Hillary Clinton: Maliki government isn't committed to success

Back from Iraq and facing Obama, Clinton calls for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 17, 2007 2:39PM (EST)

Just back from Iraq -- and on the day after Barack Obama announced that he's forming an exploratory committee for a White House run -- Hillary Clinton hit the morning TV shows today to say that she opposes the president's plan for escalating the Iraq war.

Minutes after Bush unveiled his "new way forward" last week, Clinton's office issued a statement in which the senator said that "we desperately need a new course" in Iraq but that she could not support Bush's plan to send more troops. In interviews this morning, Clinton spelled out her views a little more completely. She said that she wants to see an immediate cap on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and then "the beginning of a phased redeployment out of Baghdad and eventually out of Iraq completely." Clinton has called for a phased withdrawal before, but she has resisted any specific timetable for one.

While in Iraq over the long weekend, Clinton met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and top U.S. commanders. She said today that she came away from those meetings believing that "the Iraqi government is not committed to taking the steps both militarily and politically that would help them to gain control over Baghdad and other places in the country."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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