More headlines: Hillary Clinton on War & Peace

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)

2006 election: voters desperately want a new course

Hillary’s prospects for returning to the White House were about to improve. The midterm elections of 2006 signaled profound voter dissatisfaction with Iraq and the GOP. DeWine and many other Bush allies in Congress were swept out as Democrats took control of the House and the Senate. Hillary easily crushed Spencer, winning two-thirds of the vote. Her target, Donald Rumsfeld, resigned, and the GOP were in tatters.

Hillary said, “The message sent loudly and clearly by the American people was that we desperately need a new course.“ By this point, she had traveled all over the map regarding Iraq, carried along by the shifts in public opinion and her own ambition to appear both strong and decisive, traits she new she’d need as president.

As she finalized her plans for a presidential bid, Hillary asked allies from NH how her vote for the war would play out in the campaign. AS she saw it, she had two options: chart a new course or continue to tread water.

Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p.297-298 Jun 8, 2007

Returned money from organization associated with terrorists

LAZIO [to Clinton]: When you accept contributions from people that support Hamas, when they’re your guests at the White House, when you cavort with terrorists, you send a message to the Palestinian Authority that encourages violence to be used as a tool to achieve political ends.

Q: Wait a minute. Didn’t your presidential candidate, George W. Bush, also accept contributions?

LAZIO: It’s absolutely wrong for all. The difference, though, on top of receiving the contributions, is that people who support the Hamas terrorist group, have been invited and courted at the White House, which I think is wrong.

CLINTON: I learned that an organization claimed credit for sponsoring a fund-raiser I attended; an organization whose members have made statements that I find offensive and have condemned. And as soon as I found out the facts, I returned all of the money that was raised because I did not want anyone to have a false impression about my strong support for Israel’s safety and security.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC Oct 28, 2000

Pollard committed a crime, but use of secret evidence unfair

Q: Jonathan Pollard, the American naval officer who betrayed the country, was sentenced to life for espionage and treason. The secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the director of the FBI and the head of the CIA have all said do not pardon him. Do you support clemency for Mr. Pollard?

CLINTON: What Pollard did was a terrible crime against the US. It was a great breach of trust and national security and he plead guilty, was convicted and is serving a very long prison term. The question for me is around the due process issues concerning the way that he was sentenced. It is something that I have questions about and I believe that fair-minded people should ask similar questions. There was secret evidence put in before the court that has never been revealed.

LAZIO: The only person who is in a position to make that decision and the only person who’s got the authority to actually issue a pardon is the president himself.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY Sep 13, 2000

Yugoslav involvement good on both moral & strategic grounds

Hillary Clinton called for the US to reject isolationism and aggressively engage itself in world affairs in the tradition of President Truman at the end of WWII. She cited American involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo as examples of foreign engagements she favored on moral and strategic ground, but also suggested that Americans needed to consider becoming involved in solving crises that are not only military in nature.
Source: Dean Murphy, NY Times on 2000 election Oct 20, 2000

Urged president to bomb Serbians

On March 21, 1999, Hillary expressed her views by phone to the President: “I urged him to bomb.” The Clintons argued the issue over the next few days. [The President expressed] what-ifs: What if bombing promoted more executions? What if it took apart the NATO alliance? Hillary responded, “You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?” The next day the President declared that force was necessary.
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.345 Dec 9, 1999

Kosovo’s unified message: We will not turn away

I’ve met people who are determined to rebuild Kosovo with a sense of positive energy and not vindictiveness and retribution. This has been possible because our nations-our leaders and our citizens-stood up against evil. Now there are some who I know who would quibble with my use of that word, but I think it fully describes the conflict we have been waging these last few months. The many democracies that came together to wage this battle against Milosevic may have spoken different languages and even held different political views. But they have sent a unified message at the end of this century that says we will not turn away when human beings are cruelly expelled, or when they are denied basic rights and dignities because of how they look or how they worship. When crimes against humanity rear their ugly heads, we have to send such a message as an international community.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France Jun 17, 1999

War authorization vote made primary harder than general

Bill Clinton knew his wife could do it, and do it damn well, too. Some felt that she had the nomination locked up but would face a daunting challenge in the general election. Bill believed the opposite--a point he made repeatedly to anyone who would listen. "This primary is gonna be harder than the general," he would say.

