In Des Moines visit, Clinton demands change in Iraq

Corey Aldritt

Presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., spoke Tuesday about her three-step plan to end the war in Iraq in the Grand Ballroom of the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines.

“Today, President Bush will speak once again to the nation about Iraq,” Clinton said. “Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war, not next year, not next month, but today.”

Clinton said if she were elected president, she would begin bringing troops home in her first 60 days.

“We have heard for years now that as the Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down,” Clinton said. “Every year, we hear about how next year they may start coming home. Now we are hearing a new version of that very familiar song from the president. He claims that we can, with slight adjustments, stay the course. There are more troops in Iraq today than ever before.”

Bringing home the troops is Clinton’s first step in her three-step plan.

“The most important part of my plan is the first one,” Clinton said. “End our military engagement in Iraq’s civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home as quickly and carefully as possible.”

Clinton said the United States has found out in the last four years that it is unable to police another country’s civil war. She said Iraq is now responsible for its own civil war.

“The second part of my plan involves working to secure stability in Iraq,” Clinton said. “Right now the Iraqi government is failing the citizens.”

Clinton said Iraqi government officials are refusing to take the steps needed to advance a political system.

“Financial resources will only go where they can be used properly,” Clinton said. “We will no longer borrow money to those government administers that hoard it, steal it or waste it.”

Clinton’s final step in her plan is to replace military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq’s future.

“In my first days in office, I’ll begin working in convening a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers and all of the states bordering Iraq,” Clinton said. “The mission of this group will be to develop and implement a strategy to create a stable Iraq.”

Clinton said if Bush does not end the war, she will.

“If the president refuses to end this war before he leaves office, when I’m president I will,” Clinton said. “Quickly, responsibly and in a way that will support, not weaken America’s leadership in the world.”

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack introduced Clinton to the crowd.

“She’s visited Iraq, she’s visited the troops,” Vilsack said. “She knows that they have done their job. She knows that the failure has been a failure of presidential leadership.”