[Marxism] H. Clinton: "We need more troops" in Iraq, Afghanistan (and maybe draft)
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Mar 3 02:14:00 MST 2004
The following letter appeared on the Change-Links list based in Los
Last Wednesday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New
York) delivered an important keynote speech on U.S.
foreign policy before the Brookings Institution, a
liberal Washington, D.C. based think tank, where she
hinted, among other things, that the thirty year old
concept of maintaining an "all-volunteer professional
military" is pretty much obsolete.
"[I]n the new Global War on Terror," said Senator
Clinton, "our military forces are being stretched too
We have to move, in my view, from a conception
of fighting two wars in two theaters to a
mix of troops that is able to fight terror
using various combinations of forces as the
situation requires, while maintaining sufficient
capability to deter nations like North Korea
from provoking a crisis. That means, more,
not fewer troops. That's why I've joined
Senator Jack Reed and Senator Chuck Hagel
And others to push for a larger army. It is
just recognizing the reality that we are above
authorized levels and there's no real end in
sight for the continuing stresses and
expectations that our Army, in particular,
is going to be expected to meet.
Senator Clinton said U.S. military commitments in
Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere have "dramatically
stressed our guard and reserve and ... when we finish
this troop rotation that's going on now, 44 percent of
our force will be guard and reserve and, you know,
it's just not sustainable." She added that "if we're
going to have, as broad-based a theater as the
administration believes the war on terror suggests, we
don't have the ongoing manpower, and you know that a
lot of our troops are still in because of stop-loss
In regards to the situation in post-war Iraq, the
Senator pointed out that that the Bush administration
hasn't sent "enough troops to do the post-military stabilization and
security mission," thus jeopardizing the ability of the United States to
control that country in the future. In other comments, she suggests that
the President's reluctance to send more troops might have more to due
with the fact he's in a rush to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis and
"is anxious to get out."
"With respect to Afghanistan we've made the same
mistake," said Senator Clinton. "We [have] fewer
troops in Afghanistan than we had law enforcement at
the Olympics in Salt Lake City, and, you know, we are
no, by no means able to really support the Karzai government..."
In her closing remarks, Senator Clinton said an
"all-volunteer professional military .... raises
serious questions in a democracy, you know, both by
how we define ourselves, what the real risks
associated, both politically and military with taking
action might be." She urged that in this election
year, a "vigorous debate [be waged] about the future
of the military in this country."
Duane J. Roberts
duaneroberts92804 at yahoo.com
Transcript of Senator Clinton's speech available at:
Clinton questions future of volunteer army
Senator wants debate on size, composition of military
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
Updated: 3:40 p.m. ET Feb. 25, 2004
WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said
Wednesday the all-volunteer military "raises serious
questions in a democracy, both (about) how we define
ourselves (and) what the real risks politically and
militarily of taking action might be."
The all-volunteer force may make it "easy for
decision-makers just to try to keep it out of sight
and out of mind," she said in a speech to the foreign
policy think-tank the Brookings Institution in
Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Service
Committee, called for a vigorous election-year debate
about the future size and composition of the U.S.
The New York Democrat did not call for a revival of conscription, which
ended 30 years ago, but said the all-volunteer nature of the military
hides from the public the costs of overseas actions.
Clinton urged an increase in the size of the Army,
supporting a proposal by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to
expand the Army by 10,000 soldiers.
Noting that she had conducted a tour of U.S.
deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq last November, she
said there are not enough American troops in either
Clinton said U.S. officers in Iraq had specifically
told her that they did not have enough troops to
accomplish their mission.
"Off the record, they'll tell you they don't have
enough and have never had enough," she said.
She also complained that "we have fewer troops in
Afghanistan than we had law enforcement (officers) at
the Olympics in Salt Lake City."
And she blamed European countries that are members of
NATO for not contributing the troops they have
promised to maintain order in Afghanistan. She
described the attitude of NATO members as "a little
bit of pique" and paraphrased their thinking as "oh,
you really need us now? We're going to make you really
sweat for it."
As for Iraq, Clinton accused Bush and his advisers of
"a rush to turn over the helm to anyone" in Iraq. "The administration's
policy seems in disarray except for their commitment to the date of July
She urged Bush to "consider delaying a transfer of
sovereignty to the Iraqis for a few months at least."
But Bush and his aides are, she charged, "anxious to
Clinton said that before the United States transferred sovereignty to
Iraqis, the Bush administration should have an idea of whether the new
government would be Islamic or secular.
"We should not adhere slavishly to an artificial
deadline decided for whatever reason in Washington if
it risks chaos and unraveling in Iraq," she declared.
Clinton also saw a likelihood that the new Iraqi
government would repress women's rights which, she
said, had been expanded by Saddam Hussein.
"I have been deeply troubled by what I hear coming out
of Iraq. When I was there and met with women members
of the national governing council and local governing
councils in Baghdad and Kirkuk they were starting to
express concerns about some of the pullbacks in the
rights they were given under Saddam Hussein," she
'On paper, women had rights'
"He was an equal opportunity oppressor, but on paper,
women had rights. They went to school, they
participated in the professions, they participated in government and in
business; as long as they stayed out of his way, they had considerable
freedom of movement."
She said now the Iraqi governing council is
"attempting to shift large parts of civil law into
religious jurisdiction. This would be a horrific
mistake - and especially for it to happen on our
Clinton said the United States as the occupying power
must not "become the vehicle by which women's rights
in Iraq are turned back."
The New York senator recalled earlier Democratic
criticism of Bush administration planning for the
post-war phase of the operation to topple Saddam's
Prior to last year's U.S. invasion of Iraq, "not only
were I and other members of Congress raising questions
about a plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, we now know many
in the administration raised similar questions,"
Clinton said, adding that CIA experts and others in
the administration predicted "all the problems we are
now witnessing in Iraq."
She said, "When I was in Iraq, I don't think I met
with any Iraqis who did not ask me, 'How could you
have let the looting go on?'"
C 2004 MSNBC Interactive
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