September 30th, 2007
08:46 AM ET
16 years ago

Dodd: So-called leading Dems have 'stunning' view on Iraq

Dodd took issue with the positions of some of his rivals on Iraq.

STORM LAKE, Iowa (CNN) - At a campaign stop in rural Iowa Saturday Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, said he was stunned by the fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, would not commit to having all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by 2013.

In an interview with CNN Dodd said, "The idea that the so-called leading candidates for the Democratic nomination would not say categorically that six or seven years from today–four years after [assuming] the presidency–we would not be out of Iraq I found rather stunning."

Dodd was referring to comments the three made at Wednesday's Democratic debate broadcast on MSNBC. Dodd said when he heard their responses on that stage he could "hardly breathe" because he was "so angry."

When asked if he were to become president and combat troops were still in Iraq, how long it would be until they were out Dodd said, "I want to effectuate that now. I don't want to wait until 2009."

He continued, "But if I'm unable to achieve that–which we ought to be able to do–then I would begin that redeployment process immediately. I'd depend upon my military planners on the timing of it, but they tell me they can move a brigade and a half out each month. So my goal would be, depending upon the level of troops there at that time, to begin that redeployment immediately."

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Iowa
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Mike, Baghdad Iraq

    John Starnes of Tampa Florida for you to compare an American President to Nazi Germany is not only disgusting but a slap in the face of every single Soldier and Marine in Iraq fighting to help the Iraqi people. You would do well not to equate those who defend you and our great nation with nazis. As a serving Soldier in Iraq I think you need to go an meet some of the young families mourning thier fallen Soldiers and tell them what you think. But you won't because you will hide and call names like a "cut and run" coward.

    Since you think our beautiful great nation is a "rogue nation" you should consider finding another place to live like Iran, North Korea, Syria and then you can exercise the same freedoms you seem to care so little about.

    September 30, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. Sue in Michigan

    While I understand WHY Dodd is saying these things, the reality is that we cannot pull troops out in a hurry whenever we decide to leave, and I think the candidates would rather err on the side of us being there longer, than to say "Yes, I'll have them home by Christmas of 2009," and then be unable to deliver on that promise. These are all intelligent people, and very careful of what they say, and that's a good thing.

    September 30, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. DF in FL

    Just thinking out loud here but, the so-called "War on Terror" is a $200 billion/year government program with little if any regulatory/audit oversight.

    Corporations are reaping tens of billions in profits from that program.

    Politicians are reaping tens of millions in "donations" from the corporations.

    Therefore, politicians are ambiguous about substantially scaling back the "War on Terror". Did I miss something somewhere along the line?

    September 30, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Blayze Kohime, Columbus, OH

    I have to agree with Dodd on this one. Right or wrong, they have stated they have a position and need to be willing to walk the talk at the very least.

    September 30, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Chris, Middletown, CT

    The Democrats who would "exploit" the anger need to understand that THEY AUTHORIZED THE WAR WITH THE VERY SAME INTELLIGENCE!! – yet the crew of liberals in this blog seems to forget that fact...and will happily vote for Hillary in 2008 (even though she voted for the war) – Republicans and Democrats alike want all our service members home – but the rhetoric machine has to stop – the DNC is exploiting you...and the anger you feel towards the war....step back and say ok we made a mistake going into Iraq – whats done is done....if we pull out immediately....what happens to that it or not – we now have created a situation we have to correct...and that will take time.

    September 30, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Do you want to be lied to again? The top-tier Democrats know that one of them has a better than average chance of having to clean up the mess left by 8 years of GOP dictatorship and obstruction.

    They are smart enough to know that circumstances change – and that they can not tie their hands for whatever tough decisions may have to be made.

    John Edwards pointed out that we will likely keep our embassy in Baghdad. That means there will be troops there protecting the embassy. Would you rather hire Blackwater?

    We need to elected an intelligent president – not one who as of last week was telling us "childrens can learn" and this week will be vetoing a bill to keep them well.

    September 30, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Darenm CA

    No Sir, You are no one to decide on the military operation and th war in Iraq. You need to talk to the commanders on the ground who know what is best for America. I want American people to realize that nobody can decide on bringing the tropps home, not even our President. I admire our President because he is the only one listenging to the commanders on the ground. They are the ones who know what is best for us. All others back off....

