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Sen. Clinton calls for troop cap in Iraq

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070118/ap_on_go_co/clinton2008 Sen. Clinton calls for troop cap in Iraq By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 38
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 17 8:50 PM

      Sen. Clinton calls for troop cap in Iraq

      By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 38
      minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential
      presidential candidate, on Wednesday called for
      capping the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and linking
      funds for Iraqi security forces to the government's
      control of the violence-plagued nation.

      Back from a weekend trip to Iraq and
      Afghanistan, the New York senator also called for
      increasing U.S. forces in Afghanistan, arguing more
      troops are necessary as Taliban forces are waiting to
      attack when weather permits.

      Clinton was quick to seize the spotlight the day after
      Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record)
      took a major step toward entering the 2008 race. She
      made a round of appearances on network television and
      radio and participated in a Capitol Hill news

      Clinton said she would offer legislation that would
      not cut funding to U.S. troops, as some lawmakers
      want, but would, after a six-month time period, cut
      off money for Iraqi troops.

      She said cutting off funds for security forces and
      private security contractors who guard many Iraqi
      leaders would show the U.S. government is serious
      about imposing "real world consequences" to failing to
      reduce the sectarian conflict killing tens of
      thousands civilians a year.

      "I do not support cutting funding for American troops,
      but I do support cutting funding for Iraqi forces if
      the Iraqi government does not meet set conditions,"
      Clinton said, appearing at a news conference with the
      two lawmakers who traveled with her to Iraq and
      Afghanistan, Sen. Evan Bayh (news, bio, voting
      record), D-Ind., and Rep. John McHugh (news, bio,
      voting record), R-N.Y.

      Clinton argued the Bush administration has failed to
      put any real pressure on Iraqi leaders at the same
      time the president is escalating the U.S. commitment
      there by sending 21,500 more troops.

      "I think we will eventually have to move to tougher
      requirements on the administration to get their
      attention," said Clinton, arguing that she wanted "a
      change of course, not adding more troops pursuing a
      strategy that under present circumstances, cannot be

      More than 130,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq.

      White House spokesman Tony Snow dismissed Clinton's

      "The idea of placing a cap on troops — what it does is
      something that no commander in chief would want to
      have, which is it binds the hands of the commander in
      chief and also the generals and frankly also the
      troops on the ground," Snow said.

      Clinton's bill would, if Iraqis cannot show progress
      after six months, require Bush to get congressional
      authority for any additional troops in Iraq.

      Even as she jousts with the White House, Clinton also
      is feeling heat from Democratic rivals, due largely to
      her position as the presumptive front-runner in a
      presidential race she has yet to enter.

      On Wednesday, Obama called Iraq troop escalation "a
      terrible consequence of the decision to give him the
      broad, open-ended authority to wage this war in 2002,"
      an indirect shot at the voting record of Clinton and
      other Democrats.

      Obama did say he favors a cap of U.S. troop levels in
      Iraq and the phased redeployment of troops, both of
      which Clinton support.

      In a statement, Tom Mattzie of the liberal group
      MoveOn.org said they would like Clinton to "use her
      powers as a senator to stop the escalation and move
      toward a redeployment. A key test is how any senator
      puts words into action. We would welcome her future

      Clinton and Bayh sent a letter to Defense Secretary
      Robert Gates Wednesday calling for an increase in
      Afghanistan of two or possibly three infantry
      battalions, some 2,300 troops.

      "Unlike in Iraq," the senators wrote, "we have a
      government in Afghanistan committed to promoting
      national interests over sectarian ones, is making
      tangible progress in governance, sincerely wants more
      U.S. help, and is fighting the enemy that brought us
      Sept. 11."
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