In a February 7 speech on the Senate floor Hillary Clinton said that her plan to cut funding for Iraqi troops is needed to “send a message” to the Iraqi government “that there are consequences to their inaction.” Those consequences would be a disaster for the Iraqi forces and the nascent Iraqi democracy according to the chief spokesman for the Multi-National Forces in Iraq says otherwise.
HUMAN EVENTS asked Maj. Gen. William Caldwell what would happen if Congress cut funding for Iraqi forces last week. Caldwell did not comment on Clinton’s plan directly, but he said that cutting funding to Iraqi forces “would have a devastating effect.”
“A lot of equipment that these street forces need is being purchased through our military,” he said. “If there was ever a time to follow through it’s right now as they [Iraqis] are stepping up to take the lead and take charge.
But, cutting funding for our Iraqi allies is exactly what Clinton would like to do.
On Friday, February 17, as Congress was breaking for a week-long recess, Clinton introduced the “Iraq Troops and Protection Act.” The bill prohibits any funding for Iraqi forces, reconstruction efforts and contractors unless seven broad sweeping certification standards are met within 90 days.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Joe Biden (D.-Del.) has also harshly criticized Hillary’s plan, In a January 31 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer Biden said “I think it would be a disaster if it is her plan” to cut off funding for local Iraqi forces.
“I think it’s counterproductive,” he said.
Her legislation does not have any cosponsors.
In a forum held by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on February 21, Clinton said, “I want to cut money for Iraqi troops. I want to cut the money that they get, because they’re not standing up and fighting the way that they said they would have.”
Although her plan would not cut funding for American troops in the region, she said withholding the money from Iraqi forces would effectively reduce support for U.S. efforts in Iraq.
She explained to PBS’s Gwen Ifill in a January 18 interview, “Instead of cutting funding to American troops, cut the funding to the Iraqi forces and to the security forces, often private contractors that we pay for to protect members of this government.”
Hillary’s bill is similar to the Foreign Assistance Act that as passed by the newly installed Democrat Congress in December 1974. The Foreign Assistance Act drastically cut funding for the South Vietnamese government.
The end effect of the Foreign Assistance Act was best captured in a photograph taken by Hubert Van Es that showed hundreds of Vietnamese civilians queuing up for the last American helicopter out of Saigon. Soon, without American troops or any resources to protect the Vietnamese, the Communists took over South Vietnam and millions were killed by the Khmer Rouge communist regime in the power vacuum left by American withdrawal.
While Clinton’s plan purports to maintain funding for U.S. troops it contains a provision that would prohibit funding for them unless the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the troops are “adequately equipped and trained for their mission in Iraq.”
This same ploy is being executed in the House by military appropriations Chairman and anti-war critic Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.). Murtha has said that in order for the Democrat Congress to release authorize money for U.S. troops, he would attach specific conditions to the President’s budget request based on military readiness that he knew could not be met.
Murtha said in a video “briefing” posted online at MoveCongress.org that by requiring new limits on troop deployment and equipment certification “they won’t be able to continue.”
According to Murtha, under his plan, “They won’t be able to do the deployment. They won’t have equipment, they don’t have the training and they won’t be able to do the work. There’s no question in my mind. We have analyzed this and there’s no way this can be done.”
Clinton used her one-week Senate recess to campaign for her presidential race. On the stump she adhered to strict script on Iraq policy that did not include any references to her 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq.
Earlier this month she told media that the President “misused” her vote, but now she appears to be focused on promoting her plan.
At a campaign stop in San Francisco she told donors that the Iraqi government must no longer be given "a blank check" and should lose funding if progress is not made in the near future.
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