WASHINGTON (CNN) -- If elected president, Sen. Hillary Clinton said, she would likely keep some U.S. forces in Iraq in a supporting role after 2009 because America has "a remaining military as well as a political mission" that requires a presence there.
However, in an interview with The New York Times published Thursday, Clinton said the American troops would not play a role in trying to curb sectarian violence.
Rather, they would be positioned north of Baghdad to combat terrorists, support the Kurds, counter any Iranian moves into Iraq and provide logistical, air and training support to the Iraqi government "if the Iraqis ever get their act together."
"If there is not any political resolution, the civil war will continue and we need to get out of the way," she told the Times. (Watch how Americans think the war is going )
Clinton aides say her comments are consistent with a broader plan by Democrats in Congress to begin redeploying combat troops, with the goal of having U.S. forces out of Iraq by March 2008. However, some political analysts say her support for a continued presence in Iraq could touch a raw nerve with anti-war Democrats.
"They're really not sure that she's with them on Iraq and other issues," said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "So they're suspicious, and that suspicion shows itself in what they say about her."
In 2002, Clinton voted for a congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq. And although she's become a vocal critic of the way the war has been executed, she has repeatedly refused demands from anti-war Democrats to admit her vote was a mistake, although she has said "knowing what I know now, I would not have voted for it."
Of her two closest rivals for the Democratic nomination, former Sen. John Edwards, has said his vote in favor of the 2002 resolution was a mistake; Sen. Barack Obama was still a state legislator in Illinois at the time of that vote, but he has opposed the war from the beginning.
Wednesday, Obama outlined a plan for maintaining a U.S. presence in Iraq similar to Clinton's.
"Withdrawal would be gradual, and we'd keep some U.S. troops in the region to prevent a wide war, to go after al Qaeda and other terrorists," he said.
The question is whether, given her previous record on Iraq, Clinton's call for continuing a U.S. presence might resonate differently with anti-war activists.
"They are not inclined to cut her much slack," Sabato said. "They are inclined to cut Barack Obama quite a bit of slack and John Edwards some slack as well."
Kerry rejects call for Iraq troop withdrawal
Defeated Democratic candidate on “Meet the Press”By Bill Van Auken
For any of his erstwhile supporters who cling to illusions about what might have been had the vote gone a bit differently on November 2, the defeated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry provided a definitive answer Sunday.Appearing on the NBC television news program “Meet the Press,” Kerry was shown a videotape of his fellow Massachusetts senator, Edward Kennedy, calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, beginning with the immediate removal of at least 12,000.“Do you agree with Senator Kennedy that 12,000 American troops should leave at once?” asked NBC’s Tim Russert.“No,” replied Kerry.“Do you believe there should be a specific timetable of withdrawal of American troops?” Russert continued.“No,” Kerry repeated.The tone of the televised exchange was the exact opposite of ambush journalism. It was evident that Kerry welcomed the opportunity to disassociate himself from Kennedy’s proposal and embrace a policy that, in all essentials, is indistinguishable from that of the Bush administration—one that means US military occupation for years to come.At the same time, the establishment media was anxious to get the Democratic standard-bearer on record, affirming the unity of the two parties of big business on the all-important issue of the continuing war in Iraq.“Now, obviously, you’ve got to provide security and stability in order to turn this over to the Iraqis and to be able to withdraw our troops,” Kerry declared in the interview. Asked if he would vote to approve the Bush administration’s request for $80 billion in additional funding for the Iraq war, he responded, “The likelihood is yes.”Providing “security and stability” is a euphemism for crushing the resistance to US occupation. It means killing thousands upon thousands more Iraqis and sacrificing hundreds, if not thousands, more US soldiers. This is what the $80 billion will pay for.The revealing interview follows the trajectory of the Kerry campaign. The senator won the Democratic primary by posturing as an antiwar candidate and denouncing Bush for “misleading” the American people, but once he emerged as the undisputed front-runner, he rushed to declare