April 17th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton: President, not generals, will be in charge in Iraq

Clinton is pledging to begin withdrawal in the first 60 days of her administration.

Clinton is pledging to begin withdrawal in the first 60 days of her administration.

HAVERFORD, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Hillary Clinton declared Thursday she will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 60 days of becoming president, regardless of what her military advisers say about the situation on the ground at the time.

"You can see which way the questions are going," she firmly told a mostly female audience gathered at Haverford College, a small liberal arts school outside of Philadelphia. "What if the military commanders tell you its dangerous to withdraw? That question is backwards. The president tells the military commanders what the mission is."

Clinton has faced a slew of hypothetical questions from reporters about withdrawing from Iraq after she said last week that her rival Barack Obama cannot be trusted to end the war.

In making that case to voters and the press, the Clinton campaign has cited an interview with a former Obama foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, who told the BBC in March that the Illinois senator's pledge to withdraw all combat troops in 16 months was "a best case scenario."

At the Democratic debate in Philadelphia last night, Clinton was asked if she would bring the troops home "no matter what," even if that meant destabilizing the country.

Clinton said yes, promising to do so responsibly and with a strong diplomatic effort in the region.

"Our professional military are the best in the world," she said. "They give their best advice. And then they execute the policies of the president."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. Bonheur

    I'm the Decider! Sounds familiar...?

    April 17, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Deception at its best....

    Stealing Obama's words is a new low! I know people support Hillary for whatever reason, but they should now question their support especially if she is starting to use her rival's words! INSANE!

    Cheryl for Hillary... Thats the spirit...

    April 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Mike from Syracuse NY

    Gee, I'm so heartened that the two Democratic candidates, who between them haven't got one day in uniform, have already decided on military strategy even before becoming commander-in-chief. Anyone who votes for these clowns had better start learning Arabic.

    April 17, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Mike

    Great!!! so by Democratic views a Yale attorney or a Harvard attorney, neither of which have ANY military experience should be making military decisions even against the advice of military leaders who have a lot more experience than either one of these Bozo's. No wonder the Democrats can't get their crap together.

    April 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Lynn in NM

    Why wouldn't Hillary be in charge of the war.?After all, she has military experience as the wife of a draft dodger!

    April 17, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Willy

    Yeah right. IF Mrs. Bill CLinton gets elected she will coward down like th erest of the dimwitcrats do.

    April 17, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Ilona Proud Canadian

    You know what folks?

    We all know that Sen. Clinton is destroying the Democratic Party, that's a given, but do you know what else she is doing? Hillary Clinton is making a spectacle of herself, she is very quickly destroying her own reputation, and frankly I don't know how she will deal with this when she loses.

    April 17, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Jon

    To all who support Sen. Clinton,
    With this attitude and speeches like this, she might as well get rid of the military. She learned her military skills from her husband who instead of going after those responsible for destroying the USS Cole and killing our naval breathen, he decided he would be would "relations" with a certain intern. If you want to learn how to build a house, ask an architect and a builder, if you want to learn how to sell a ship, ask a sailor, if you want to learn how to win a military campaign, let the NCO's, Soldiers, Officers, and Generals DO THEIR JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. spencer

    Boo Hoo Obama. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Hillary '08 all the way. Quit babying Obama. He needs to growup. Looking at his watch or something last ready to leave.(keep on going right out of the race Obama.)

    April 17, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Jill

    Vote Hillary 08

    April 17, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Mike of Calgary,

    Thank you Mike, really well said.

    April 17, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. DROSEN

    1. Clinton was very strong last night on everything A – Z.
    2. I don't believe her.
    3. Obama was poor last night and made many mistakes, namely not geting in the mud, but of course, he is a turn the other cheeker.
    4. How can anyone think an hour and a half is going to undue 40 already completed elections, with 3 to come – PA, NC, and IA – that is going to be a 10 point victory for HRC, a 10 point victory for O and a tie.

    5. HRC is like a girl who got dumped telling the new girl that her boy "smells bad..." and telling all her friends that she really dumped him first.

    H O P E for an end to pay for play corruption weThePeeps

    April 17, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. bob

    Scares all those men that a woman has a clue.

    What/ Women can die in battle now but, they can't be Commander in Chief?

