March 19th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
13 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. Vote for Hillary


    I saw you in Harrisburg, PA and you WOW'd me. I support you and I will vote for you on April 22. You are what we need. Somebody who we know about. Who will fight for everybody.

    Hillary for President, 2008

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

    Hillary has a better plan to deal with Iraq and terrorism in general than Obama. Obama plans on trying to be nice to everybody and hopes that the terrorist will be satisfied and leave us alone. Obama and his pastor sympathize with the the logic behind the 9/11 attacks of the terrorists. Obama does not represent the people that are proud of this nation anymore.

    March 19, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. La Petite Sorciere

    oh pleazzee you got US there in the first place, so pleazze go away-
    This war is so unfair, has no place in our country but you and McCain voted the same,
    you and McCain are one and the same!!

    March 19, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Randy - Denver

    Now to ask her the follow on question they asked Mr. Obama in the debate (and not Ms. clinton because she was crying MSM was being unfair to her) What will you do if it falls apart after we leave or Al-Queada moves in... of course she will not have to answer this, and most likely it will not get posted by the Clinton News network..

    March 19, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. vanchava


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


    You HAVE TO distinguish between the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government when you speak!

    I'm very dissapointed in your phrasing. You should know better.

    March 19, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. BL-NYC

    This woman is amazing and I would be honored if she represented my family to the World.
    Senator Clinton is ready to Govern our Nation...

    March 19, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Kerry

    It's easy to demand so much from the Iraqi's now Hillary. They didn't bring about this war. You voted for this war Hillary, along with Bush and McCain.

    So, you have no moral ground to shake your finger at the Iraqi's. Just like you have no moral grounds to denounce and reject Elliot Spitzer.

    March 19, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Counting Down

    Oh please. She voted for the war then stated on Meet the Press she didn't vote for war, but inspectors. In her speech about voting for the war she stated that it was based upon her 8 years of experience on Penn. Ave. Please!

    You tout experience now for the job and did when you voted and didn't read the National Intelligence Estimate!

    You lied. Go away Hillary. I am a woman and no, you didn't get my "girl power" vote.


    March 19, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Tiachi

    I don't believe in the war and want our people home, here to protect us, but its funny how Hillary is giving herself an OUT if/when she gets into office, she will not be able to withdraw the troops and she will say its all in the IF!!!

    Read: ""we won’t protect” the Iraqis if the their government fails to make meaningful political progress."

    So the question becomes Mrs Clinton, if they DO make meaningful political process, YOU WILL KEEP OUR troops over there????

    All the Hillary supporters, please explain THAT double talk.

    March 19, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Eith

    Hillary, you opened few thousand years old wound in Iraq when you voted for the war. If you didn't have the judgement to know the complexity of the history surrounding Iraq, can we trust you with the U.S leadership in the greater Middle East complexities?

    If you couldn't handle the crises that lead us to a misjudgement into a rushed-up war with Iraq (from our shock on 9-11 attack to the Iraq vote), when the seconds click in a 3AM Red Phone call, will you be able to make the right decision, when you failed on a crises that had given you plenty of time to study and educate yourself before you voted to authorize the war on Iraq?

    On your released first lady records and any combined records between you and the former president, here is what we need: A complete disclosure of all materials to member-representatives of all the major News Networks so they can examine all the details INCLUDING the blackened-out sections. Point? Can we trust your claims, that all the black-outs are SIMPLY for the protection of people's addresses and phone numbers? Claims of protecting privacy shouldn't be a means to secrecy, in a private disclosure to media reviews of all the details in your collective records.

    Accountability and transparency, please.

    March 19, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Ed

    Well Hillary there are Bush, Cheney, Mccain and Lieberman who will be job hunting after you or obama win the presidency on Jan 20 th 2009.If you can find any money left you could make them a small[VERY SMALL] buisness loan and they could follow their dream to take over the Iraq security. Would't cost too much ,no body armour , haliburton to feed them and entertain them. Sounds easy to me .

    March 19, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. mike

    I am sick of spending on these people! We need it more!

    March 19, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Deb


    March 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. MP

    The Iraqis have had plenty of opportunity to take their share of responsibility...That waltz can go on forever...We need the troops home...We are enabling these people to never have to take charge of their own country...I don't care if they want to fight each other till the end of time...Let them...We've given up enough already...It's time for this insanity to stop.

    March 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Independent

    She's gone overboard.

    March 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. michelle brians

    Bravo! Good point Hillary.

    She is right, we can’t waste trillions of tax payers’ money to protect the Iraqis if the their government fails to make meaningful political progress.

    Hillary 2008!

    March 19, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Dave

    Wow, so she is committed to making sure that Iraq fails.

    March 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Wayne Peltier an American citzien in Canada

    I agree – bring 'em home.


    March 19, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Adam FL

    Im glad she has a plan! She always has a plan! I want a president with a plan! I want someone whos thinking about how to fix our problems!

    Hillary Clinton 2008!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Ron, TX

    The first part of her plan is to consult with military advisors...

    And the other day, she had the gaul to act like Obama was some sort of liar because his foreign policy advisor said that he'd obviously talk with generals on the ground before finalizing a specific withdrawal plan?

    Please, America, make the right decision! Obama has the judgment and honesty necessary to take America forward!

    March 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Ken, Austin TX

    I hate Senator Clinton...but I agree with exactly what she's saying on this matter.
    Obama 08

    March 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |

    now thats a decision
    not obama and samantha powers decision

    March 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Phil of Colorado

    With all of her "experience," Hillary does not seem to grasp that we are there to protect OUR national interest to prevent a takeover by Iran or terrorist groups, something likely to happen if we just walk away.

    March 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Nancy in Dallas TX

    I am so very proud of you Hillary.

    March 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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