    September 30, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Robert, Shelton CT

    Dodd is currently our favorite Senator in Connecticut; that being said most people hate Lieberman even though he did win. He is only done mediocre things for our state unlike his father, who was a good statesman.

    September 30, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. colony14 author

    I'd like Senator Dodd to tell us what he will do after he withdraws all the troops out of Iraq and Iran subsequently takes over the region, blockades the Strait of Hormuz, and oil hits $150 per barrel.

    September 30, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. erika morgan black dimond wa

    Dodd is absolutely correct, we need to be completely out of Iraq about as fast as we can drive our equipment over the borders, and not stay in the region but return to our own shores. This however does not mean OTHERS will not have to go clean up the mess we have made,or that we won't have to pay the bill. It is like this "we have invaded and destroyed their homes in order to rob them of their oil, we have ransacked their country, raped their men and women, destroyed their infrastructure and economy, installed a puppet government by ex-pats who have zero idea of todays Iraq" To hang on there to redeem ourselves is as idiotic as a judge sentencing the ransacker, robber, rapist, abuser of children to go back to that home to help with the cleanup. Why can't all Americans understand that Iraqis are so fearful of the terrors we bring, that it will last for generations, and that they would be fools to trust their tormenters (fool them once...). We need to go home, mend our ways and be certain we attack no more, and seek to work in cooperation with the world. We have by our cavalier attitude sunk to the level of the worst terrorist organization on the face of the earth.

    September 30, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Anonymous, Somewhere, MI

    Anybody suprised that nobody wants the Fall of Saigon to happen on their watch? Whichever president pulls us out and allows the collapse sees the destruction of their party in the polls for some great legth of time thereafter. I wouldn't put too much stock in the public rallying around the decision once times get tough. The public is remarkably fickle and $8 a gallon gasoline is more than sufficient to tick them off. No Democrat wants to be consigned to a single term in office and destruction of their congressional majority by taking this precipitous step.

    Though, this does beg the question, since both parties now have essentially the same stance on the war what purpose is there in raising it as a campaign issue?

    September 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Like it or not: we've destabilized the Gulf, if not the entire Middle East by invading Iraq. If we pull out completely, that leaves Iran firmly in control of Iraq. While it's inevitable that they'll have a great deal of influence, giving them Iraq as a playground isn't prudent from the perspective of the United States. I could go on about genocide, a Sunni-Shiite proxy war, etc, but why depress everyone on a nice Sunday afternoon?
    PLUS, Democrats' strongest argument against a combat mission in Iraq is that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11. However, it's completely plausible that if the U.S. pulls out all troops, Al Quaeda would move in and try to launch terrorist attacks from there. If just one succeeded, we'd be right back in the soup, probably with a lot more than 170,000 troops, no argument to give for getting out, and no way to "win." The best alternative is a small force with a limited mission of combating terrorism and preventing as much genocidal violence as possible. I trust a Democratic president and Congress to see it that way far more than their Republican counterparts.

    September 30, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Mike in Baghdad (if you are actually there)...the U.S. invasion of Iraq was unprovoked and a direct violation of both the Geneva Conventions and the UN charter that this great country signed and expects all others to honor, hence the "rogue nation" label being fully appropriate. Over 1 MILLION Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion, with 4 MILLION displaced within and outside of Iraq....that is hardly "helping the Iraqi people". Poll after poll after poll taken in Iraq since the invasion has shown that the vast majority of them see us as occupying invaders and want us OUT. And a very high percentage express full approval of their fellow citizens attacking U.S. soldiers there...those poor souls hardly feel "liberated". Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9-11 or Bin Laden (he and Saddam were sworn enemies), NOTHING to do with WMDs, and everything to do with making corporate powers even more wealthy, turning the U.S. even more into an empire builder, and insuring control of the oil there. During the initial invasion, Saddam's ammo dumps were left UNGUARDED while oil fields WERE guarded...they were quickly cleaned out of vast amounts of ammo soon used against U.S. soldiers. How anyone in or outside of Iraq can put a positive spin on this multi-level crime against humanity is shocking and saddening. Impeach Bush and Cheney now before they do a number on oil-rich Iran!

