Senator Clinton: If elected president, we will stay in Iraq
Published: Wednesday March 14, 2007
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"Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a 'remaining military as well as political mission' in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced but significant military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military," reports the New York Times.

Clinton said a "scaled-down American military force" would stay in Iraq but off the streets of Baghdad. The force would also not get involved in sectarian violence "even if it descended into ethnic cleansing," write Michael Gordon and Patrick Healy.

Excerpts follow:


The United States’ security would be undermined if parts of Iraq turned into a failed state “that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda,” she said. “It is right in the heart of the oil region. It is directly in opposition to our interests, to the interests of regimes, to Israel’s interests.”

“So I think it will be up to me to try to figure out how to protect those national security interests and continue to take our troops out of this urban warfare, which I think is a loser,” Mrs. Clinton added. She declined to estimate the number of American troops she would keep in Iraq, saying she would draw on the advice of the military officers who would have to carry out the strategy.

Mrs. Clinton has said she would vote for a proposed Democratic resolution on Iraq now being debated on the floor of the Senate, which sets a goal of redeploying all combat forces by March 31, 2008. Asked if her Iraq plan was consistent with the resolution, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers said it was, noting that the resolution also called for “a limited number” of troops to stay in Iraq to protect the American Embassy and other personnel, train and equip Iraqi forces, and conduct “targeted counter-terrorism operation.”