Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came to Des Moines today to deliver a half-hour speech about Iraq. Clinton promised that if she’s elected president and President Bush hasn’t started withdrawing troops from Iraq, she will put the wheels in motion. She also talked about diplomatic initiatives and dealing with those who’ve fled Iraq to ensure refugee camps don’t become “caldrons of distress and outrage” at the U.S.
“Now, will any of this be easy? Of course not. It’s going to take tremendous discipline, patience and hard work but I believe it can be done,” Clinton said. “We can be a lot smarter about getting out of this war than we were about getting into it.”
Clinton stood behind a sign on the lecturn which read: “The Plan to End the War in Iraq” to deliver her speech. “The catalogue of miscalcultations, misjudgements and mistakes in Iraq shocks the conscience,” Clinton said.
Clinton drew sustained applause when she said the time for ending the war is now. “If the president refuses to end this war before he leaves office, when I’m president I will quickly, responsibily and in a way that will restore, not weaken, America’s leadership in the world,” Clinton said.
Clinton singled out “respected” Republicans senators who have started to publicly raise concerns about President Bush’s policy on Iraq. The crowd of over 350 later rose to their feet to applaud when Clinton talked about an attempt in the senate to “deauthorize” the war, ending the president’s authority.
“I hope and pray that a bipartisan majority of the congress will be able to pursuade or force the president to change course,” Clinton said.
Clinton said in her first 60 days in office she would direct the nation’s military leaders to come up with a detailed plan to bring the troops home from Iraq, as Clinton said such an operation is fraught with complexity and danger.
“We’ve dug ourselves into a pretty deep hole, haven’t we?” Clinton asked the crowd. “But I am confident we can dig ourselves out.”
Clinton called Afghanistan “yet another casualty of the war in Iraq” because the Taliban has regrouped and the drug trade has surged there.