his commitment to the occupation, and even condemned the Bush administration for failing to send enough troops.He turned from trying to hoodwink the overwhelmingly antiwar Democratic base to assuring the US ruling elite that he could be trusted to prosecute the war, and do it more competently than the Republican incumbent. In granting the interview, Kerry was merely dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” on the policy that he advanced in the run-up to the election.Now, in defeat, Kerry speaks of the election as a “mandate for unity” and “finding common ground.” That ground, evidently, is to be found on the killing fields of Iraq.Kerry lost the election in November because the Democratic Party was unable and unwilling to offer any genuine alternative to the policies of the Bush administration. The Democratic presidential candidate embraced the fraud of the “global war on terror” and the lie that the colonial war to conquer Iraq and its oil reserves is part of this supposed struggle against terrorism.Interviewer Russert quoted to Kerry an article that appeared in Newsweek magazine citing a post-election meeting of Democratic Party supporters at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington. Kerry, according to the report, “told the group they needed new ways to make people understand they didn’t like abortion. Democrats also needed to welcome more pro-life candidates into the party.” The magazine reported, “[T]here was a gasp in the room.”Asked if the report was accurate, Kerry replied, “It’s pretty accurate, sure.” He went on to say he would support federal legislation to require parental notification of planned abortions, a measure that would drastically undermine abortion rights, threaten the health of minors, and criminalize a legal form of medical care.The lesson drawn by Kerry and other leading Democrats from their defeat in the 2004 election is not to advance a program to counter the reactionary social policies of the Bush administration or end the war in Iraq. Rather, they are convinced that the party must turn even further to the right, competing with the Republicans in the use of “values” demagogy and appeals to religious backwardness.
Now, western fellas! Thanks alot! Anyway, I'm afraid that your protests and demonstrations would turn into a curse on the Iraqi people's future. I don't know how can the withdrawal of the US troops bring the peace on Iraq and take its people to a safe shore?
I think the coalition, including the Americans, should leave when the Iraqi security forces are capable of doing the job on their own. It's ironic that the so-called insurgents' policy of murdering members of Iraq's police force is probably the major factor is keeping foreign troops in Iraq. US troops should stay as long as it takes. Leaving early will cause a civil war and leave Iraq in total ruin. The Bush administration is going to have to cave in and supply more troops or else implement more heavy handed tactics by its current forces in Iraq and by the Iraqi troops. Neither option is politically "correct" so the lesser of two evils must be chosen. Leaving Iraq early will serve to encourage terrorism on a global scale to a degree that is almost too horrible to imagine. Unfortunately, it's impossible to set an exact timetable, too many variables. First, Iraq's own military and police force must be rebuilt before any withdrawal can be contemplated. US withdrawal before accomplishing this would be grossly irresponsible. I would not make too much of the recent opinion poll showing Americans believe the war is a mistake. I believe this to be true but I do not think it changes the fact that America must finish what they started there.Some people might think that it should be replaced by UN troops in order to restore the stability in Iraq. Well, I think the problem is not with the USA. In fact, if we rewind our memories back to the earliest days of Saddam's regime fall, the first bombing attack in Iraq was done by Al-Qaeda targeting the UN building in Baghdad.Believe me, friends! I don't support the occupation. But if the US armed forces have to leave Iraq in these critical moments, the situation will be more chaotic in Iraq. As soon as the US army leaves; Iran will hurry to support the Shiite and try to export thier Islamic revolution to Iraq, hence, KSA and other arab countries will intervene to help and support the Sunnis there in Iraq. In result, the civil war will become a bigger war and soon the whole middle east will be on fire!I want them to leave but not now! Not before establishing strong united goverment, The US should stay until the Iraqi army is strong enough to defend itself against the inflowing streams of incoming dangers.There's an arabic famous proverb which says
إن بعض الشر أهون
which means,Some evil can be milder...