If it took one Clinton eight years to clean up four years of Bush I, it figures it will take another Clinton plus an Obama 16 years to flush the toilet after the current Busheney.
But, there's still a difference between them. It takes a Senator Obama to make this statement, and without a teleprompter:
Well, you know, I -- I think it is important for us to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. And -- (applause) -- so I have said very clearly I will end this war. We will not have a permanent occupation and we will not have permanent bases in Iraq. (Applause.) When John McCain suggests that we might be there a hundred years, that I think indicates a profound lack of understanding that we've got a whole host of global threats out there -- including Iraq, but we've got a -- a big problem right now in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a great concern. We are neglecting potentially our foreign policy with respect to Latin America. China is strengthening. And if we neglect our economy by spending $200 billion every year in this war that has not made us more safe -- (applause) -- that is undermining our long-term security.Barack would have to provide the brains and judgment, of course. But the first woman and first black at the top of our executive branch, at the same time?
But I do think it is important for us to set a date. And the reason I think it is important is because if we are going to send a signal to the Iraqis that we are serious, and prompt the Shi'a, the Sunni and the Kurds to actually come together and negotiate, they have to have clarity about how serious we are. It can't be muddy. It can't be fuzzy. They've got to know that we are serious about this process.
And I also think we've got to be very clear about what our mission is, and there may be a difference here between Senator Clinton and myself in terms of the force structures that we would leave behind. Both of us have said we would make sure that our embassies and our civilians are protected. Both of us have said that we've got to care for Iraqi civilians, including the 4 million who have been displaced already. We already have a humanitarian crisis and we have not taken those responsibilities seriously. We both have said that we need to have a strike force that can take out potential terrorist bases that get set up in Iraq.
But the one thing that I think is very important is that we not get mission creep and we not start suggesting that we should have troops in Iraq to blunt Iranian influence.
If we were concerned about Iranian influence, we should not have had this government installed in the first place. (Applause.) We shouldn't have invaded in the first place. It was part of the reason that I think it was such a profound strategic error for us to go into this war in the first place -- (applause) -- and that's one of the reasons why I think I will be -- just to -- to -- just to finish up this point, I think I will be the Democrat who will be most effective in going up against a John McCain -- or any other Republican, because they all want basically a continuation of George Bush's policies -- because I will offer a clear contrast as somebody who never supported this war, thought it was a bad idea. I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place. That's the kind of leadership I intend to provide as president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.)
This is a ticket which could make history. Good history. For a change.