While John Edwards is staking out a more anti-war stance in these last days before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton has, if anything, gone back to striking a more cautious tone on the subject of removing troops from Iraq.
She still says that her goal is “bringing our troops home as quickly and responsibly as I possibly can,” but she is not as emphatic about it as she was, for example, in May, when she delivered the line, “If President Bush doesn’t end the war in Iraq before he leaves office, when I’m president, I will.”
In the last couple of weeks, she has been using in speeches some version of what she said today at a church in Indianola, Iowa.
“We need to begin redeploying our troops within 60 days,” Clinton told the audience. “Now some might say well you need to do it immediately you need to get the troops as soon as you’re there. Well, withdrawing troops is dangerous and has to be done carefully.”
She went on, “It’s not only bringing out our sons and daughters in uniform, it is also more than 100,000 American civilians who are there, who are at the embassy or work for non-profit groups, it is also whether or not we are going to do anything about the Iraqis who sided with us.”
She talked about a Marine captain who fought in the battle of Falluja and said, “If it had not been for his Iraq translator as he was leading his men through narrow alleys, up staircases avoiding snipers avoiding bomb rigged building…he doesn’t think he and his men would have survived.”
She continued, “But of course people found out that he was a translator for the Marines, so he and his family were targeted. I don’t think American wants to turn our back on those who helped our young men and women in battle and elsewhere.
“So planning a withdrawal is going to have to be done. I expect I can do everything necessary to start bringing our troops home within 60 days. I think we can bring home one to two brigades a month.”