Where They Stand

Where They Stand
February 29th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Where They Stand

Where They Stand
February 28, 2008
NBC Nightly News, 7:00 PM
BRIAN WILLIAMS: This week here we’ve been covering where the candidates stand on the issues. Tonight we tackle the war in Iraq. By the time the next president takes office, the U.S. will have been at war in Iraq for almost six years, and promises made during a political fight may not easily survive the reality of the fight on the ground. Our report tonight from our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: The five-year war in Iraq has become one of the hottest political battlegrounds back home.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL):The war in Iraq was unwise.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Immediate withdrawal, that would mean surrender in Iraq.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Hillary Clinton says her vote to authorize the war was a mistake.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY):I would not have voted that way again.
MIKLASZEWSKI: While Republican John McCain has stakes much of his campaign on success in Iraq.
MCCAIN: Iintend to win the war.
MIKLASZEWSKI: But as president, what exactly would these candidates do about the war? Senator Obama says he’d withdraw almost all U.S. combat troops in his first year in the White House.
OBAMA: I will bring this war to an end in 2009 and bring our troops home.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Senator Clinton would give the Pentagon 60 days to come up with a plan before she’d begin to bring the troops home.
CLINTON: We’ve got to do this carefully. I don’t want to lose another one of our sons or daughters.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Both Clinton and Obama say they would leave a small combat force in Iraq to protect U.S. diplomats and pursue al Qaeda. Military officials predict even then there could be tens of thousands of American forces in Iraq for years. But John McCain sees any set timetable for withdrawal as a strategy for defeat.
MCCAIN:There’s no doubt that al Qaeda would then gain control in Iraq and pose a threat to the United States of America.
MIKLASZEWSKI: McCain backs a more robust counterinsurgency and as many U.S. troops as that would take. Mike Huckabee also wants aggressive and sustained combat operations in Iraq.
All four candidates support an intensive diplomatic, political and economic campaign to help stabilize Iraq. But any presidential decisions on Iraq would have to rely on current combat conditions and recommendations from the U.S. military commanders on the ground, so it may prove easier to call the shots as a candidate than as commander-in-chief.
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.) [NBC News Military Analyst]: It’s going to be very difficult once one of them is sworn as president of the United States to immediately walk away from a situation that may well be stable and in doing so create a disaster.
MIKLASZEWSKI: In reality, even the military, stretched to the limit by five years of war, needs to start bringing the troops home. The only questions are how many and how fast? Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, the Pentagon.

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