    September 30, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. hawnstyle

    The three stooges, oh sorry. The top tier are the biggest hypocrits on the planet. They slam General Patraeus in regards to bringing the troops home immediately, yet when the question is posed to them, they shrivel up. NO EXCUSES!!! HYPOCRITS... FLIP FLOPPERS. This will go far for the GOP in the general election...

    October 1, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  15. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    I think what the debate over Iraq comes down to is if you were living in Iraq before the invasion and after the invastion were you glad it happened? I would be, no matter how high the level of violence is I now elect my leaders, I have rights, Saddamm can no longer rape and beat my family at will. I would be grateful for the United States for giving me and my family the opportunity to govern my own country. Poll after poll confirms that the majority of Iraqis do NOT want us to leave right now.

    October 1, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  16. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    It is dishonest to say all of the troops can be out within a year or two. It's probably irresponsible to take EVERYBODY out within 4 years. But all the democrats agree that the numbers can be WAY DOWN within 4 years. Mr. Dodd knows this- I think he's being a little disingenuous

    October 1, 2007 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  17. Mike, Baghdad Iraq

    John Starnes Tampa Florida РYes I am in Baghdad. You talk about polling Iraqis for their opinions and that shows your naivet̩ on the hard issues of Iraq. There have not been 1 million Iraqis killed since 2003. I patrol a portion of Baghdad every day and all the Iraqis I speak with say the same thing Рdo not leave now. They understand the impact of the departure of our forces on the future of their nation.

    I would also add one more thing to the discussion on Iraq; I hear a lot of people talk about the US at war, but the only ones at war are Soldiers and Marines. The average American is not touched by the war and is more concerned with getting the latest iPhone or what Britney Spears is doing then with the complexities of counterinsurgent warfare in Iraq. Anyone who thinks they "know" anything about Iraq who hasn't spent a week in Baghdad is truely misinformed. This is the most complex warfare the nation has ever conducted. The bipartisan decision, backed by UN resolutions, to go to war was not an easy decision and the myopic view of "let's pull them out now" is frankly so short sighted that it is truely dangerous. Counterinsurgent warfare is NOT won in a month or 6 months or a year. It will take a lot of time and effort as the President said early in the war this is a long war.

    October 1, 2007 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  18. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    a shout out to hawnstyle:

    What a hoot! The GOP candidates are the ones wearing the flip-flops – turning themselves inside out to smooch the evangelical base – who may run a 3rd party candidate if the current crop doesn't get religion soon.

    The true hypocrisy is saying that the GOP candidates are "evolving" ... in a party that does not believe in evolution ...

    Mitt was for (choice, gay marriage, government health care) before he was against it.

    October 1, 2007 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  19. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Using the same statistical model that the U.S. employs here, our allies England and Australia have released prestigious studies both showing over 1 million deaths in Iraq following Bush's unprovoked attack. The Bush regime SAYS they did this with UN mandate, but Kofi Anan has PLAINLY stated that the U.S. violated the UN charter with the attack. Iraq was swarming with UN weapons inspectors whom Bush ordered to LEAVE prior to the attack. No democracy has ever been created by pre-emptive invasion, as if it our job to force our way of life on other countries anyway. There is a reason that America is starkly alone in the world today....we've gone from wearing the "white hat" as we did in WWII against the Nazis and Imperial Japan, to BEING the invader. And the Hydrocarbon Act penned by U.S. oil companies' supervision, and used by Bush as one of his "benchmarks" in Iraq to give them back their own country, confirms what has been obvious all along and recently confirmed by that wild-eyed liberal Alan Greenspan....this war, while first sold as defense against phantom WMDs, then touted as "bringing freedom to the Iraqi people", was all about oil and power. How sad to see our great country take such an immoral turn as the average Joe and Jane are too busy noting Britney Spears' weight gain to care about what Bush and Cheney have done to the soul and reputation of America. Just wait until they Iraq Iran! Heaven help our troops and country then.

    October 1, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    how can CNN not have a single headline story on the good news coming out of Iraq?

    civilian deaths down 50%, lowest US casualty totals in ages...yet CNN has not a peep on it!

    October 1, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Andrew Grover St Petersburg Florida

    Mike in Baghdad, Iraq. Thank you for serving our country. I live 10 miles from John's house and would not want to live anyplace else. All I have to say Thank you and bless you.

    October 2, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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