Clinton's assessment was based primarily on one thing: the anger of the party's liberal base at Hillary's vote to authorize the Iraq War and her continued refusal to recant it. With elections in Iraq scheduled for that December, the body count rising, and sectarian violence raging in the region, calls were intensifying for a troop reduction or even a full-scale withdrawal. On Nov. 13, Edwards, whom the Clintons considered Hillary's most serious rival for the nomination, published an op-ed in "The Washington Post" apologizing for his own Senate vote in favor of authorizing the war. (It's first sentence: "I was wrong.") The pressure was mounting on Hillary to do the same.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p. 39 Jan 11, 2010

2007: I'm most qualified to end war in Iraq

[In 2007] Hillary had whipped Obama in the interminable series of Democratic debates that had taken place since April. Her mastery of the issues, her knowledge of every jot and tittle about every aspect of public policy, had been on full display--and Obama had been exposed for the naif she knew he was, coming across as vague and weak and windy. She had neutralized many of her most glaring vulnerabilities. She had blurred the distinctions between her and Obama on Iraq, adroitly changing the subject from which candidate was most anti-war to who was more qualified to bring the conflict to an end.

She's watched as Obama's campaign was hammered for producing a proposal that was an obvious rip-off of hers. She'd begun to defuse her rival's message, where she said, "change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." And finally, in the 3rd quarter of the year, she had succeeded in raising more money than Obama.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p. 98-99 Jan 11, 2010

Remove a brigade from Iraq every month, no matter what

Q: Your spokesperson was asked, “Is Sen. Clinton going to stick to her plan of bringing one or two brigades out of Iraq every month whatever the realities on the ground?” And he responded, “A one-word answer: Yes.” Are you?

A: Yes, I am. We have a system in our country of civilian control of the military. And I am convinced that it is in America’s best interest to immediately begin to withdraw within 60 days.

Q: But aren’t you essentially saying, “I know better than the military commanders here“?

A: No, what I’m saying is that no one can predict what will happen. But one thing I am sure of is that our staying in Iraq--continuing to have many [troops killed or] injured as well as Iraqi casualties--is no way for us to maintain a strong position in the world. We don’t know what will happen as we withdraw. We do know what will happen if we stay mired in Iraq. Our military will continue to be stretched thin. The Iraqi government will not accept responsibility for its own future.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

The purpose of the surge has not been fulfilled

Q: Is Iraq today better off than it was six months or a year ago because of the surge?

A: The rationale of the surge was to create the space and time for the Iraqi government to make the decisions that only it can make. There is no doubt, given the skill and the commitment of our young men and women in uniform that putting more of them in will give us a tactical advantage and will provide security in some places, and that has occurred. But the fact is that the purpose of it has not been fulfilled. The Iraqi government has slowly inched toward making a few of the decisions in a less than complete way, but it hasn’t taken advantage of the sacrifice and the losses of life and billions of dollars that have occurred since the surge began. That is why I have said, upon taking office I would ask the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and my security advisers to give me a plan so that I could begin withdrawing our troops within 60 days.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Withdraw all combat troops: one or two brigades a month

Q: There’s going to be a pause in the plan to draw down troops from Iraq because the Administration says it would imperil recent security gains. Would you support such a pause?

A: No, I wouldn’t, and this is such a disheartening piece of news. I don’t think the Iraqis will take responsibility until we actually start withdrawing troops. We can begin that within 60 days.

Q: Is your plan to withdraw all troops? I’ve believe you have been saying up to this point combat troops.

A: Well, I intend to try to take nearly all of them out within a year, but obviously it’s going to take a lot of planning. I don’t think the administration has done the planning. You know, we’ve got to take care of our civilians. We have more than 100,000 Americans there in all kinds of capacities. I think it would be appropriate that we take care of the Iraqis who translated, and drove for, and protected our troops. So this is not going to be easy to do, but I think you can take out one to two brigades a month.

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

Calling for troop withdrawal pressures Iraqi government

Q: You started calling for pulling US troops out of Iraq in November of 2005. If we had followed your policy, wouldn’t Al Qaeda by now be able to say that they had driven the US out of Iraq?

A: The so-called surge was designed to give the Iraqi government the space and time to make the tough decisions that only the Iraqis can make for themselves. It’s my assessment that only now is the Iraqi government starting to grapple with problems that many of us have been pushing them to resolve for 5 years. And the problem is that they have up until now believed that they didn’t really have to take any tough action, that President Bush had given them basically a blank check, that the American military would be there to protect them and protect other parts of the country. I think we’ve got to bring our troops home and really require and put the pressure on the Iraqis to make the tough decisions that they have to make.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series Feb 3, 2008

Some tactical success in Iraq, but no strategic success yet

Q: Last September when General Petraeus testified before Congress about the surge working, and you said, “The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.” Since then, the violence is clearly dropping. Baghdad is sharing oil revenue with the provinces. They are allowing some Sunnis back into the government. Clearly, there are a lot of problems, but why are you so determined to declare defeat?

