Monday, January 29, 2007
Clinton: Bush should be 'subtracting' troops from Iraq

Sen. Hillary Clinton, Democrat of New York.

Excerpts from Anderson Cooper's interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Brooke Army Medical Center today in San Antonio, Texas.

On leaving Iraq:

ANDERSON COOPER: You said this weekend that the president is responsible to extricate the United States (from Iraq). You said it would be irresponsible not to. Do you mean U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq by the time the next administration comes to power?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: ...This was his war. He conceived it poorly. He executed it incompetently. He's pursuing a strategy that's more of the same. I see no change in direction. And that's what I've been calling for. I want to begin a phased redeployment of our troops.

I think there are still vital national interests in Iraq, particularly in Al Anbar Province, where we're fighting insurgents, particularly against Iran trying to extend its influence, particularly in the north. We have to work with Kurds to make sure they're able to continue building a better future. I just don't see that the present strategy is working or workable. I really don't understand how he's just so willing to pass this on without understanding what needs to be done to change direction to whoever comes after him.

COOPER: Extricate ... you think they should be out?

CLINTON: You know, it's problematic to set a deadline. I'd like to see a process. I'd like to see a strategy that is moving toward us beginning to move our troops, as I've called for over a year-and-a-half.

COOPER: You called for a cap. Obama [called for a cap]. Critics say if you believe there haven't been enough heretofore, what does capping do?

CLINTON: Well, cap is meant to send a signal, as is our effort to get a resolution of disapproval that he no longer has political support in the country or the congress for pursuing this policy. The cap is to literally cap the number of troops so that we can begin redeploying them out of Iraq. And we've got to start somewhere. And this gives us a way of making the argument that this president shouldn't be adding troops. He should begin subtracting troops. Now I'm a realist, and I know that we're still fighting to get just the resolution of disapproval through the congress on a bipartisan basis, but I think it's important to start laying down these markers and send this signal to the White House, to this president and this vice president.

On taking care of wounded soldiers:

COOPER: This center cost $50 million. American citizens, some giving a dollar here, others large donation, have given a lot. It says a lot about the American people. What does it say about the government?

CLINTON: That's a really good question, Anderson. Obviously, we're unique in America because we have the partnership between our government and our citizens unlike anyone anywhere in the world. And we do meet needs that are not gonna be met. But this doesn't relieve the government responsibility for doing everything we can to fund the VA, to make sure every VA in the country is ready to prepare a welcome with the services that are necessary. So one of the reasons that I fight to get VA funding is because that is national obligation. But what the Fisher family and 600,000 donors decided to do was to speed the process. Unfortunately it takes a long time to get things done in our govt.

COOPER: Money has been earmarked for Walter Reed facility that hasn't been built.

CLINTON: In fact, there's even talk about closing Walter Reed. So we don't have facilities in place to deal with more than nearly now 23,000 wounded coming out of these conflicts. This is a great facility, where we are right now, the Fisher houses are really a truly private philanthropy that is to set up these living quarters so that families can come and be near their loved ones when they're recuperating. I've met a lot of families who've been living in Fisher houses for a year, year-and-a-half, because it takes that long. So we have this partnership, but that doesn't mean we should let government off the hook.

COOPER: We're not ready to meet the needs of our servicemen and women?

CLINTON: No, we're not.
Posted By CNN: 6:21 PM ET
Excuse me, but Pres. Mr. Clinton had a very poor recorded of funding the VA. Going forward, I do believe that Rummy's BRAC passed through the AS Comm. and floor and passed. As I recall Walter Reed was to be closed and combined with the Navy's Bethesda facility. Of all the 'crap' in BRAC, this was one of the few 'improvements' as Walter Reed was too small and needing up-dating to provide care. Not sure, but the usual is to pass such legislation without the appropriate funding. Can Sen. Mrs. Clinton address this?
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 6:44 PM ET
Thank goodness someone has some sort of sense!!!
Posted By Anonymous Shruti Bala, Glendale, AZ : 7:05 PM ET
How refreshing to hear someone talk about the Iraq war who has good sense.
GO HILLARY '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 7:07 PM ET
For Clinton..So as President you'd start pulling our troops out of Iraq. How would you go about getting our troops jobs and the help they need to adjust back to their lives again? Do you think Iran would start causing the U.S. problems if we did pull out of Iraq, and if so how would you handle it? Right now America really needs a strong leader, someone who can regain the people's trust again, someone who can reach out to other Countries and settle differences. Is this all something you could deal with?

How do you feel about the U.S. having a National Health care plan? There are millions of people including elderly suffering due to not having proper or in many cases no health care.

