August 22nd, 2007
09:04 AM ET
15 years ago

Rivals criticize Clinton for Iraq praise

Clinton addressed the VFW convention Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House hopeful Hillary Clinton is taking heat Tuesday from some of her Democratic rivals over recent comments suggesting the president's surge policy in Iraq is "working."

The remarks came during an address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention Monday, in which the New York Democrat said the president's Iraq policy was leading to success in "some areas."

"We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it's working," she said. "We're just years too late in changing our tactics."

"We can't ever let that happen again," Clinton added. "We can't be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war."

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson quickly jumped at the chance to highlight Clinton's seeming praise of the president.

“The fact is the surge is not working," he said in a statement. "I do not give President Bush the same credit on Iraq that Hillary does."

Meanwhile, David Bonior, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' campaign manager, called Clinton's comments "another instance of a Washington politician trying to have it both ways."

Though Bonior did agree with Clinton that there was "progress" in Al Anbar, he said "by cherry-picking one instance to validate a failed Bush strategy, it risks undermining the effort in the Congress to end this war."

Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communication's director, charged that Bonior was distorting Clinton’s position.

"Senator Edwards was right on Sunday when he said that all the Democrats would end the war and that the differences between them were small," he said. "He is wrong today to distort Senator Clinton's opposition to the surge in a sad attempt to raise his flagging poll numbers."

"The fact is that while Democrats, including Senator Edwards and Senator Obama, acknowledge progress in Al Anbar, Senator Clinton opposed the surge from the start and believes there is no military solution to the war in Iraq," Wolfson added.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Hillary Clinton • John Edwards
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. spinstopper

    So let me get this straight John from Swanson Chicago.

    You think we should pull our troops out of one civil war that we removed a dictator and put them into a civil war that is still controlled by a dictator.

    Why? How long will you give Darfur before advocating running out on them too?? This is nothin but typical mindless dem anti-Iraq freedom rhetoric, I’m surprised CNN didn’t post it the first time either..

    August 23, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Danny Casolaro Martinsburg, Virginia

    If I hear one more naive fool on this board try to justify war as being a humanitarian measure to "save" this or that poor, beleaguered people-I will puke. War is NEVER used as a noble, humanitarian means of rescuing people. If it were, the world would be at constant war-we would be in Darfur right now.
    Anyone else who thinks otherwise is a moron with no knowledge of history.
    The United States did not enter World War II to save the poor Jews. Roosevelt turned away BOATLOADS of Jews trying to enter the US and the British Monarchy had Nazi Sympathizers at the highest levels of royalty.
    WAR IS BUSINESS-get this straight.
    War is about consolidating resources, the spreading of hegemony, and allying with those who protect your interests.
    This is not hard to understand.
    The so-called "ideals" (i.e.,the spreading of democracy, the "liberation" of people from oppression) mean absolutely NOTHING to those who make war. They are a means to an end.
    Didn't Joseph Goebbels teach us anything?
    We will not be leaving Iraq until the infrastructure is in place to effectively control the oil resources there. That includes having a stable government that will work with Western oil companies and keep Islamic fundamentalism in check.
    Do you think it is a coincidence that Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan was an ex oil company executive?
    The oil reserves in the Middle East are among the last viable ones remaining in the world.
    Democrats know this as well as Republicans. There will be no change in war strategy as long as this is true-no matter who is president.
    Hillary Clinton is the next president if the United States. We no longer have elections in this country. It is already over. This elaborate three year presidential campaign is a ridiculous and distracting dog and pony show for your amusement. 20 straight years of either a Clinton or a Bush as president. Our electoral process has been hijacked and the game is rigged. Democan or Republicrat, makes no difference. Our leaders are chosen for us-not the other way around.

    August 23, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Posted By a soldier whose been there Texas: "...This forum makes me sick to my stomach and something that is rare so this is the last entry from me..."

    Basically what you have just become is the little kid in the story you posted who closed the blinds. You don't like what you're reading so you throw up your hands and leave, in a very real sense closing your blinds to other points of view. This country is full of individuals each with their own voice.

    The "mess" in Somalia was a civil war not unlike what we are seeing today in Iraq. U.S. troops were sent to Somalia as part of a U.N. effort to stabilize a transitional government. Both the Somali factions involved in the conflict laid claim to the leadership of the county, a U.N. backed government and a group lead by Mohamed Farah Aideed, whom many believe won the national election but was denied his rightful office.

    To blame the recent feudal outbreaks in Somalia on the fact U.N. troops were taken out during the Clinton Administration is short sighted. It could be argued just as easily that had U.N. peace keeping forces stayed in Somalia we would be as deeply intrenched in their civil war as we are in Iraq.

    Taking sides in another country's civil war is a mistake taught by history. The French learned this lesson during the American Civil War. The United States should have learned this lesson from Vietnam.

    More to the point, however, based on your views it would seem that you side in part with Ms. Clinton. She advocates a slow pull out of Iraq. She is not afraid to acknowledge gains made in Iraq, even though it flies in the face of all the democratic doomsayers. She did not say we should carry out a long protracted war in Iraq, as some posting here imply.

    Even though I don't like Hillary's personality she shows maturity in her ability to step out of the democratic box and see things as they are. That is a trait our current leader does not have, nor do many of the candidates who are running for office.

    August 23, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Robert M. Reidy, Tillson, N.Y.

    To: Tom Dunn
    Now I see where you are coming from
    and I respect that. But you see it's this way with me – I am an artist and a poet very much attracted to leadership with vision and positive energy and I see Barak Obama as one of those rare gifts that come around rarely – a leader with a heart for the people.
    I admit that I am an idealist and proud of that, it's just that I have never been so excited by the courage
    of such a man as this authentic, intelligent Barak Obama. And I do hope
    this country is ready for a leader with such creativity. The world would respect an Obama win. I guess we will know after a few primaries come in. Good luck to us both.

    August 24, 2007 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
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