A: Well, that’s not at all what I’m doing. I think there’s a difference between tactical success on the ground, and strategic success. And I think you’re overstating what is happening in Iraq. There’s a lot of problems getting money from the central government into the Sunni areas. The oil bill hasn’t been resolved yet. De-Baathification is tied up in their Parliament because there is such a reaction to it by many of the Shiite factions. You know, this is, obviously, a fractious and often contentious government.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series Feb 3, 2008

Leaving 130,000 troops in Iraq is irresponsible abdication

Bush intends to leave at least 130,000, if not more, troops in Iraq as he exits. It’s the most irresponsible abdication of what should be a presidential commitment to end what he started. So, we will inherit it. Therefore, I will do everything I can to get as many of our troops out as quickly as possible, taking into account all of these contingencies that we’re going to have to contend with once we are in charge and once we can get into the Pentagon to figure out what’s really there & what’s going on.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Have nearly all combat troops out in a year

Q: Can you make a commitment that 16 months after your inauguration will be enough time for all combat troops to get out of Iraq?

A: I certainly hope it will be. I hope to have nearly all of them out within a year.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Withdraw one to two brigades in Iraq each month

Q: Obama says he wants all combat troops out within 16 months of his inauguration. You haven’t offered a specific end date. Why shouldn’t voters worry that your position could turn into an open-ended commitment?

A: Because I’ve been very clear in saying that I will begin to withdraw troops in 60 days. I believe that it will take me one to two brigades a month, depending on how many troops we have there, and that nearly all of them should be out within a year. It is imperative, though, that we actually plan and execute this right. Last spring, I got into quite a back-and-forth with the Pentagon, because I was concerned they were not planning for withdrawal, because that was contrary to their strategy, or their stated position. I began to press them to let us know, and they were very resistant, and gave only cursory information. I will ask the Joint Chiefs & my security advisers the very first day I’m president, to begin to draw up such a plan so that we can withdraw.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Can’t leave Iraq safely without a plan

It’s not only bringing our young men and women and our equipment out, which is dangerous. They have got to go down those same roads where they have been subjected to bombing and so much loss of life and injury. We have to think about what we’re going to do with the more than 100,000 Americans civilians who are there, working for the embassy, working for businesses, working for charities. We’ve got to figure out what to do with the Iraqis who sided with us. A lot of the drivers and translators saved so many of your young men and women’s lives, and I don’t think we can walk out on them without having some plan as to how to take care of those who are targeted. At the same time, we have got to tell the Iraqi government there is no more time. They are out of time. They have got to make the tough decisions they have avoided making. They have got to take responsibility for their own country.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Can’t let the Iraqis think the US will be there forever

We have to send several messages at once. We are withdrawing, and I believe that is the best message to send to the Iraqis. That they need to know that they have to get serious, because so far they have been under the illusion that the Bush administratio and the Republicans who have more of the same will be there indefinitely. It’s important to send that message to the region, because Iran, Syria, the other countries in the neighborhood, are going to find themselves in a very difficult position as we withdraw. Be careful what you wish for. They will be dragged into what is sectarian divisiveness with many different factions among the 3 main groups. Therefore, we need to start diplomatic efforts immediately, getting the Iranians, the Syrians, and others to the table. It’s in their interest, our interest, and certainly in the Iraqis’ interest. Bush has taken the view that I find absolutely indefensible, that he doesn’t have to bring any agreement about permanent bases and ongoing occupation.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Bush must ask Congress to approve agreements with Iraq

2007 was the deadliest year for US troops in Iraq. And the humanitarian situation remains devastating. Pres. Bush isn’t satisfied with failure after failure in Iraq; he wants to bind the next President to his failed strategy by unilaterally negotiating with the Iraqi government about the future of the US-Iraq security relationship, including the possibility of permanent US bases in Iraq.

The Bush Administration says it does not even plan to submit this agreement to the Congress for approval, even though Iraqi officials plan to submit it to their parliament. It is an outrage that the Iraqi parliament will have an opportunity to debate this but the American Congress won’t. We need to rein in this President. That is why I introduced the first legislation to require the President to submit any such agreement for congressional approval and to withhold any funding to carry out the agreement.

Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008

Withdrawing troops is dangerous, including 100,000 civilians

Withdrawing troops is dangerous. That’s why I’ve been working to make sure that we knew all of the various steps we would have to take, because it’s not just bringing our troops and equipment home. We have more than 100,000 civilians there, working for the embassy, businesses, and charities. We have a lot of Iraqis who sided with us, translators and drivers who put their lives on the line. I’m committed to withdrawing our troops and to put the Iraqi government on notice that their time is running out.
Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

No military solution in Iraq; this debate motivates solution

I’m looking to bring our troops home, starting within 60 days of my becoming president. I have the greatest admiration for the American military. I’ve been to Iraq three times and met with the leaders of the various factions. But there is no military solution, and our young men and women should not remain as the referees of their conflict. The so-called surge was able to pacify certain parts of Iraq. If we put enough of our men and women and equipment in, we’re going to be able to have some tactical military success. But the whole purpose of the surge was to force the Iraqi government to move quickly towards the kind of resolution that only it can bring about. What is motivating the Iraqi government is the debate in the political campaign here. They know they will no longer have a blank check from Bush, that I will with draw troops from Iraq. That will put even more pressure on the Iraqis to finally make the decisions that they have to make.
Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

Hope to have nearly all troops out within a year

Q: Do you want to respond to whether you’re ready to commit to all combat troops being out of Iraq within a year?

