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‘Bush’s visit to Iraq no substitute for a plan’

2nd December 2003

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Hillary Clinton yesterday added her voice to the chorus of Democrats critical of President George W Bush's lightning trip to Iraq, saying his visit to bolster troop morale was "no substitute for a plan" to stabilise the country.

"It is not a substitute for a plan about how we are going to not only enhance security (but) ... eventually to create more legitimacy to move toward self-governance for the Iraqis," Clinton told NBC television, speaking about the president's stealth Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq.

The former first lady nevertheless applauded Bush's efforts to brighten spirits among US forces stationed in the country.

"Any time that our troops are in a conflict situation the commander in chief's presence makes a big difference," she said in Washington.

"It sends a message that these men and women are doing a job that is important to our country," said Clinton.

The first-term New York senator also renewed her call for a sizeable United Nations presence in postwar Iraq.

"Clearly what are doing now is not an effective strategy. We need to get the UN back in as quickly as possible to internationalise this," she told NBC.

Along with her Senate colleague Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Clinton spent Thanksgiving with US troops in Afghanistan as part of a tour of conflict zones that included Iraq and a visit with thousands of US troops stationed in the Gulf Arab state of Kuwait. – Sapa-AFP.
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