Los Angeles: Hillary Clinton speaks exclusively to NDTV about the Iraq crisis (watch the entire interview on Sunday at 8 pm on NDTV 24X7, live stream on ndtv.com)
Following are the highlights of her interview:
- I certainly regret and believe the authority for President Bush to go into Iraq was wrong. It was a mistake. I say that very plainly and clearly (in my book).
- The way the decision that President Bush made was implemented created some of the conditions that led to this current crisis.
- PM Maliki has been very sectarian... he himself has not created the framework for inclusive government and in today's world, people are not going to be left out. They need to feel like they have some channel for them to be heard. He has been very unwilling to share authority with the Sunni population.
- I would not support our troops going in... what we say "no boots on the ground"... with respect to air power or advisors... there has to be some agreement from Maliki to begin to change his political posture... if that doesn't happen, I don't think it's useful or appropriate for us to get involved.
- In Iraq, I did favour the continuity of American forces to work with the new Maliki government. They have enormous needs for intelligence... (for training). At the end of the day, Maliki would not agree with that. We needed an agreement to protect our soldiers... and Maliki said no... so we were left with no choice. I don't know if we could have pushed harder... because he was quite arrogant at the time.. He probably wanted the Americans to be gone... he was perfectly happy to see us go. All he wanted was for us to sell him sophisticated military equipment.
- What we have seen is a sectarian leader who is only a leader for a small slice of the Iraqi population.
- He is under immense pressure now to change. The Iraqi people do not deserve this to happen to them. Whether he himself merits our help or the help of anyone else...at this point he should be held accountable and be pressured to change. But there are other stakes on the ground with respect to what happens to Iraq.