A: What I have said is that I will move as quickly as possible. I hope to have nearly all out within a year. We don’t know what we’re going to inherent from Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. He claims he does not need to come to the US Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the US government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments.

Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

Demand Bush to explain to Congress on his plan on Iraq

Bush has continued to say he can enter into an agreement with the Iraqi government, without bringing it for approval to the US Congress, that would continue America’s presence in Iraq long after he leaves office. We have to prevent Bush from binding the hands of the next president. So I have introduced legislation that clearly requires Bush to come to the US Congress to get anything that he’s trying to do, including permanent bases, numbers of troops, all the other commitments he’s talking about.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

No extension on surge; deadline is why Iraq is progressing

Q: If Gen. Petraeus says in his March report to Congress that the surge is working, that reconciliation has started; don’t pull 35,000 troops out now, keep them there for at least the remainder of the year, would you be open to that?

A: No, and here’s why. The surge was rationalized as giving the Iraqi government time to make the hard decisions. 2007 was the deadliest year for American troops, and, from my perspective, part of the reason that the Iraqis are doing anything is because they see this election happening and they know they don’t have much time, that the blank check that George Bush gave them is about to be torn up.

Q: If Gen. Petraeus says, “Senator, in September you called the surge the suspension of belief. It has worked. Keep troops there just a few more months to get this reconciliation complete.”

A: The whole point of the surge was, and the testimony that we heard last fall. The point of the surge was to push the Iraqi government to make these tough choices.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series Jan 13, 2008

Bush’s classified withdrawal plan is cursory; out in 60 days

I have said that as soon as I become president, I will ask the Joint Chiefs, secretary of defense, my security advisers to give me a plan to begin withdrawing our troops within 60 days.

The reason I have to do that is because last spring, I asked for a briefing on what the planning was. The secretary of defense and the Department of Defense basically said “We’re not going to tell you.” And I said, “Well, yes you are.” We had such a briefing. It was classified. I can’t talk about it, but the bottom line is it was cursory.

I don’t think that the Bush White House wants there to be much planning. So starting on day one of my presidency, we will begin that planning. We will begin to withdraw our troops within 60 days. I think we can take out one to two brigades a month. At the same time, I will put increasing pressure on the Iraqi government. I will engage in a full diplomatic effort to work with the countries in the region and others who have an interest in the stability of Iraq.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series Jan 13, 2008

GovWatch: Withdrawal in 60 days has no timetable to finish

“Hillary will begin immediate phased withdrawal [from Iraq] with a definite timetable to bring our troops home.”
--Hillary Clinton, N.H. campaign leaflet, September 2007

I chose this one because of the importance of the underlying issue, and a pattern of obfuscation on Iraq by the Clinton campaign. Clinton has promised to order her generals to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 60 days of her inauguration, but she has never provided a “definite timetable” for bringing the troops home. In fact, she has said that she cannot promise to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of a second presidential term. At a campaign event on December 19, she was a little more specific than she had been previously when she said “I think we can bring home one or two combat brigades a month.” There is a huge difference, however, between “can” and “will.” “Can” does not constitute a “definite timetable.”

Source: GovWatch on 2008 Pinocchio Awards for Biggest Fib of 2007 Jan 1, 2008

Absolutely oppose the war in Iraq

Q: Do you oppose the war in Iraq?

A: Absolutely. But I do not oppose the brave young men and women who have fought this war with such distinction and heroism. I will begin to bring our troops home as soon as I am president, because Bush does not intend to end the war while he is still president. We’re doing to have to get the Joint Chiefs and my secretary of defense and advisers together to start the planning to move as quickly as possible, because I don’t believe that the planning has been sufficiently undertaken in the Pentagon under the Bush administration. We have to try to get the Iraqi government to understand its obligations, because there are no military solutions. We need to engage in diplomacy, with respect to Iraq. We have a big diplomatic apparatus. Bush doesn’t use it. He relies on a very small group of people. That’s a terrible mistake. Bush’s policies have alienated our friends and emboldened our enemies. We’ve got to do more than just send our young men and women out.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Bring out as many combat troops as quickly as possible

