Clinton Iraq IV

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For the other posts in this series, here and here.

For Hillary’s plan, her website overview here and her speech at George Washington University–you have to get about 2/3 of the way down before you get to the issues.  The opening includes her now infamous remark to ducking (non-existent) sniper fire in Bosnia.

Clinton’s plan involves three steps:  1. Bringing US troops home  2.  security stability in Iraq during draw down  3.  Diplomatic surge.

These points are not substantially different than Obama’s.  She calls for the UN High Commission on Refugees and wants to appoint a UN High Commissioner for Diplomacy to the Country, to broker a peace deal.  And will leave a small number of special ops to target specific and possible on-going/future threats (e.g. al-Qaeda camps).

She also describes keeping other countries from coming in and sending aid to the people not the Iraqi government–which is she is otherwise quite harsh on.  Obama’s plan deals with more specifically with a re-write of the Iraqi Constitution which seems wise to me.

Obama’s plan emphases more specifically prevention of genocide, but that is roughly covered in Clinton’s plan under the rubric of stabilization.  So I think its mostly push on that front.

The only major possible difference I can see is the following (from her speech):

In addition to removing American troops from Iraq, I will also work to remove armed private military contractors who are conducting combat-oriented and security functions in Iraq. For five yeas their behavior and lack of supervision and accountability have often eroded our credibility, endangered U.S. and Iraqi lives and undermined our mission. Now, Senator Obama and I have a substantive disagreement here. He won’t rule out continuing to use armed private military contractors in Iraq to do jobs that historically have been done by the U.S. military or government personnel. When I am president I will ask the Joint Chiefs for their help in reducing reliance on armed private military contractors. With the goal of ultimately implementing a ban on such contractors.

Now notice the caveats in that one.  She will work to (that’s guarded perhaps properly so) PMCs who are doing military/security detail.  Ask for help from Joint Chiefs to reduce and have a goal of ultimately implementing a ban.  That’s hedging bets to be sure.

I’m unclear about PMCs.  On the one hand they are unanswerable to any government, which is deeply problematic and undermine the sovereignty of the country.  On the other hand, structurally we are seeing the breakdown of elements of the Westphalian order and they are clearly plugging a gap as well as taking advantage of the modern globalized economic infrastructure.  So I have a hard time seeing a President really cracking down them totally.

What’s unclear is whether outsourced firms that are doing jobs traditionally done by “government personnel” involves non-combatant PMCs.
Lastly, Clinton (along with Obama) correctly want to stop the President from signing a permanent basing operation (illegally it would seem without Congress’ approval) with the Iraqi government.  Bush will likely do that this summer.  Or try to; I’m hoping he doesn’t get away with it.  But given this president’s disregard for the limits of executive power and arrogance, I doubt it.

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Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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