what he would to get out of Iraq and has been caught. For him to keep going on about his "judgment" is a joke and so is he.

    Hillary has put a lot of thought and research into this issue and will make to best choice to get us out.

    March 19, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. Jack from California

    Hillary is absolutely correct in that we should not be targets in a civil war in a distant country.

    If oil is so important, let the free market take care of the supply of oil. I thought the republicans were free market people so, why are we sending our kids to die in Iraq?

    There are plenty of terrorists in Afghanistan and if we fight them there the ones in Iraq will follow so, If we are going to fight our enemies, why not in the open space of a desolate country instead of in the cities and villages of Iraq?

    The Iraqi leadership is playing us for fools and it's time we smartened up (well for the great decider that might be a stretch) and let them do their own dirty work.

    March 19, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Willy

    blah,blah, blah get elected, blah,blah, blah get elected.

    March 19, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. frank jones

    ...is she a democrate or a republicain...here she goes given the republicains more ammo come november..."the Republicans will argue that Michigan and Florida voters shouldn't trust the Democrats to look out for them when we won't even listen to you." I am still perplexed as to rather a re-vote is fair or not, but hrc's rethoric is getting out of hand. i am an independent, but hrc does not have my vote no matter which way i decide to vote.

    March 19, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. Tim

    Good for Hillary. If you don't want to stay in Iraq for 100 years then one must take this kind of action.

    March 19, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Bayou Joe

    Hillary will not protect Iraq or the United States unless there is political progress in the Democratic party. Now that is a headline CNN.

    It took our Country almost 200 years to have a resemble of Democracy and we expect Iraq to do it in 5 years. Now that is reality.
    Also, a reminder to those that don't know history. The United States was formed by violence and war. Many brave soldiers died fighting the British to establish a free country. Freedom comes with a price.
    The blood is that of our children and grandchildren. Where are yours, mine is in Iraq, fighting for your freedom. Semper Fi.

    March 19, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. Tidah

    I am surprised that no one has commented on this yet.... but I shouldnt be with all the hoopla over the great obamas speech.....

    This is the only way out of a country we shouldnt be in to begin with.... the Iraqis have to uphold their part of the agreement .... I know they didn;t ask for us to be their but once we were this was the deal and that is that.

    We need to end all of this and protect ourselves...while trying to engage and grow with the GLOBE.

    As great as we are.... we cannot be taken seriously anymore ...because of they way we have behahved.... we bully and threaten and strike when people don;t do what we want for our own benefit.... hopefully for the last time.

    Only a Woman can understand this... admit this...accept this and do this :)..... sorry guys you have so blown it for 232 years.... it is our turn

    Peace and Love ya'll

    March 19, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. JAMES IN BAMA

    THAT MAKES MORE SINCE THAN ANYTHING I HAVE HEARD AS OF YET. IF YOUR NOT MAKING PROGRESS WE ANRT GOING TO STAY TO BABYSIT YOU. THAT MAKES TOTALL SINCE. YOU GET IN LINE OR WE LEAVE YOU WHERE YOU ARE. GIVE THEM OPTIONS TO DECIDE THIER OWN FUTURE, NOT US TRYING TO MAKE IT FOR THEM. THEN AS THEY BECOME MORE INDEPENDENT WE SLOWLY WITHDRAW. ITS A VERY GOOD PLAN AND I BET ALOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE BEHIND IT.

    March 19, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Hillary Supporter

    As a volunteer for Hillary, I have seen this woman put through the wringer unjustifiably and picks herself up and moves on. Obama speaks of race but no one has heard we woman who feel gender bias is another prejudice. African Americans got to vote in the 1800's while woman got were granted voting rights in the 1900's. I think woman have had a tough time compared to the UK who had Margaret Thatcher years ago. Third world countries have also elected woman. Perhaps it's time we had a woman and we already know she's ready. I guess we need to have the media go through 11,000 papers given to the watchdogs waiting to find things we already know. It provides the media another way to minimize Senator Clinton's experience, a truth we know. Read "Living History" all you need to know is there. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A woman can find the solutions to end a war. I heard Obama use Hillary's troop withdrawal plan. I would like to see a debate with McCain/Obama and McCain/Hillary, that will shore up any questions.

    March 19, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. christine

    Now clinton want the troops out while she voted to go to war, as a women i think she should have been the first one to say no to the war as a mother, but she didnt , she always flip flops on her issues to suit whats popular at that time mccain didnt change he voted for the war up to now he stands his grounds, obama didnt change he opposed the war up today

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  24. Grif

    Bernstein the pro Obama... Doe's not affect you.. Just do the extra mile... Ancestry Must have some value....

    Gamle? Gamle. Your future away, on a Dream...

    March 19, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Deborah

    Hillary Clinton is NOT the President for America.

    March 19, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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