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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" 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. Boomer For Change

    Let's be sure to be very clear on what exactly Hillary said this time. Did she say she would consult with military advisors "to withdraw American troops in 60 days," or "begin" to withdraw them in 60 days? I don't trust this uber ambitious politician to do anything she says she will do....because it has become pretty clear that she will do and say anything to get elected.

    March 19, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Mary, MICHIGAN

    GO HILLARY!!! Thank you for helping Michigan voters have our voices and votes heard.. unlike Obama - he's afraid of losing big (again) here, that's why he doesn't want us to re-vote. The constitution gives every qualified American citizen to vote and that's us. Thank you Hillary.! GO HILLARY 2008!

    March 19, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Lynn D

    Senator Clinton's speech on the war in Iraq went unheard because CNN was focusing on getting their candidate Barak Obama in the spot light so that he can win the nomination. Please go to Hillary and read the full text of her most wonderful speech against the war in Iraq. Senator Clinton had to make a tough decision when she gave our president the authorization to go to war as a last resort. Senator Obama gave a speech against the war but he didn't have to suffer over the decision like Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards. Also, who has poor judgement now? Senator Obama does not have as detailed a plan as Senator Clinton for getting out of Iraq. He is too busy listening to a pyscho minister. It was poor judgement to permit his two cute little daughters to sit through hate talk. It was poor judgment for him to lie to Anderson Cooper about never hearing his minister speech in such a manner. It was poor judgement for Senator Obama to run for president when he is not ready to lead. It was poor judgement for Senator Obama to have any dealings with Mr. Rezko. I believe that Senator Obama should take the high road and with draw from this race. His lack of experience will kill the Democratic Party in the Fall. If you don't do the right thing Senator Obama you will cause us to lose again in the Fall. Finally agree to let Howard Dean seat the delegates in Michigan and Florida. Do the right thing. God will smile down on you if you do the right thing.

    March 19, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Betty

    You want your loved ones to come home from Iraq?
    Then you need to belly up to the bar and support Hillary Clinton in order to make it happen in a logical orderly way. So far she's the only one to offer up any legitimate plan of action that makes any kind of sense.

    March 19, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. Question for Candidate

    I watched the stock ticker today. We are facing the disintegration of our economy, I'd like for Mrs. Clinton to explain why we should be so concerned about Iraq? What is the objective of our presence in Iraq? How long will it take us to meet the objective?

    March 19, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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