    She has more b@@@S than most of the generals I met in a 23 Army career.

    HILL YEAH!!!

    April 17, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. NObama

    Obama supporters are living proof that our education system is among the most ineffective in the world.

    April 17, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Texican

    Hillary and John are the real thing. The other one is the fake.

    So we have the politicians direct the wars not our brave and trained soldiers. You politicians lost the last one and almost lost Korea, when you told MacArthur to pull back to the 38th parallel when he had the Chinese on the run and would have take the entire peninsula.

    Vietnam would not have happened had MacArthur been allowed to continue until the enemy was defeated.
    The same thing happend in Berlin during WWII. Patton should not have waited for the Russians to come in and divide Berlin. But the Congress pulled the plug on him too and allowed the Soviet Union to control East Berlin for decades.

    No thanks I will take my military generals over fickle politicians when it comes to war.

    April 17, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. catmom

    CNN please post my comments, thank you...

    You go Hillary. It is obvious from last nights debate that you are indeed the strongest, most informed candidate. Yes, you do have what it takes to move our country to where it needs to be.

    After reading all the blogs and hearing Obama decide that he may not do another debate, I wonder what is he afraid of? If he was such a strong candidate, receiving the same treatment Mrs. Clinton has been receiving shouldn't be a problem. Obama fans have called Hillary Clinton all sorts of vile things, constantly belittle and demean her, her family and supporters but can't handle a debate. How sad.

    April 17, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Debbie

    Who in their right mind believes anything you say Hillary. Everytime I hear her talk – I ask myself can I believe that?

    April 17, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. D. from NY

    Wasn't it Obama who said last night that it was the commander in chief's job to "set the mission" ? I guess Hillary preferred his answer to her own! Maybe she recognizes who the better candidate is after all!

    April 17, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. John Smith

    What hope is left for the Democrats when even Cheney can poke fun at Hillary regarding the "Sniper fire" lies.

    The Republicans are so eager to run against Hillary (an easy bait for them), that they cannot contain their excitement among the Dem candidates.

    Why is it that the Republicans always outfox the Dems? Well, given leaders like Hillary, who needs to look elsewhere for enemies?

    The thought of an "impeched family" returning to the White House says a lot about some of the Democrats!!! Republicans would have kicked the Clintons from the party a long time ago. But the Dems continue to carry this baggage!

    April 17, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Jim in FL

    Her husband was an absolute idiot in the war on terror. Bin Laden himself points to Bill as a motivation for his actions. Bin Laden also points to his surprise at the resistance put up by America under Bush.

    I served in Nam. My son-in-law did two tours in Iraq. You Hillary supporting cowards will be hiding behind us when the crap hits the fan if Hillary is ever President, and the terrorists continue their advance as they did under Bill. All I ask is that you stay out of my way, cause otherwise you are good for nothing. Pathetic.

    April 17, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Ilona Proud Canadian

    I would not even give Hillary the benefit of telling the American People what they want to hear. You guys are way too smart to fall for that. I think that she is telling the American People what "she thinks" they want to hear!

    April 17, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Vig

    You know what will sink Obama – his own arrogance. His attitude that he doesn't have to answer to legitimate questions about his behaviors and his affiliations is not a good omen for how he would be accountable if he were to become President. We have had 8 years of George Bush, whose arrogance has killed thousands of people. Obama is not the one. At least with Clinton, she may shoot herself in the foot, place herself up for scorn, but she knows the issues and she is not arrogant. Also, Obama has no sense of humor. I don't trust anyone who has no sense of humor. Obama is a mistake.

    April 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. DrFill

    "What if the military commanders tell you its dangerous to withdraw? That question is backwards. The president tells the military commanders what the mission is."

    A rare intelligent statement from Hillary.
    Was this before, or after, she reversed herself on the Obama-is-not-electable stance last night?

    April 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Tony, Miami

    Hillary did you get a xerox copy from Barak?

    April 17, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. David Laranjeira

    Thats great, thats just what we need someone in a comfy office in washington telling the generals in the field what they should be doing. It does not take a genius to know that if we withdraw from Iraq right now it will descend into anarchy and chaos. At least Obama acknowledges the ever shifting situation and refuses to press an ideological hardline over the protests of the generals like Bush and now, apparently HC.

    April 17, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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