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. Illinois

    Finally!! She's making a good judgment on how to manage the Iraqi situation. It's well known there will be fallout once we remove our troops from that area, but we can't continue to police their country any longer. It's up to them to do their own dirty work. We can't continue to sacrifice American lives in order to "restore" order in a country where so many other people are against that restoration.

    And I'm sure that Obama will come out with some similar such plan....because he always agrees with Hillary on these issues. God forbid he should come up with his own plans.

    March 19, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Oh look a real plan!

    Not just a speech about how she will hope and change Iraq! – I bet in about 3 days Obama will copy this plan... Or talk about how McCane misspoke or worry about Clinton's taxes, or how he did not vote on the war!

    One real big thing I like about Clinton is she like the MAJORITY of Americans thought going to Iraq was the RIGHT thing, who would have thought Bush would lie to us... She said I was misguided and wrong and here is how I WILL fix it...

    Obama's plan on Iraq: I will pull out troops and HOPE that CHANGE will happen, if that CHANGE is bad I will send troops back into IRAQ to CHANGE the FUTURE of Iraq and I HOPE that they like the CHANGE that my HOPE brings, p.s I'm black and love America even though my wife and friends don't.

    Like my cool Obama symbol? I'm so cool I have my own logo with rays of light coming out of a sun in a big O...

    March 19, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Mary

    With statements like this, is it any wonder that most educated Americans with global perspectives lean towards to Obama?

    March 19, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. Steve

    Does anyone find it strange that only Dems and not Reps don't every post any negative comments. Example I am a life long Dem Hillary Iwill never get my vote, or Obama will never get my vote. Strange isn't it.

    March 19, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. John

    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.”

    Wow! Iraq "disintegrates" and that's OK? What an absurd statement!

    March 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. pc

    Hillary is flip flopping again! Hillary, dear, you will say anything! You are full of hot air!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. CaliMale4Hill

    You go Hillary, you are the true candidate and would make a great commander in chief. Tell them Iraquis that we are no longer their police force if their government wants to hide behind the wall while we fight their bullies!!!!

    Hillary 2008

    March 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. confused

    Clinton stated: “If the Iraqis are not ready to take responsibility for themselves, it’s not going to make a difference.”
    –I don't get it??? That is how she will keep Iraq from disintegrating?? again . . . I don't get it.

    March 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. gary

    HRC you go girl.Your the only one capable to have the qualifications to bring the changes we need.You have the plans and solutions which we dont hear from the other canadate. You have to have experience and know how to be qualified to bring changes for our country. HRC is the only one qualified to really bring the changes we need.Obama is not Leader material. He would make a better Preacher. concerned Viet Nam Vet

    March 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. IveyLeague

    Wow! "... we will not protect them if they refuse to do what we want them to do."

    It took 30 years of experience to arrive at this conclusion.

    No campaigning right? reports on Jan. 11th, Former governor James Blanchard and his wife Janet sent postcards to their backers encouraging them to turn out and vote for Clinton in Tuesday’s primary, where her strongest competition is from a none-of-the-above option.

    "Make Michigan count," reads the mailer, which arrived today in mailboxes of past Blanchard supporters.

    March 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. simple thought ?

    i agree.

    if they dont want to help themselves then to hell with them and all of Asia.

    if it were not for the oil, we would not have went there anyway.

    dont see us in Africa, that's where were really needed to change grenoside. but they dont have any oil under there feet.

    the money that was spent on this war could have been spent on making us energy independent.

    but then the oilman's profit would be as history making as it has been.

    real sad..............


    March 19, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. anita

    Hillary, force them into a protected trade agreement – a percentage their oil production guaranteed for the USA in exchange for a military presence. Pull all funding for civilian, infrastructure, and political projects and fund only the troops!

    March 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |

    I have just spent most of the afternoon looking over the Former First Lady's daily schedule, although I have not read the entire deocument. However, I believe it is clear that she did not have "tea and cookies" all the time as many sexist bloggers have mentioned on this site.

    Do a little research, Sen. Clinton has a 141 I.Q., which is actually higher than her husbands. Highly intelligent and accomplished people like Sen. Clinton do not sit around on their laurels. As far as I can tell so far, there are a lot of social affairs to attend to HOWEVER the documents also show her meeting several times within just the forst few months with the Ways and Means Commitee, and for all you "tea and cookie" morons, that is one of the most powerful committees in the U>S> as it controls taxation, tariffs, social programs and also influences policy decisions. She also held meetings on legislative strategy and MANY MANY meetings on healthcare in various capacities.

    I am only in the first couple of months into her W.H stay-but it is clear that the "tea and cookies" sexist comments need to end.

    March 19, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Jake, California

    "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."

    Ok, so did she bite Obama in the back for saying his Iraq policy was not good becasue Obama's foreign policy adviser said Obama was going to consult with military officials before taking actions on Iraq?

    Why is she now saying she's going to consult with 'top military advisers' before starting her 60 days withdrawal when this was not part of her initial policy?

