Clinton on Iraq
January 17th, 2007
New York’s junior senator – and one of the state’s several presidential contenders –went on news programs this morning to issue her latest statement on Iraq following the president’s speech last week calling for more troops and her own visit to Iraq over the weekend. As the Daily Politics notes, Hillary Clinton opposed Bush’s “escalation” (her word) and instead wants to cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at the January 1 level, impose more conditions on the Iraqi government for continued assistance and “eventually” (no timetable here) redeploy our troops out of Baghdad and Iraq so they will not be “in the midst of a civil war.” This afternoon, CNN reports that Clinton will introduce a bill setting a limit on troop levels in Iraq and setting conditions on funding for the Iraqi mlitary.
In refusing to set a timetable or support efforts to block funding for the deployment of additional troops, Clinton distanced herself from positions taken “by many antiwar Democrats who are expected to be a force in the presidential primaries, and by at least one likely rival in 2008, former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina,” the New York Times notes.
All for the good, according to Take Back the Times, which praises Clinton for “a reasonably centrist position” on Iraq. “She does not favor a withdrawal from the Middle East and has adopted a realistic position toward the Maliki government and its persistent support of sectarian violence in Iraq,” the blog says.
But such praise was rare. Say Anything charges, “Clinton is willing to have the troops currently in Iraq fight and die for our mission there, but she’s not willing to send in more troops to back them up so that we can actually complete the mission.” And Newsmanbook sees trouble for Clinton in her support for the war – unlike Edwards, say, she has never renounced her support for it or said it was a bad idea from the get go. “The [Democratic] base is definitely against the war in Iraq. The polls and the last Congressional election show that the vast majority of the American people are against the war now,” he comments. Writing on the Huffington Post, Robert Scheer complains, “The fact that Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, the leading Democratic candidate, still can’t or won’t take a clear stand on the occupation is insulting to the vast majority of voters who have.” MetaDC agrees: “Clinton is rapidly losing her chance to win the Democratic nomination for president. Without a coherent strategy for getting us out of the Iraq quagmire, she simply is not a credible candidate.”
For more on Hillary Clinton and the other presidential contenders from New York, see Gotham Gazette’s Hillary, Rudy, And George, But Not Mike ( Or So He Says).By Gail Robinson on January 17, 2007, 4:41 pm
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