Blog: Why I endorsed Senator Clinton
Friday, 11 January 2008
Many of you have asked me about my endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 Presidential election. My decision to support Senator Clinton in her campaign for the Presidency is based on my belief that she is the candidate best positioned to successfully bring an end to the occupation of Iraq. My bottom line is that the Senator has the commitment, experience, and capability to bring our troops home.
As you know, the most important challenge facing our next President is securing peace in Iraq and the region, a task which requires a leader with the foreign policy experience and credibility to bring all sides together for a comprehensive solution. While all the Democratic candidates are passionate and dedicated to the American people, Senator Clinton is the candidate I believe will most quickly put Iraq on the course towards stability and bring our troops and military contractors home to their families.
In recent correspondence to me, Senator Clinton promised that “the first U.S. soldiers will return home within 60 days of my taking office.” She went on to assure me that “I will oppose and vote against any appropriations bill to fund the war while I serve in the Senate that does not include a requirement to withdraw our troops.” (See below, where I have pasted the text of Senator Clinton's letter.)
Furthermore, in accord with my beliefs, the Senator has emphasized the importance of continuing reconstruction efforts – working multilaterally with our allies and with other nations in the region, including Iran and Syria. We also share a concern for how much this occupation is costing our nation and a desire to see domestic priorities such as health care and education more fully funded.
Although we were on different sides of this issue a few years ago, it is important to select a leader who will now do the right thing. Senator Clinton is that leader. She has recently voted three times to tie funding of the occupation to troop withdrawal and has met with military leaders to develop a plan to bring one to two brigades home each month. I join Senator George McGovern, General William Odom, and other activists with whom I have been working closely in making this endorsement.
With Hillary’s pledge to make ending this war her number one priority as President, I feel confident that I have endorsed the candidate who will best represent my views and those of the American people. . .while having the expertise and experience to actually make it happen.
Senator Clinton's letter to Representative Woolsey
December 22, 2007
It was a pleasure to talk to you the other day. I am grateful for your support. Your endorsement would be a tremendous boost to us at this important moment in the campaign.
I know that you and I agree that we owe it to our troops and owe it to our nation to end the war in Iraq. I pledge to you, as I have pledged to the American people, that my first and highest priority will be to protect our troops and bring them home safely and swiftly. That is how I have voted in the Senate. That is what I will do as President.
There is no military solution to Iraq’s sectarian violence and internal political turmoil. Our brave men and women have done everything we have asked them to do. The best way to honor their service is to bring them home.
When I take office, I will convene my senior national security team and direct them to draft a clear, viable, plan for the safe and swift withdrawal of our troops and military contractors. The first U.S. soldiers will return home within 60 days of my taking office.
As you know, I have tangled with the Pentagon to get them to ready plans for withdrawing our troops and to share those plans with the Congress. Last July, on the basis of my discussions with the military, I said we could withdraw our troops from Iraq at a pace of one to two combat brigades per month. I have voted three times for a timetable for withdrawing our troops, most recently last month, when I voted to redeploy our troops by December 2008. I also recently co-sponsored an amendment, sponsored by Senators Reid and Feingold, which would have required the President to safely redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq within nine months, and would have cut off funding after that.
And as the New York Times reported me as saying the other day, I have said that I believe that we can bring nearly everybody home within a year if we keep at it and do it very steadily. I have also said that I will oppose and vote against any appropriations bill to fund the war while I serve in the Senate that does not include a requirement to withdraw our troops. My resolve to end this war will remain just as firm when I am President.
Even as we withdraw militarily I believe, as you do, that we must reaffirm our commitment to the Iraqi people through bold reconciliation and reconstruction efforts. I am committed to intensifying our diplomacy as we withdraw our armed forces. An unstable, fractured Iraq is certain to fuel greater instability and strife in the region. I recently read reports about Iraqi focus groups, conducted for the U.S. military, which indicated that many Iraqis believe that withdrawing U.S. military forces is a prerequisite to political reconciliation.
As President, I will establish a regional stabilization group composed of all the states bordering Iraq, including Syria and Iran and other key countries, to promote stability, security, and peace. I believe we have a moral responsibility to confront the human costs of this war, particularly the plight of the two million Iraqis who have fled their country and the two million more who have been displaced internally. I have pledged to lead a multibillion dollar effort under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to fulfill that commitment.
I have met with many soldiers and veterans during my three trips to Iraq and I have met with soldiers and veterans throughout New York State and around the country. I have seen the terrible toll this war has taken on our troops and their families. President Bush and the Republican candidates like to cite statistics about how violence in Iraq is down. But the statistic that I believe stands out is that 2007 has been the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Iraq.
As President, I will waste no time. I will end this war responsibly, and as swiftly as possible. I view this as my most important duty to the American people.
Thank you, again, for your tremendous support. And please let me know if I can answer any other questions you may have.
With appreciation I am,
Hillary Rodham Clinton