When we talk about combat missions in Iraq, my understanding is that we had the same agreement that we would bring out combat troops but we would pursue a mission against Al Qaida in Iraq if they remained a threat. I don’t know how you pursue Al Qaida without engaging them in combat. We should get as many of the combat troops out as quickly as possible. If we leave any troops in, like special operations, to go after Al Qaida in Iraq, we don’t want them just sitting around and watching them. We want them to engage them. That is a very limited mission. That is what I have said consistently. It’s going to be complicated, and it’s going to take time. I intend to do it in a responsible manner that is as safe for our troops as possible. We’re going to have troops remaining there, guarding our embassy. We may have a continuing training mission, and we may have a mission against Al Qaida in Iraq. That’s a very big difference than having the 160,000 troops that Bush has there today.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Goal to remove all troops from Iraq by 2013, but no pledge

Q: In 2006, Democrats were elected to the majority in the House and Senate, and many believed that was a signal to end the war. You have said that will not pledge to have all troops out by the end of your first term, 2013. Why not?

A: It is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But it is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting. We do not know, walking into the White House in January 2009, what we’re going to find. What is the state of planning for withdrawal? That’s why last spring I began pressing the Pentagon to be very clear about whether or not they were planning to bring our troops out. And what I found was that they weren’t doing the kind of planning that is necessary, and we’ve been pushing them very hard to do so. You know, though, about the Democrats taking control of the Congress, I think the Democrats have pushed extremely hard to change this president’s course in Iraq. The Democrats keep voting for what we believe would be a better course.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 26, 2007

No funding that does not move us toward withdrawal

Q: The president is going to submit a new spending bill this week calling for another $200 billion in spending for Iraq. Last May you voted to cut off spending. Will you do so again with this spending bill?

A: I will not vote for any funding that does not move us toward beginning to withdraw our troops, that does not have pressure on the Iraqi government to make the tough political decisions that they have, that does not recognize that there is a diplomatic endeavor that has to be undertaken. This has gone on now, unfortunately, for years, with the president holding on to his failed policy and with Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail deciding to support that failed policy, and it’s really the only way that I can register my very strong disapproval of this policy, and I will continue to do so.

Q: But some of this money goes to protect our troops from mines and IEDs.

A: I think the best way to protect our troops is to start bringing them home.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Sep 23, 2007

Protect troops with body armor then & bringing them home now

I think the best way to protect our troops is to start bringing them home. And I have been a strong supporter of the American military.
Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Sep 23, 2007

Defunding war is the only way to force Bush to change course

Q: You told Newsweek that the war in Iraq was the most important vote you cast in the Senate. You said this week, “I have voted against funding this war, and I will vote against funding this war as long as it takes.” You voted to authorize the war, voted to fund the war at least 10 times. Are you now saying that you will not vote one more penny for the war in Iraq?

A: I am saying that I’ve been guided by what I believe is the principle that should govern any decisions anyone in public life makes: I try to do what I think is best for my country and for the troops who serve it. And I have seen no evidence that this administration is willing to change course in any significant way. I voted against funding last spring. I will vote against it again because I think that it’s the only way that we can demonstrate clearly that we have to change direction. The president has not been willing to do that, and he still has enough support among the Republicans in the Senate that he doesn’t have to.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Sep 23, 2007

Patraeus report requires willing suspension of disbelief

Q: What’s your assessment of the Gen. Petraeus testimony on Iraq?

A: Well, I think he became the spokesman for the president’s failed policy. The president will announce that he’s going to withdraw 30,000 troops by next summer. That would have happened anyway, because we have to start withdrawing the so-called surge troops and get back to the pre-surge number. Then, I’m afraid, based on what we’ve heard from the general, that’s where it’s going to sit under this president until he leaves office.

Q: You said yesterday it required a willing suspension of disbelief. Meaning that you questioned either his veracity or his judgment in what he said.

A: No, what I said was meant to convey my very strong feeling that no matter how flat the pancake, there’ always two sides. The problem is that what the administration’s report intended to do was to take anecdotal evidence and actually gild the lily once again, making it seem as though there had been much more progress than I think you can actually justify.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate Sep 13, 2007

Push Pentagon to start planning for Iraq withdrawal

We need to begin moving our troops out, and we have to do it carefully and responsibly. Moving troops out cannot happen without careful planning, which is why I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to make sure they’re actually planning because they’ve been resistant to doing so.

Secondly, we need much stronger pressure on the Iraqi government than this administration has been willing to bring. And I would certainly condition any aid of any kind on their actually making the political decisions that they have been reluctant and unwilling to do so far. There is no military solution. Everybody agrees with that. And the political solutions seem to be out of the grasp of the Iraqis, because they’re still jockeying for power.

