Clinton said during an event for her new book, "Hard Choices," that it was important that Iraq's prime minister be presented with a set of conditions for any discussion about military support against a fast-moving Islamic insurgency.
"That's a delicate and difficult task for our government because we certainly don't want to fight their fight," Clinton said. "Because you'd be fighting for a dysfunctional, unrepresentative, authoritarian government and there's no reason on earth that I know of that we would ever sacrifice a single American life for that."
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said the turmoil in Iraq represented a "recipe for a horrendous conflict." She spoke hours after President Barack Obama said the U.S. would not be dragged into military action without political reforms by leaders in Baghdad.
Clinton, who served as Obama's top diplomat, said the request by Baghdad for help was being carefully considered by the Obama administration. "It is a ... serious potential crisis with broad regional and even global consequences," she said.
Obama has ruled out the possibility of sending in American ground troops to Iraq but said he was considering a range of other options being developed by the Pentagon.