News, March 2008
U.S. Democratic presidential candidates, Obama and Clinton, lambaste Iraq war
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-20 05:45:13
WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) --
The U.S. Democratic presidential candidates turned their campaign rallies into an anti-war forum as the country marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war on Wednesday.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who is vying to be the first African American president, delivered a major speech on the Iraq war at Fort Bragg military base in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Citing former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's word "to never hesitate to defend America, but to never go to war unless you must," Obama said that President George W. Bush has "failed Wilson's test" by launching a war based on faulty premises and bad intelligence, and so did Congress when it voted to give him the authority to wage war.
Obama noted that the Iraq war has resulted in the killing of nearly 4,000 Americans troops and the injury of thousands of others. "Even under the best-case scenario this war will cost American taxpayers well over 1 trillion dollars," he said.
However, the war only left Americans "less safe and less able to shape events abroad," divided at home and isolated in the world, he said.
Obama reiterated his promise to withdraw American troops from Iraq within 16 months after taking office should he be elected president and shift the American focus abroad to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where leaders of al-Qaida are believed hiding.
Obama, who insisted that he has opposed to the war from beginning, would follow up the issue with another talk linking Iraq to the U.S. economic woes on Thursday in West Virginia.
New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was caught in a close tie with Obama in the presidential nominee race, told a group of young veterans in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that Americans should learn a lesson from the Iraq war: not to commit troops "unless you are prepared to go all the way and are prepared to be successful."
Clinton said that she would begin to withdrawing troops within 60 days after taking office if she is elected the first female president in the country.
The former First Lady, who was jabbed by her rivals for voting for the bill to authorize the war in 2003 as misjudgement, was set to hold a discussion on Wednesday with war veterans in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Republican presumptive presidential nominee and long-time war supporter, John McCain, said earlier this week during his visit to Iraq that he opposed a scheduled withdrawal and planned to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for the near future.
The Iraq war, launched on March 20, 2003, has consumed U.S. taxpayers billions of U.S. dollars and nearly 4,000 U.S. troops' lives. It was also cited as the main reason for the country to suffer from the economic woes and the deteriorated international image.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
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