Hillary urges start of Iraq pullout in 90 days
Washington, Feb 18: US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, theearly front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, hascalled for a 90-day deadline to start pulling American troops from Iraq.
Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, has beencriticised by some Democrats for supporting authorisation of the war in2002 and for not renouncing her vote as she seeks the US presidency innext year's election.
''Now it's time to say the redeployment should start in 90 days orthe Congress will revoke authorisation for this war,'' the New Yorksenator said in a video on her campaign Web site, repeating a pointincluded in a bill she introduced on Friday.
In October 2002, Congress authorised President George W Bush totake military action in Iraq before the US-led invasion of March 2003.
Republicans yesterday blocked the Senate from considering anonbinding measure, adopted on Friday by the House of Representatives,denouncing Bush's decision to send another 21,500 US troops to Iraq.
In offering what she called a roadmap out of Iraq, Clinton said avisit there last month had made her more determined to start what shecalled a long overdue withdrawal.
Clinton's bill would cap the number of troops in Iraq at theJanuary 1 level, prior to Bush's decision to add 21,500 to theapproximately 1,30,000 soldiers already there.
The buildup is part of a push to quell growing sectarian violencebut comes as opinion polls show the majority of Americans disapprove ofBush's decision to send more troops.
Clinton's bill would require congressional authorisation to exceed her proposed cap on US soldiers in Iraq.
Bush, announcing the troop increase on January 11, said steppingback prematurely would collapse the Iraqi government, tear the countryapart ''and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale.'' ''IfGeorge Bush doesn't end the war before he leaves office, when I'mpresident, I will,'' Clinton said in the video.
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, another Democratic presidentialhopeful, said last week it was unclear how Clinton planned to end theconflict. Obama has called for a phased withdrawal to be wrapped up bythe end of March 2008.
At a January 17 news conference after visiting Iraq, Clintonrepeated her call for a phased redeployment as a way of pressing theIraqi government to shoulder more responsibility for security. But shestopped short then of proposing a deadline for doing so.