Clinton calls strategy in Iraq "irresponsible"
( dpa ) - Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday that President George W Bush's policy in Iraq is "irresponsible" and has harmed national security.
"It could be fair to say that it might well be irresponsible to continue the policy that has not produced the results that have been promised," Clinton said.
Clinton spoke during testimony given by the top commander in Iraq, General David Petraues, and ambassador Ryan Crocker on the progress in Iraq under Bush's troop surge.
Petraeus recommended a 45-day pause in US troop withdrawals once the surge ends in July, which, if accepted by Bush, would keep troop levels at about 140,000.
Clinton said Bush's policy in Iraq has come at "tremendous cost to our national security and to the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States military."
Clinton has said if she wins the White House and succeeds Bush when he leaves in January, she will begin withdrawals within 60 days of taking office.
The presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, strongly backed Bush's troop surge and has argued on the campaign trail that the United States has a moral obligation to stay with the mission and not abandon the Iraqi people.
McCain, the Arizona senator, said the Bush administration in the four years after toppling Saddam Hussein's regime had "mismanaged war" but had adopted the right strategy a year ago by deploying more troops.
"Today it is possible to talk with real hope and optimism about the future of Iraq and the outcome of our efforts there," he said. "We're no longer staring into the abyss of defeat and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success."
Clinton is trailing Illinois senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nod. Obama, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was due to address Petraeus and Crocker later on Tuesday.