    This woman is manipulative...and I feel sorry for the RURAL , uneducated and old folks following her because they can't catch the her rediculous little twists and turns...

    Don't bring it to the Obama camp mama because we are closely watcing every crap you come up with!

    March 19, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Proud white woman of 63 for obamaman

    Clinton could not mention Race or Religion in the last days.
    because if she opened her big mouth now, she would have
    beEN out of here. Smart Coniving Woman.

    SOOOOOOOOOOO, Hillary, the liar, still has FLA. MICH. vote to
    yap about. Florida,Mich, yes, you are important to Americans and
    to Obama. Obama did not and is not calling the shots on a
    re-vote. Hillary is bashing him anyway. I hate Hillary and her
    lies, and lies by omitting the Truth.

    Our country is in an unbelieveable, disgraceful mess and,
    "EXPERIENCE" got us here. WHY, even when you voted for
    the War, did you not see the writing on the WALL. WHY didn't
    anyone "experienced" stop it??????????? It was never too
    late UNTIL they left "Afghanistan unfinished and they dropped the first bombs. which killed and maimed, OUR SOLDIERS, innocent women and children. IF YOU HAD CHANCE, THEN, AND DID NOT CHANGE

    America's shame will never stop until we begin anew and
    make amends to these people. Realize that the reason for war
    was for Money.

    I do not want a Pres. that was not able to "put on a good fight"
    from the beginning and to the finish.

    War Crimes is the next subject, Hillary, or would that subject
    ruin your friendships with the Reps. And the Dems alike.
    Let's not talk about your selfish desires to win, Lets talk
    about HOW you could have done things different.

    about it? you want a woman president so bad that you are willing
    to sell out America for "experience" No, Not this time.


    March 19, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. E. Bertin

    She is now taking Obama's idea on war in Iraq !!! Come on !!!

    March 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Ed from Texas

    Are you kidding me? We wil not protect them. So let us go ahead and see the country turn into a giant civil war and have the Turks come in and erradicate the Kurds in the north and the Sunnis and Shiites go into a battle royal.

    Reverting to ball my way or we willl leave you high and dry....that is experience. Not even your husband was that callous. When all hell breaks loose, are you going to ignore it like your husband's administration did to Rwanda? You are honestly going to make the same mistake that your husband did in Somalia? No clear missions, just leave and let the warlords take over....and people like Bin Laden can train and make base camps in....have you not learned from the past?

    Is that what your generals told you to do? What is the policy on Afghanistan? Oh that is right she does not have one....

    March 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. La Petite Sorciere

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Cnn i have been tryin gto post this now for about one hour:

    I have the experience to be the next president: My father is a congressman he has been for 14 years, i have followed him to meetings and even Congress.I was an intern for the UN in Geneva, Switzerland (1 year) and 1/2 in NY, my partner works for Medicins sans Frontiers (and has for 4 years) i often go with him in his trips (I am not a doctor), and I was present as an observer while Ireland was workign the peace accords …. SO, now I have all the experience I need to be a foreign diplomat and not to mention to be president……….. ohh yes I forgot I am also a woman………
    Experince according to Clinton _
    if she can fake it why can we??? that is all folks.!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Debbie

    Hillary's November 10, 1993 schedule records just linked her to NAFTA.

    What about her tax records?
    What her first lady phone records?
    What the Clinton Library contribution records?
    What about the "earmark" requests she's made since being in Washington?

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. mimi de la cruz for OBAMA


    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Patricia Asberry

    I cant understand being a african american woman that my own race seems to feel that they owe the clintons in this election . First of all why after what president clinton did in the white house would we the people bringhim and his family back again . And dont we as a people have to takein consideration that we have children and grandchildrenwatching and we want to set an example. Dont we realize that other countries our watching us and laughing because we have become a stupid society that falls for anything and everyone is watching . A war we didnt need jobs are gone houses are lost education has become delete. President clinton becomes the first lady John mccain to old andstuck in his ways to be president. Where is the new and fresh ideas ? I believe its in obama and after you destroyed the man I think he will be the last man standing in the end like god . All thought you slay me yet will I trust in god . words from the bible

    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. John Smith

    'Thou shalt not commit adultry" This is one of the highest laws in life!

    Hillary STAYED with Bill after Bill's multiple infedilities. May be we should DUMP Hillary for sticking with a sinner, her husband!!

    Well for those who want Obama to go back to his pastor, who would be the greater sinner here: Hillary who stays with .......after all his.....; OR Obama who stays with ...after a .....? Becuse you like to JUDGE, you go ahead and throw the first stone with a clean conscience!!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Obama 08!

    Clinton is finished! It is time for her to bow out gracefully and unite Democrats behind Obama!

    March 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Christina

    Right on Hillary! you only get the cookies if you clean your room!

    It makes so much sense. Its time to tame that spoiled child that is Iraq.

    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. kiki

    Excellent Hillary. This is a true leader capable of getting things done as opposed to just talk and talk and talk....
    HILLARY 08

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6