Hillary Clinton accused opponents Barack Obama and John McCain of being too unreliable and too hawkish, respectively, in a major foreign policy address on the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq war.
Clinton primarily focused on explaining her foreign policy views, but took special care to attack McCain and Obama.
In her speech, delivered Monday morning at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Clinton said McCain would carry out President Bush’s failed war policy if elected in November.
“President Bush is determined to continue his failed policy in Iraq until he leaves office,” Clinton said. “And Senator McCain will gladly accept the torch and stay the course for keeping troops in Iraq for up to 100 years if necessary. They both want to keep us tied to another country’s civil war, a war we cannot win.”
“He’s willing to keep this war going 100 years, you can count on him to do that,” Clinton warned.
While Clinton was making her speech, McCain was touring Iraq. His Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker issued a statement that responded directly to Clinton’s charge McCain would keep troops in Iraq for 100 years—an offhand remark McCain made at a town hall meeting earlier this year seized upon by his anti-war opponents.
Hazelbaker said: “The point that Senator McCain [at the town hall meeting] was making was one about American troop presence versus American combat presence. He was speaking of a post-war scenario, not a hundred year war, when he suggested that the American people could support maintaining a military presence in Iraq should the Iraqi and U.S. governments determine it to be in their mutual interest, just as the U.S. and German, Japanese, and South Korean governments did after conflicts. One would suspect Senator Clinton is aware that American troops have been present peacefully in Germany and Japan for more than six decades.
Clinton said Americans should not trust Obama to become Commander-in-Chief because his former foreign policy adviser, Samantha Powers, had told the BBC in a televised interview his plan for withdrawal would not be workable.
“Another choice is Senator Obama, who has promised to bring combat troops out in 16 months, but according to his foreign policy adviser, you can’t count on him to do that,” Clinton criticized.
Powers recently resigned from the Obama campaign after an interview surfaced in which she called Clinton a “monster.”
Unlike McCain or Obama, Clinton told voters “Here’s what you can count on me to do: provide the leadership to end this war quickly and responsibly.”
Clinton says, as president, she plans to meet defense officials to develop a proposal to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, adopt troop rotation schedules proposed by Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.), remove all private military contractors from Iraq, end no-bid contracts and pressure the Iraq government to spend oil revenues.
She says she will also pursue aggressive diplomatic actions with nations including Iran and Syria, to tell others “it’s time we did our part and paid our fair share.”