Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said Thursday the Iraq war has created damaging consequences for U.S. diplomacy, but Washington should not agree to a specific deadline for withdrawing troops in the midst of conflict – something proposed last year by the candidate she now supports, Sen. Barack Obama.
By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times
“I never was for a date certain,” Mrs. Albright told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. “In Bosnia, we gave a date certain, and then we couldn’t get out and that undercut our credibility.”
She was referring to the pullout of 20,000 U.S. troops from the war-torn Balkans. The troops were sent to help enforce the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnia war, following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, but stayed beyond a 1996 deadline initially set by President Clinton.
Mr. Obama has said that he is committed to ending the Iraq war, and that, if elected, he will start working toward that goal on his first day in the White House. He has also said that “the removal of our troops will be responsible and phased.”
“Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of one to two brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began,” the Obama campaign Web site says.
Mr. Obama’s position has changed, however, during the campaign. He was outspoken about setting a withdrawal date during the primaries and voted for legislation that included timelines.
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