If you look at how we would have to take our troops out, plus the equipment, which we would not want to leave, plus what we do with the Iraqis who sided with us--thousands of them--plus more than 100,000 American contractors who are there--this is a massive, complicated undertaking

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Redeploy responsibly, with regional diplomatic effort

I have a 3-point plan to get out of Iraq, starting with redeploying our troops, but doing it responsibly and carefully, because taking troops out can be just as dangerous as bringing them in. And we’ve got to get out of Iraq smarter than we got in. Secondly, we’ve got to put more pressure on the Iraqi government, including withholding aid from them if they don’t begin to stabilize the country themselves. And thirdly, we need an intensive diplomatic effort, regionally and internationally.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

FactCheck: Correct that DoD has no plan to remove all troops

There was a tiff about just how quickly the Pentagon could get US troops home from Iraq if it were so ordered. Clinton said, “The best estimate is that we can probably move a brigade a month, if we really accelerate it, maybe a brigade and a half or two a month. That is a lot of months. My point is: They’re not even planning for that in the Pentagon.”

Clinton is correct that the Department of Defense has not yet constructed specific plans for a withdrawal from Iraq. In a briefing delivered on May 9, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that the DoD does not in fact have a contingency plan for bringing home all American soldiers at once. That means that there is no official line on how long it would take to redeploy all the troops in Iraq. Privately, military sources agree that it’s impossible to give a realistic estimate without deciding certain parameters such as the acceptable degree of risk for troops that would be withdrawing in the face of an armed enemy.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate Jul 23, 2007

Deauthorize Iraq war, and don’t grant new war authority

The American military has done its job. Look at what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein, they gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections, they gave the Iraqi government the chance to give the people of Iraq a better future.

Now, I see the signs “Lead us out of Iraq now.” That is what we are trying to do. I have joined with Senator Byrd to sponsor legislation to deauthorize this war. The point of our proposal is very simple: To end the president’s authority for the war and force him to seek new authority.

If he thinks that he can get any kind of authority through the Congress, I think that he’s mistaken. But we need to end the authority that he is currently operating under, in order to strip him of the legitimacy of going forward with his policy. When I’m president, we are going to have a different foreign policy. We’re going to start talking to people again. We’re going to start rebuilding our alliances again.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 20, 2007

Phased redeployment, not irresponsible immediate withdrawal

Hillary’s remarks in 2007 struck an array of themes: Bush had mishandled the war; military men & women were doing a fantastic job; troops should be gradually redeployed out of Iraq. She said nothing about her original vote. But she did say she favored capping the troops at their current levels, though she acknowledged it was impractical for Congress to stop the president’s surge. She called for a troop surge to Afghanistan. Hillary also proposed a series of political, military, and economic conditions to be met by the Iraqis and certified by the president. Absent that certification, she proposed cutting off further funding--not to American troops, but to Iraqi security forces and to the contractors guarding Iraqi officials.

She continued to support “phased redeployment,” as opposed to the immediate withdrawal of 50,000 troops proposed by John Edwards, or a dramatic funding cutoff mentioned by others. Her approach, she told a reporter, stemmed from being “cursed with the responsibility gene.

Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p.301-302 Jun 8, 2007

The Iraq war is Bush’s war

The Iraq war is Bush’s war. He is responsible for this war. He started the war. He mismanaged the war. He escalated the war. And he refuses to end the war. We are trying to end the war. And each of us has made that very clear. We have different approaches. I have a three-step plan to bring the troops home starting now, put pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility, and cut off aid when they won’t, and engage in intensive diplomacy regionally and internationally.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Bush misused authorization for war

antiwar voices from both the Left and the Right demanding the president seek congressional authority before proceeding. He did so. The measure was entitled, “A Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.” Nothing ambiguous about it--and Hillary voted for it.

Now Hillary claims she didn’t believe that she was voting for war. She doesn’t defend her vote or call it a mistake. She wants to blame it on someone else--because Bush misled her.

Source: The Extreme Makeover, by Bay Buchanan, p. 86 May 14, 2007

This war is up to Iraqi people to win or lose, not the US

Q: Harry Reid recently said the war in Iraq is lost. Some call his comments treasonous. Do you agree with the position of your Senate leader?

A: The American people have spoken. The Congress has voted, as of today, to end this war. And now we can only hope that the president will listen. I’m very proud of the Congress under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid for putting together a piece of legislation which says we will fund our troops and protect them, we will limit the number of days that they can be deployed, and we will start to bring them home. And I think that is exactly what the American people want. This is not America’s war to win or lose. We have given the Iraqi people the chance to have freedom, to have their own country. It is up to them to decide whether or not they’re going to take that chance.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

Begin re-deployment out of Iraq in 90 days

Q: What is the best and fastest way to get out of Iraq?

