Hillary Clinton follows Bush to Iraq

Former American first lady Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has visited Baghdad hot on the heels of a lightning stealth visit by US President George Bush, cautioning that Washington still faced a "big challenge" in the country.

    Clinton gets a tour through the barracks of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Airborne Division

    Clinton was spending one day in the insurgency-ridden Iraqi capital, during which she met top US civilian and military officials including US overseer Paul Bremer and ground forces commander Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez. 

    She also lunched with troops from her home state of New York in the dining hall at the former city centre palace of ousted leader Saddam Hussein, which is now the seat of the US-led occupation administration. 

    Unlike the US president, who never left the main military camp at Baghdad airport during his two-and-a-half hour stopover, Clinton then left the heavily fortified complex around the palace to go and visit troops. 

    Hearts and minds

    She also met Iraqi officials, including the sole woman member of the US-installed interim cabinet, public works minister Nasrin Mustafa Sadiq Barwari. 

    Photo-op  with an Iraqi civilian
    working for the US army

    Clinton warned that the US-led occupation still faced many enemies in Iraq and urged the US administration to change its reconstruction strategy to allow the United Nations a greater role in postwar Iraq. 

    "It is no longer sufficient for our military to win battles but they have to win the hearts and minds. It is a very big challenge," said Clinton, who visited Baghdad as part of a tour of conflict zones that saw her spend Thanksgiving with US troops in Afghanistan. 

    "We are in a very difficult political situation, trying to expedite a process for self-governance that will be very challenging," Clinton said. "We have a lot of adversaries that wish us and the Iraqi people nothing but bad news."

    UN role

    Clinton said it was still not too late to give the United Nations a leading role in administering Iraq to relieve expense and pressure from the US-led occupiers, but was pessimistic this would take place. 

    Clinton at a meeting with
    prominent Iraqi women

    "We face a very big hill to climb. We face a complex security situation. The process of putting together self-governance in a short period of time is very difficult. We still need more help, more support from the international community." 

    "I am a big believer that we ought to internationalise this, but it will take a big change in our administration's thinking," Clinton said. "I don't see that it is forthcoming." 

    The former first lady, who is now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she had "wanted to come to Iraq to let the troops know about the great job they are doing."



    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.