Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited the bellwether state of Iowa last week, where she outlined her most detailed plan for Iraq yet.
In a 40-minute speech, Mrs. Clinton stated that she would begin to withdraw troops from Iraq within 60 days of being elected into the presidential office. She also vowed to improve health care for returning veterans, remain vigilant against terrorism in the Middle East, encourage countries around the world to contribute to a stable Iraq, and to implement a multi-billion dollar campaign to help Iraqi refugees. The former first lady believes that President Bush will not alter his course or strategy on Iraq, clearly supposing that our next president will inherit the burden.
The Washington Post’s op-ed columnist Fred Hiatt agrees with Hillary on this point. But Hiatt has something else to say about Clinton’s speech. “Clinton ascribed to what might be called the consensus, Baker-Hamilton view: Pull out of the most intense combat but remain militarily engaged by going after terrorists, training and advising Iraqi troops, and safeguarding at least some regions or borders.” Hiatt is pointing out the disparity between Clinton’s rhetoric and her true intentions (to keep U.S. military forces in the region to protect our national interests).
Whether or not this disparity exists, I wish to bring to your attention the fact that Clinton addressed a number of important issues in her speech, not least among them the Iraqi refugee issue. (Iraqi refugees are a topic we have frequently blogged about and is an issue we aim to remedy via education and action.) We are not endorsing her campaign (nor anyone else’s for that matter), but we are happy to see Clinton bring up the Iraqi refugees issue. We sincerely hope that it is an indication of the direction that political speeches and action is going.