A: There are really two different ways of thinking about this: the first, is what we can do while President Bush is still in office, and the second is what I will do when I’m President. First we’ve got to face up to the reality that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating. It is not improving and all the happy talking in the world will not fix the grim reality on the ground. My plan to end the war confronts that reality head-on. I introduced legislation called “Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act.” Under it, we would begin re-deployment of our troops out of Iraq in 90 days. I have been pushing this plan for almost 2 years. The bill would fight the President’s escalation by capping the number of troops in Iraq, it would also prohibit sending more troops to escalate a failed strategy.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by Apr 10, 2007

America elected this Congress to bring our troops home

Congress recently passed historic legislation to both fund our troops and begin a phased re-deployment to bring them home. The President has threatened to veto it. And I have said repeatedly, the American people elected this Congress to bring our troops home, not to send more troops to pursue a failed strategy. I have challenged the President to withdraw this veto threat immediately. So, everyday in the Senate I’m working to change course in Iraq. Following the proposal that I have advocated, moving immediately to begin re-deploying our troops, and putting the pressure on the Iraqis and the countries in the region because it is time, once and for all, to end our involvement in Iraq.
Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by Apr 10, 2007

Online petition to pressure Bush & GOP for redeployment

Q: You recently launched a petition urging President Bush not to veto the Iraq bill and you said we need to “begin phased deployment of the troops out of Iraq.”

A: We need to keep the pressure on Bush not to veto it, which is why I have launched this online petition drive, to have pressure put on Republicans particularly in the Senate, because we have to do everything possible to put pressure on the President so that we can make it absolutely undeniable that we have to reverse course. I think we should let the American people understand, and let President Bush fully understand that it is he who is rejecting the funding. We have passed funding, but we did it within the context of timelines, and if he can be held responsible for vetoing the funding because he will not start to follow the will of the American people, and de-escalate this conflict, and bring our troops home, I think that puts tremendous pressure on Republicans who are going to be running for office again in 2008.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by Apr 10, 2007

If Bush doesn’t end Iraq war, when I’m president, I will

[We need to] end the war in Iraq in the right way. The 2006 elections sent a strong message that we do not want our young men and women in uniform to be in the middle of a sectarian civil war, where they don’t know who is shooting at them, and they can figure out whose side they’re supposed to be on. We’re trying to introduce some rationality in this, in the Congress, trying to stop the escalation because I profoundly believe that putting more of our young men and women into harm’s way-- unless the Iraqis decide to defend themselves--we cannot end this war for them. If they’re not going to stand up and take responsibility, we should not lose another American life. We should end this escalation now.

I hope that the president will extricate us from Iraq before he leaves office. But let me assure you, if you doesn’t, when I’m president, I will.

Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC Mar 14, 2007

Require Bush to redeploy or seek additional authority

I want to start redeploying our troops out of Iraq. Within 90 days, I want to begin the process. And if the president doesn’t comply with the requirements I’ve put forth, then I think we should require that he has to seek additional congressional authority, because it has run out on what George Bush has tried to do in Iraq.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada Feb 21, 2007

Cap troops in Iraq and no more blank check for war

I propose capping the troop levels. I want to make it clear that we need to threaten the Iraqi government, that we’re going to take money away from their troops, not our troops who still lack body armor and armored vehicles; that we’re going to send a clear message that we are finished with their empty promises and with this president’s blank check.
Source: Speech at Democratic National Committee winter meeting Feb 2, 2007

If war not over by 1/2009, as president, I will end it

If I had been president in October of 2002, I would not have started this war. If we in Congress don’t end this war before January 2009, as president, I will!
Source: Speech at Democratic National Committee winter meeting Feb 2, 2007

Cut off funds for Iraqi use, but not for troops

Q (to Sen. McCain): Senator Hillary Clinton says we should not cut off funding for American troops, but cut off funding for the security for Iraqi government officials and cut off funding for the Iraqi army because they simply have not measured up. Would you support her in that effort?

McCAIN: I don’t see any place in the Constitution where that kind of authority is granted to the Congress. The Congress can cut off funding. And if my colleagues believe that they’re going to send young Americans to die in an unwinnable situation, it seems to me that their conscience would dictate that they cut off the funding for the entire effort. This resolution is basically a vote of no confidence in the men and women we are sending over there. We’re saying, “We’re sending you-we’re not going to stop you from going there, but we don’t believe you can succeed and we’re not willing to support that.” I don’t think the troops would find that an expression of support.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Jan 21, 2007

Phased redeployment out of Iraq, beginning immediately

Q: What should be done in Iraq?

