Reading the Fine Print
Another week of our Residual Troop Watch has passed with no specifics from the presidential “frontrunners” on their plans – but Senator Clinton sure had a lot to say this morning on her multiple big media appearances. While the headlines speak of her plans to “end funding for the war,” her full comments are more informative.
On Face the Nation she said “there would be a continuing American military presence in Iraq:”
Clinton said she recognized “there will be remaining missions” for American forces in Iraq, but she said they would not require the roughly 100,000 troops expected to be in Iraq when the next president takes office. She listed counterterrorism, protecting U.S. personnel and training Iraqi forces as the other missions.
“That’s the right way to go because that is a much clearer definition of what we’re trying to accomplish than what we face today,” Clinton said.
Bloomberg reports that in her ABC appearance “Clinton said she couldn’t promise to bring all U.S. troops home in her first term if she is elected president.”
Interesting eh? As David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, noted on Face the Nation Clinton’s position is not all that far from George Bush’s:
“It’s a very small difference, and when you tick off the tasks she said the troops would do while she was president – if that happened – counterterrorism, protection of the Kurds, training of the Iraqi army and then protecting us against Iran, that’s a big set of tasks,” Sanger said. “And it’s very hard when you talk to Pentagon people to have them figure out how you do that with fewer than 100,000 troops.”
Oh, and in case we had thought she supported MoveOn, Senator Clinton also had some things to say – first on Meet the Press:
“I think it’s important that we end these kinds of attacks on the patriotism of those who serve our country,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “This is not a debate about an ad. This is a debate about the direction we should pursue in Iraq.”
and then on … Fox News:
WALLACE: President Bush said that you and other Democrats are more afraid — his word — afraid of irritating the left wing and MoveOn than you are about insulting the American military. Does he have a point?
H. CLINTON: No, he doesn’t. But I think it’s clear I don’t condone attacks on anyone who has served our country with distinction and with honor, and I have been very vocal in my support of and admiration for General Petraeus.
I did vote for a resolution that made it clear I do not condone and do condemn attacks on any American, impugning their patriotism, and that includes people like Senator Max Cleland and Senator John Kerry.
I think we need to call a halt to any kind of attacks, from wherever they come, that would go after anyone based on their service to America.
WALLACE: (snip) So let me ask you specifically. Do you repudiate the MoveOn.org ad?
H. CLINTON: I have said, and I have voted for, condemning anyone who goes after the patriotism and service of any American.
But let’s put this in a broader context. You know, there are many people who have assaulted over the years the patriotism and service of other Americans. I think it’s time to end all of that.
And what I voted for in the Senate did that. It was balanced and it said, very clearly, we condemn attacks on anyone who has served honorably in our country’s uniform. And I am absolutely of the mind that this should not be part of our debate.
While our politicians condemn ads instead of the continuation of the occupation, a new danger has been added to the lives of the people of Iraq. The WHO reports that Cholera is spreading throughout Iraq. The team at GorillasGuides are providing daily updates of this horrific development – you can read them all here. Note the comments from Maryam, the Iraqi pediatric oncologist who visited with us this summer:
I am desperately concerned also by the water supply situation. Since they were bombed by the Americans during the 1991 war the water treatment plants throughout Irak have limped along. Their degradation was further worsened by the adamant refusal of the UN during sanctions to allow the plant and supplies needed to repair them to be imported. There has been no serious attempt made to repair water treatment plants in Irak although many no-bid contracts were dished out to large and politically well connected American firms who took the money and left.
Those plants that are operating operate irregularly and frequently at drastically reduced capacity because they either cannot get the fuel they need to run their generators or if they depend on national grid they get at most a few hours electricity a day.
Additionally they cannot get adequate supplies of Chlorine. Basrah for example has now run out of Chlorine. There have been many statements about plans to ensure the security of Chlorine deliveries from the green zone government but so far little or no Chlorine.
These factors are particularly worrying as they could lead to the formation of biofilms in the pipes carrying water. Bacteria in biofilms are far more resistant free-floating bacteria both to antibiotics and to disinfectants such as Chlorine.
You can help – and help is desperately needed – with contributions to the Red Crescent – click on “Iraq Humanitarian Crisis” to direct your donation to the IFRC teams who are trying to get chlorine and water treatment filters to Iraqi communities – and by demanding once again that our representatives take action to protect the lives of the Iraqi people.
Photo: A man sifts through the rubble of a destroyed house after a U.S. raid in Mussayab near Hilla, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, September 22, 2007. Seven people were killed and 12 others were arrested during a raid conducted by U.S. forces in Mussayab on Saturday, police said. REUTERS/Ibrahim Sultan (IRAQ)