Shirl Greene
Posted By Anonymous Shirl Greene, Espanola, Ontario, Canada : 7:16 PM ET
maybe the american people should also "subtract" some senators
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 8:00 PM ET
Ay individual wanting to be the President of the United States must be willing to accept what they inherit from the previous adminstration. A great leader is one willing to tackle any issue put before him/her. To assume that all negative or unpopular issues should be eliminated before the next admistration is in power is ludicrous. It's time for the "professional" politicians to quit playing Democrat, Republican, and let's blame The President sided games. It's time for both parties to work together resolving issues that affect our great nation.
Posted By Anonymous Gigi Hensley, Albuquerque, NM : 8:37 PM ET
By overthrowing Saddam Hussein's Sunni government, President Bush has made Iran the most powerful country in the Middle East. We are sending more troops to help the Shiite, Iran backed governement in Iraq, which does nothing but make Iran even more stronger. Our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war between the Sunni's and Shiite's, and both the Republicans and Democrats are backing the wrong government, the wrong side. We should be backing the Sunni's. The Sunni's control governments in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria. 3/4 are U.S. Allies. Shiite's control Iraq now and Iran. We are currently backing the wrong side in Iraq. We need to pull our troops back to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and provide economic, monetary, and military support for the Sunni's. Our allies are Sunni's, not Shiite's. The previous mentioned allies then would provide military support to the Sunni's. They would also provide monetary support to help rebuild Iraq once the Sunni's are victorious. With the previous plan, Iran is weakened, our oil supply is safe, our diplomatic presence in the region is strengthened, and our troops our safe. The U.S. then could deploy more troops to fight real terrorists who threaten the safety of the homeland. This is the only plan that will work in Iraq, and I don't believe I have had heard either party get it right yet!
Posted By Anonymous Brian Columbus, Ohio : 8:45 PM ET
As far as "how would Clinton get jobs for soldiers coming back from Iraq?"---this takes care of itself: if they are Reservists, they have their job (by law) when they come home from war--employers have to hold their job for them. As for full-time soldiers, our state of Illinois here has offered jobs to any returning soldiers--asked them to apply to work on Illinois roads, that they will give preference to soldiers returning, because those soldiers have combat experience/have proven high-stress experience, and the state of Illinois wants that experience.

I feel that Clinton does not have to/should not have to, explain what she says (i.e. "in reference to "bad, evil men" statement) all the time, and be scrutinized because she is a woman---would we do the same for a male candidate, and.....would they explain themselves? Probably not.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Peoria, The Great State of Illinois : 8:46 PM ET

How could any american trust a candidate that changes her mind back and forth to suit the political climate of the day? With so much at stake and US troops on the line , can she give a descriptive/ comprehensive solution to at least ending the violence between Suni/Shia's these wanna be leaders lack substance and purpose, would she defend our democracy in the face of a nuclear confrontation or another domestic attack by terrorists? these candidates running for office better understand the global implications of I can't make up my mind" Or hmmmm.. what do americans want to hear?

Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose, Ca : 8:57 PM ET
All I can say is, it's going to be a long, long, two years. I will wait until the debates to consider all their words. Until then, in my opinion, it's just fingernails going down a chalkboard. Where's my earplugs..News on our troops, now that's a topic I wish we had more of every day of the week. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 9:29 PM ET
I'm voting for Hillary. someone has to get us out of this horrible mess. when you have a family member in the service. You really know what this is about. I think the solution is simple. Keep some troops in some bases, finance the iraqui army and police so they have good weapons and let them figure things out. there is no way we're getting a democracy in Iraq. whoever decided that was. a good idea its a extremely ignorant. (yes I'm speaking of the DECIDER)
Posted By Anonymous ludin somoza atlanta georgia : 11:20 PM ET
I agree with Senator Clinton to include the the international community as part of the solution to end of the Iraq War. The current administration has closed down any point of view beyond its own agenda.

So, how can the international community...even the bad guys, says Senator Clinton...aid in ending or stabilizing this brutal war? I would like to hear more details from Senator Clinton. And for the next two years, is that an option?

The Intrepid Center appears to be the state-of-the-art facility for our wounded troops. I did hear Anderson question both Senator Clinton and McCain about the private funding versus government funding for this facility. It shows again how the American people do come through whether it is with the Fisher Houses, Intrepid Center or volunteers for New Orleans. It is nice to know that this country is still made of "we the people...not we the government."
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Milwaukee, Wisconsin : 11:29 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
I am a retired veteran. I was ashamed and embarrassed serving under commander in chief Clinton in the early '90s and I feel certain current military personnel would feel the same under his wife Hillary. How can our great country even consider for one minute to put the reverse cuckold wife of the president who shamed America by his sexual indiscretions among other things. And she's still married to him! Please wake up, America.
Posted By Anonymous Lori Jenkins, Ret. Air Force, San Marcos, Texas : 12:30 AM ET
It sounds like a war engaged by United States is the project of the president during his term, and he should therefore end it when he leaves office. If any person is not prepared to face the problems when he assumes the presidency, he should not run for the post. The suggestion by the democrate nominee-hopeful is most irresponsible.
Posted By Anonymous Loh Meng Kow, Malaysia : 2:35 AM ET
Let's keep Hillary Honest. If Bill had done his job of protecting this country while he was in office, OBL would either be dead or captured. It is a know and proven fact that even Bill admitted to be the truth on several occasions.