A: #1: We need to resolve the political problems in Iraq. They’ve been allowed to fester. How are you going to guarantee the reasonable Sunni majority a place in the government? How are you going to distribute the oil revenue, so people don’t feel that they’re being ripped off? These are key issues for political resolution of sectarian violence. #2: We’ve got to have the regional neighbors involved--with a high-level contact group, where we bring the regional powers together. #3: The President’s strategy has basically been, “Well, when the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down.” Well, the Iraqis have been standing up, but they haven’t been fighting. That’s why we need a phased redeployment--moving our troops out so they have to stand and fight for themselves.

Q: Give us a timetable for that phasing out.

A: When we originally proposed it, we said that 2006 should be a year of transition. We’re running out of time in 2006. I think this needs to be done immediately.

Source: NY 2006 Senate Debate, at University of Rochester Oct 20, 2006

Begin troops withdrawal within 60 days after elected

We’re serving notice on the Maliki government that the blank check they’ve had from Bush is no longer valid. We’re going to have to have intensive diplomatic efforts. I don’t think anyone can predict what the consequences will be. We have to be ready for whatever they might be. We have to figure out what to do with the 100,000-plus American civilians who are there working at the embassy, not-for-profits or businesses, and all the Iraqis who sided with us, like the translators who helped the Marines in Fallujah whom I met, who said they wouldn’t have survived without them. Are we going to leave them? This is a complicated enterprise, so it has to be done right. Last spring, I began demanding that the Bush administration tell us whether they were undertaking the kind of planning necessary for the withdrawal. Clearly, they’re not. As soon as I am elected, I will task [senior military and] security advisers to provide such a plan and to begin to execute it within 60 days.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate Jan 6, 2006

Withdraw troops within 60 days after taking office

The purpose of the surge was to create the space & time for political reconciliation, for the Iraqi government to do what only it can do & trying to deal with the myriad of unresolved problems that confront it. We have the greatest military in the world. We send in more of our troops, they will be able to dampen down the violence. But there has not been a willingness on the part of the Iraqi government to do what the surge was intended to do, to push them to begin to make the tough decisions. In the absence of that political action, 23 Americans dying in December is totally unacceptable. There is no more cause for us to be there if the Iraqis are just not going to do what they need to do to take care of their own country. It’s time to bring our troops home & to bring them home as quickly and responsibly as possible. I don’t see any reason why they should remain beyond today. Bush doesn’t intend to bring them home. I have said when I’m president I will. Within 60 days, I’ll start that withdrawal
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate Jan 6, 2006

Agrees with Newt Gingrich that Iraq policy is a mess

Newt Gingrich said the administration has failed “to put the Iraqis at the center of this equation. The key to defeating the bad guys is having enough good guys who are Iraqis,” he said. The administration did not send enough Iraqi Americans there after the war, Gingrich said.

Hillary Clinton, who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, said she agreed with Gingrich. She blamed the administration for “miscalculation” and “inept planning” in Iraq. “I do think we need more troops” in Iraq, Clinton said. She said she believes in giving the chief executive the authority to wage war, as her husband did in Bosnia and Kosovo. “But I regret the way the president has used the authority.” Clinton dismissed complaints that she should not have criticized President Bush while in Iraq and blamed a “right-wing apparatus.” Clinton said she was merely responding to questions from U.S. troops. “I’m not going to lie to an American soldier,” she said on CBS.

Source: Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, Page A07, on Obama Cabinet Dec 8, 2003

Urged President to veto UN condemnation of Israel

LAZIO: When the US failed to use its veto, in the UN Security Council [which condemned Israel’s response to Palestinian protests] - that was one of the great mistakes of the last few years, and I spoke out immediately. I’m sure that Mrs. Clinton had a chance to speak with the president about this, to urge him not to use that veto. I would love to know what the context of the discussion was.

Q: Did you urge him to use it?

CLINTON: That was what I urged my husband to do. He made a different decision

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC Oct 28, 2000

US should have vetoed biased anti-Israel UN resolution

Q: Did the U.S. do right to abstain from the UN’s anti-Israel resolution?

CLINTON: We should have vetoed it. It was one-sided. It did not address the violence that I believe is fomented by Arafat. It did not address what Israel has tried to do, such as pulling out of Lebanon. We’re seeing the capture of Israeli soldiers, the desecration of Joseph’s tomb. It’s imperative that Arafat end the violence and get back to negotiating. The US remains the guarantor of Israel’s security, and in the Senate, I would certainly be a strong voice for doing whatever was required. I’ve also called for conditioning aid to the Palestinians on their willingness to end violence, on their willingness to rid their textbooks of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements.

LAZIO: I did issue a statement immediately expressing my strong disappointment with America not using its veto power. I do not support call for a Palestinian state. My record is one of 100% consistency for the security of the state of Israel.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan Oct 8, 2000

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