Another thing why are you not keeping them honest on the Sandy Burger fiasco? It is time for Congress to haul him into chambers and grill him so we will know what really happened and why it happened. Do we need a Special Prosecutor to handle this because Congress will not do their job? If you or I had pulled the trick old Sandy did we would go "under the jail" we would be in so much trouble. Old Sandy is getting off with a "fine." Give me a BREAK!

Anderson, keep all sides honest! There is much to do on both sides of the aisle in that department. Why is Old Sandy better than any ordinary citizen?

I watch your show every night. It is usually the late version.

I worked and lived in Rochester, NY @ 415 West Main Street and lived in Rochester (Chili) for seven years. I lived there when Bill and Hillary moved to NY. The politics of New York are just like Arkansas. NW NY is more Republican, NW Arkansas is more Republican, NYC is more Democratic, and Little Rock and South are the same as NYC. That is why the Clinton's fit so well there, just as the Rockefeller's fit so well here. NW Arkansas looks just like the Finger Lakes Area, just not as cold in winter and hotter in summer. I managed 12 men, no women, when I first got to Rochester. One of the first items that was pointed out to me was NY has "four seasons." Well, after being there for a year or so I had so much fun letting the guys know that NY has "two seasons." Winter/Summer, with winter the long 9 months of the year! Winter here is about 3 months, 9 months in NY, spring is 3 months, 4-6 weeks in Up State NY, summer is 4 months in AR, 3 months in NY, with Fall in Arkansas for 2 months, 4 - 6 weeks in NY. I loved NY but I always knew I was coming "home" to my hills in Arkansas. There are pros and cons to both places actually.

I love Arkansas but I do so miss Wegman's!

Melba Boren
Van Buren Arkansas
North West Arkansas - God's Country
Posted By Anonymous M. Boren, Van Buren, AR 72956 : 3:25 AM ET
Sen. Clinton's appearance at the Intrepid was for her poltical career. She should take responsibility for her vote on the war and drop the lame excuse that it was misused. She could learn a lesson from our military, Country before Self!
Posted By Anonymous Donna Checa Massillon, Oh : 5:28 AM ET
Hillary could learn a few lessons in regards to our military from John McCai
Posted By Anonymous Donna Checa Massillon Oh : 9:04 AM ET
As much as I would love to see a woman as President, Sen. Clinton is not the one for the job. A back peddling, fence hopping, harpy who tells people what they want to hear is not the right person for the presidency. We need a strong no-holds-barred leader. She's not it. She does not have America's interests at heart. She belongs to a party that is starting to look and sound quite a bit like communism. Take a look at Eastern Europe and see how well that went for them.
Posted By Anonymous Rebekah R. Crosby, TX : 10:03 AM ET
I'm sorry, but did Hillary say something? I can never tell.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Indianapolis, IN : 10:44 AM ET
Very poor questioning from Anderson Cooper. Anderson, Senators have equal - yes, equal - responsibility in declaring war and waging war. Sen. Clinton's comments during the run-up to war left no doubt that she believed - not just from the intelligence given to her by the executive branch - Iraq was a threat and had to be taken out. As for Iraq being Bush's war and thus 'extrication' should be complete at the end of his term: this is beyond naive and it is beyond unprofessional for 'journalists' like Cooper to not call seasoned politicians like Clinton on this. Perhaps next time you should ask her when did the last troops leave Bosnia? We still have troops there!
Posted By Anonymous RB, Miami, FL : 11:31 AM ET
Will the REAL Hillary please stand up! Does she expect us to believe what she is saying now or what she said before? Power is what she is interested in, not the best thing for the U.S.A.
Posted By Anonymous Susan Jones, Wyoming : 11:31 AM ET
Oh Heavens Lori Jenkins! If you think Bill's "sexual indiscretions" are even in the same ballpark of horrific acts that the bush admin has gotten us into you may need to turn off fox news for a minute! I cant see how anybody in their right mind could say what Bill did was worse than the murder bush and his evil cronies have committed upon thousands of innocents. I also served under President Clinton, in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, and in Kuwaiit. And can you guess how many men we lost in all of those conflicts conbined? Ill give you a hint: it rhymes with hero. And thats what Mr Clinton was, and what I believe his wife will become in 08. Murderers should never be president. He belongs in Gitmo just like all the other terriorists. And unfortunately most of the inmates there are not even terrorists!
Posted By Anonymous nathan karczewski, junction city, KS : 1:56 PM ET
I would love to know - Crosby TX- just how the democratic party is now looking like communism???? What does this current administration look like to you? So, if you manipulate evidence to go to war with a country and then no matter what anyone says continue the war, continue on the same failing path no matter what and without the support of the rest of the country..... what does that look like to you? It looks like a dictatorship to me.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Washington DC : 2:57 PM ET
Unfortunately this debate will continue and more troops will be sent meanwhile.Can Hillary or someone else do something about it before it's too late (loosing more troops??).
Posted By Anonymous Priya Junnarkar, Fremont ,CA : 3:30 PM ET
Wasn't the potential closing of Walter Reed decided during the Bill Clinton Administration?
Posted By Anonymous Sara, Buffalo, New York : 4:01 PM ET
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